Sunday, February 23, 2014

22: SKYLINE.

The skyline of Columbus is used in a lot of designs. If you're in Columbus, once you notice it, it's kind of everywhere you look. Two of the best uses of the skyline in design are in the Crew Union logo, and in the Nordecke logo.

Relying on the silhouette of a city's skyline as a symbol for that city is a tough idea for me to get behind, because I don't know if a city's skyline really says much about a city other than "Hey, we have a few tall buildings, too." This changes, of course, if there are unique structures that are clearly identifiable in silhouette. The former World Trade Center was certainly a skyscraper that made the skyline of New York City recognizable, and hopefully the future Freedom Tower accomplishes that again. Maybe Chicago's Willis Tower, St. Louis' Gateway Arch, and Seattle's Space Needle make their respective cities' silhouettes recognizable, but there are very few other cities around the country that have buildings that are clearly identifiable by their silhouettes. Look up the skylines of San Diego, Minneapolis, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nashville, Cleveland, Oakland, Austin, or Houston and see if you can tell which is which. Unless you live in one of those cities, it's not easy.

I imagine the same applies to Columbus. The Leveque Tower is a remarkable and historically important building, and it would make a neat addition (that's a hint for a coming design) on a Columbus Crew badge. Our skyline is stunningly beautiful in photographs, when the lights are sparkling and our Ohio sky is glowing. The life of the city shows up in those pictures. However, the skyline of Columbus in silhouette, to me, is like seeing the shadow of a loved one, and never getting to see their eyes. It just leaves so much out. Some of our most remarkable buildings aren't skyscrapers. The Ohio Statehouse, Franklin Park Conservatory, The Wexner Center, our libraries, houses of worship, museums, Ohio Stadium, Nationwide Arena, Huntington Park, even Crew Stadium—none of them appear in the skyline. They're just not tall enough. The neat parts of our city are ones that don't jump up, spin around, and do gimmicky tricks like a Space Needle or CN Tower. Crew Stadium doesn't revolve, open and close, or reach high above the horizon—it just produces Dos A Ceros. A building can mean a lot even if it's low to the ground. 

Nevertheless, I wanted to do something with the skyline during 28 in 28, and I wanted to come up with something a little different when I did. I thought that the way to do it was not to make it so the skyline was the main feature, but more of an accent. Something that could be dropped from the crest when needed and not be a big deal. I took a half shield, modeled after the Greek soccer club Aris F.C. and made a C in the sky as the tail of a shooting star above the skyline. To give it some life, I created a background glow of lights, which I think are so important when considering Columbus, like I mentioned above.

Anyway, as indifferent as I obviously am regarding the use of the skyline as a symbol of the city and of the Columbus Crew in particular, the skyline could work if it's done creatively. There are definitely creative people around Columbus who can make that happen.

I guess when it comes down to it, I've always supported keeping a low profile.


1 comment:

  1. Another nice design.

    I like that the Crew Union logo has the river in it. With the restoration of the Scioto and Olentangy our rivers will play a prominent role in our identity in a couple years. If the Crew have a downtown stadium it would make some sense to incorporate the rivers and the skyline. I don't have the design skills to pull it off but I can picture a design that has parabola shape over a slightly wavy stripe. The parabola could construed as the top view of a cleat or a kayak on a river. Both point to a skyline and or stadium.

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