By Nilanjana Goswami
As a run-up towards joining the big league of metropolises like Amsterdam, Paris and London, Bengaluru recently became the very first city in India to get its own logo. Priyank Kharge, the Tourism Minister for Karnataka, unveiled the logo at the Namma Bengaluru Habba festival on the 24th of December, 2017. Composed of both English and Kannada, the typography consists of the word “Bengaluru” with the B and the last U in red, while the rest of the letters are in black. Taken together, these two letters spell out “Be You”, a conscious attempt on the part of the tourism department to develop a brand image for the city that promotes shedding all pretensions and brings out the unique identity of the visitor.
The Kannada element is prominent in the last segment “Uru” (“town”) which is inscribed in Kannada. It is similar to the Tourism Department’s “One State Many Worlds” logo and has options to change its colour to yellow, green and red according to the occasion. It is based on a crowd-sourced design, with a design firm called ‘Nammur’ winning after competing with 1000 other entries that had been submitted since the decision had been taken by the tourism department to create a brand image of the Silicon Valley of India.
Dissecting the meaning
“The logo captures the spirit of the city and its 11 million people. Its design is a crowd-sourced creative identity representing the city and its denizens,” remarked Kharge. “As a vibrant city of many cultures, colours and flavours, Bengaluru is on the move. It’s a dynamic city where tradition and modernity co-exist and its people aspire to thrive”. The Tourism Department has very consciously begun creating a marketable image, or a Brand Bengaluru. The idea is to break away from the prevailing misconception of the city only as an ultra-hip metropolis and the technological and startup hub of the country. Brand Bengaluru, according to Kharge, also seeks to promote its traditional art, culture and ethos. It seeks to project an identity of having something to offer for everyone: the nightclub-hopper, the art-lover, or the tourist obsessed with urban spaces. Bengaluru has for long been thought of as synonymous with coffee shops and shopping malls, and according to Kharge and the Tourism Department, it’s time for a change.
Joining the big names
As seen with the tourist hubs like London, Paris, New York and Berlin, a logo can communicate the elusive ethos of a city to the tourist open to the various kinds of experiences it offers. The Tourism Department plans to strike a balance between showcasing the city’s heritage, architecture, art, music and food as well as its modern lifestyle driven by state-of-the-art technology and amenities. It’s an aim to bring out the best of both worlds, and one that should be held up by Tourism Departments in other states as well. There’s a diverse mixture of ethnic cultures, traditions, cultural experiences and services that the 29 states and 7 union territories of India have to offer to the traveller.
India has always been a polyphonic entity, whispering in different voices into the traveller’s ears when he encounters the sheer largeness of the Indian experience. But in order to grasp the unique socio-cultural ethos of cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai where tradition and modernity co-exist in different forms, a crisp presentation sublimating their essence is important. The Bengaluru logo is the first step towards achieving this; towards constellating the identity of a metropolis into a coherent image and impression.
The more immediate end it serves is that of being a marketable entity: it opens Bengaluru up for a greater scope of development in the tourism and associated sectors as it begins to settle into this new identity. With the traction gained by local home-stay and hosting sites like Airbnb and Vacasa in India, more and more tourists are increasingly attracted to the local, individualized, gritty experience–not simply touring the must-sees and tourist traps. One has to agree with Kharge stating that “The logo will also help to leverage Bengaluru’s identity and create a brand value that could spur its economy and generate jobs by attracting more investments.”
Lastly, and most importantly, the logo brings coherence to the heterogeneous crowd populating the city and helps to promote a sort of lifestyle and identity that—many quarters feel—had been missing before. It is an identity built on inclusiveness–a quality that is laudable in such divisive and trying times. One may hope, therefore, that the conception and promotion of Brand Bengaluru prompt the harnessing of India’s cultural milieu for other such endeavours by different states in the future.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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