FREE 26 city branding books and style guides

Last Modified: Jun 22nd, 2021 - Category: Branding, Freebies
city branding book guidelines cover image

Branding cities and countries is becoming increasingly popular, and if done right, it could mean a huge revenue stream for local governments. In this post, we’ll take a tour through the brand manuals of 26 cities and countries to understand what city branding is and why designers need these guidelines.

So let’s ask ourselves first: why is a brand guideline necessary for a city or a country?
Having its own design system with established guidelines helps to understand the city’s messages and information. Thus, it is important to maintain cohesion in order to recognize the design system as a whole.

But from the perspective of User Experience (or UX), brand manuals are central to defining the aesthetic aspects of user interface design (UID for short) as well as other elements that make up more complex experiences, such as Customer Experience, (better known by the acronym CX), HCI, XCI/XMI, accessibility, etc.

In other words, a well-done brand manual saves a lot of time when investigating usability in a mobile or web development project or marketing strategy. Let’s remember that many of the variables to be examined were already examined when the brand guidelines were created.

City of Detroit’s Trademark Manual

The following image from the City of Detroit’s Trademark Manual show the specifications that the logo must adhere to in order to be properly reproduced. The manual specifies the minimum size of the logo, the white space that must be left around the logo, shows different types of the logo in terms of its implementation, which responds to the responsiveness of the logo and specifications for the printing of the image.

Download the full manual

City of Detroit city branding and Trademark Manual
Example of the logo from City of Detroit

Amsterdam Brand Manual

Amsterdam’s brand manual, which includes the slogan “I Amsterdam” (a pun on the words I AM), provides guidelines for the logo and typography.

It also includes detailed calculations to use the logo design in different formats, be it on advertising posters of different sizes and proportions or for digital use, such as web design, social media ads, etc.

Download the full brand guidelines

Amsterdam Brand Manual
Colour varations for the Amsterdam logo

Madrid Corporate Identity Guidelines

The Madrid Corporate Identity Guidelines tell us how to use the Madrid City Council logo, shield and seal, and focus on the identity of the council through billboards, construction fences, stationery, corporate signage, digital environments, vehicles and more, covering a lot of information to be able to reproduce the system without problems.

Download the full Madrid Identity Guidelines

Madrid Corporate Identity Guidelines
Madrid institutional brand

Melbourne Logo Identity

Melbourne’s identity manual focuses on the use of the logo, giving dimensions, sizes and other specifics. It also points out the wrong uses when implementing the logo and gives examples of what not to do.

The background image or the color we use when implementing a logo is important, otherwise it could become illegible or distort its original function.

Download the full Melbourne brand manual

Melbourne Logo Identity
Example of incorrect usage of the Melbourne logo

Tokyo Logo Manual

Tokyo’s trademark manual focuses on the logo and its use. Although the manual is in Japanese, we can understand some details from the context. The manual shows the logo and its different sizes, uses on objects, incorrect uses of the logo, and the variations that can be found of the logo shown by the different colors chosen by Tokyo to give a feeling and thus use the appropriate color for the image situation.

Download the full Tokyo Manual

Tokyo Logo Manual and City Branding Books
Example of color variations in the Tokyo logo

Buenos Aires Identity Manual

The visual identity guidelines for the city Buenos Aires present most of the features seen in previous city branding books.

In addition, the manual has characters and objects designed exclusively for the design system. On the other hand, it has logo variations, such as the one in the following image, that are used for audio-visual materials, animated GIFS, or pieces where the characters can be animated.

Download the full Buenos Aires Identity Manual

Buenos Aires Identity Manual
Example of a logo variant to animate

Brasilia Brand Manual

The Brasilia trademark manual, just like the Tokyo Brand City Guidelines, focuses on the logo. it includes logo construction, color variations, incorrect uses, minimum sizes, and different types of applications.

