It’s not often that a city can be identified solely by the first letter of its name. In Boston, however, the letter “B” does act as a source of pride—in its sports teams and its city government alike. The city of Boston is channeling this pride in one of its most recent campaigns to foster inclusion: the creation of custom “B” logos that celebrate a diverse range of holidays.
“We created the Boston ‘B’ as a way to make us feel a little bit more friendly and approachable,” said Sebastian Ebarb, design director for the City of Boston.
According to Ebarb, these logos are one of the first visual steps in creating a dialogue with the public. He underscored the importance of creating a professional, yet friendly, relationship between the city and its residents.
“We recognize that one of our key goals is to be equal parts warm and official because we want people to actually enjoy working with their government,” he said.
To meet this end, the city’s digital team and the Office of Arts and Culture reached out to local artists, students, and residents a year ago to develop the logos, which the city will use on its social media channels. Artists submitted logo designs that depict a specific holiday, inspired by the suggestions provided by the design team or their own ideas.
A panel of reviewers from the digital team, Office of Arts and Culture, and the Diversity Office selected the designs with the most potential to fulfill the vision of the campaign. They then worked with individual artists to ensure the designs met the city’s quality standards. While varying widely in style, all logos utilize the familiar uppercase, underlined B logo that city residents have come to recognize as representative of their city government.
By the end of the project, 11 logos emerged as finalists and were unveiled this October. These designs will be featured over the coming year, beginning with National Migrants Day on Dec. 18. The other holidays celebrated in the logos are Christmas, Chinese New Year, Vietnamese New Year, Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day, Evacuation Day, Earth Day, Arbor Day, Dorchester Day, and National Ice Cream Day.
These holidays reflect all aspects of Boston’s diversity, from ethnic differences to religious affiliations to the love of cold treats.
“One of the great things about Boston is how diverse and open it is in the largest sense of the word diversity,” Ebarb said. “We have people who celebrate different holidays, who are interested in different things.”
In many ways, the artists reflect this range of diversity. According to a blog post by the digital team, the artist of the Vietnamese New Year logo, Thi Le, is a Boston Public Schools student. She was inspired by the way Boston looks in the winter, which reminds her of her Vietnamese hometown.
Some holidays, like Evacuation Day and Dorchester Day, are only celebrated in Boston. In the blog post, John Branagan, designer of the Evacuation Day logo, expressed an interest in state holidays that take place on the same day as national ones. Evacuation Day is celebrated on March 17, or St. Patrick’s Day.
“We’re really fortunate that we have such a great community here in Boston that comes from so many different walks of life,” Ebarb said.
Artists of all genders, professions, backgrounds, nationalities, and ages contributed to the campaign, making it truly representative of the city’s broader diversity.
“We’re attempting to show that there’s a place for everyone here in Boston,” Ebarb said.
Featured Graphic by City of Boston