Download the full Brasilia Brand Manual

Brasilia Brand Manual
Brasilia Logo Construction

Bogota Identity Guidelines

The Bogota Manual shows a complete evolution of the logo and its construction, taking into account all the needs previously seen, such as color variations, improper uses, construction of the logo or applications. In addition, it includes a section of symbols designed for each specific type of communication in the form of “accents”. The city branding style guide includes examples of the construction of these accents and special characters.

Download the full Bogota Identity Guidelines

Free city style guides: Bogota Identity Guidelines
Colour varations for the Bogota logo

Hong Kong Brand Identity

The brand identity of Hong Kong focuses mainly on the brand and shows a logo worked in full color and of great complexity. In the manual we see more color variations and the logo in different language versions, either Chinese, English and bilingual. It also has a section with symbols for different areas of the city, such as food, entertainment, sports and more.

Download the full Hong Kong Brand Identity manual

Hong Kong Brand Identity
Hong Kong full-colour version in gradient and solid colours

New York Brand Guidelines

New York City branding guidelines feature extensively developed brand values, strategy, and concepts. Therefore, the treatment of the logo in relation to its function is striking. On the one hand we find variations of the logo in relation to the season, on the other hand there is the treatment of the logo according to themes, for example the logo adapted to the theme of family or sports.

Download the full New York Brand Guidelines

New York Brand Guidelines
Treatment logos of New York by themes

More FREE City Brand Manuals

Download the full Chicago River Brand Manual

Download the full Dublin Visual Guidelines

Download the full Mayor of London Brand Standards

Download the full Montevideo Identity Guidelines

Download the full Quito Trademark Manual

Download the full Sao Paulo Identity Manual

Download the full Denver Visual Standards

Download the full Orange City Brand Guidelines

Countries Identity Guidelines

Switzerland Brand Guidelines

The Swiss Brand Guidelines are very broad and comprehensive, ranging from logo, typography and logo placement in formats to stationery, digital environments, objects and more. On the other hand, there is a special section that specifies how the logo is constructed in different languages, which helps the user experience understand exactly which country it is.

Download the full Switzerland Brand Guidelines

Switzerland Brand Guidelines
Example of the Switzerland logo in differente languages

Peru Visual Identity Manual

The visual identity manual of Peru, in addition to the characteristics of the previous manuals, focuses substantially on the presentation of the brand. As such, it includes some specificities such as complementary graphics for publications or packaging and key phrases that, according to the manual, show the characteristics that help to identify the vocal tone of communication of the Peru brand.

This identity manual was designed by Interbrand, and is one of the most complete in terms of information.

Download the full Peru Visual Identity Manual

Peru Visual Identity Manual
Peru logo with complementary graphics and applications

Ukraine Logo Standards

Ukraine’s trademark manual is not in English, but we can understand the concepts from context. This manual presents the logo in a fairly modern way, both of what logo is and of the manual itself. In this case, the color palette is always the same, while the position of the brand elements can change.

Download the Ukraine’s Trademark Manual

Ukraine Logo Standards
Variations in the position of elements of the Ukraine logo

Belgium Trademark Manual

The Belgian Trademark Manual focuses on the logo and summarizes the essential features such as colors and intended use. It also shows the logo and its slogan in different language variants and how it interacts in co-branding.

Download the full Belgium Trademark Manual

Belgium Trademark Manual
Belgium logo

Other Cities and Countries Brand Guidelines

These brand manuals do not have the download option, but they are still of interest to us. Take a look at these pages!

Helsinki Visual Identity Guidelines Website

New York City Council Brand Guidelines Website

Oslo Identity Guidelines Page

Paris Branding Page

Conclusion: City Styles Guides are a great way to learn design by example

City branding books are a great resource for designers responsible for applying said brand. But it’s also a great way to learn design from some of the world’s greatest design studios. We hope you enjoy this list, and make sure to bookmark this page and check it every 2-3 months as we will be sharing more city style guides as we get them.

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