For my Logo assignment I picked Newark, New Jersey. I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, right next door, and being from eastern/ central NJ, Newark is a landmark of a city. First and foremost, it is the first major city out of NYC, and this has been somewhat of a blessing and a curse for Newark. Newark definitely holds up as a city of its own, with an identity of its own, and a destiny of its own.. of course, it has been perceived as somewhat of a shadow city (to NYC) and although it is true in many cases, it has proven itself autonomous over and over again. Let’s also remember that EWR (nwk airport) is the first major airport in the USA, and part of a trifecta between JFK and La Guardia, serving the busiest metropolitan area in the whole country as well. Newark also serves as a hub for train service via Penn Station (nwk), which also connects to the NJ Path and metro area train lines that run to NYC. Even though it has been experiencing an artistic resurgence, for many years NJ PAC has been functioning as one of the most important venues for classical music in the area as well as home to a Rutgers University and Seton Hall campus locations. The Prudential Center, another venue that was built in the last couple of years, along with a growing night life and hotel accomodations, is definitely proving that Newark is on the rise and not thought of as a cracked out, bombed out town anymore.
In the past couple of years, however, there is an articulate air of gentrification in Newark (how else would all this happen), with a Whole Foods being built as we speak, along with a Commercial Hub that connects to Penn Station that is independent of any sidewalk traffic, which means you can basically go to work without even stepping on the sidewalk. In that sense, it feels like Newark has the potential of becoming a sixth borough although it’s still not cool enough or close enough. If train service to NYC was better perhaps that change will come sooner.
I made a few pieces attempting to sum up the spirit of Newark. First off, Newark has a rich history in the Industrialization of the US. With that said, it has one of the biggest ports in the country, with an infrastructure that would put Brooklyn’s warehouse game to shame. So naturally… there are still plenty of warehouses around, some abandoned, some refurbished and reutilized.
At first, I started with the words “Brick City,” Newark’s simultaneously cold and endearing nick name (because of all its warehouses.) NJ natives refer to Brick City lovingly, like an alcoholic older brother that is kind of a loser, but still has street cred. I thought it would clever to feel like you are standing in a dilapidated warehouse on the outskirts of the airport and that is exactly this. This, however, doesn’t work as a logo, but perhaps a cool t-shirt. I used photoshop to modify the bricks from a picture of a wall, and placed a picture of a view close by to NWK Airport.
BUT… This does not fulfill the feeling that Newark would perhaps like to sell in order to bring new people in. It would definitely be a hit with natives, though.
I then decided to play with Newark’s initials, NWK. I noticed all the edges in the letters and was brainstorming clever ways to manipulate them…
And came up with two designs:
The first one reflects Newark’s sharp edges, despite the energy to change it for the better. The small E is put there as a “normal”element to it’s sharp edges, as an indicator of how small that “new” change is, as an indicator that in attempting to change its character, it also changes the vibe. Not necessarily a bad thing if all people can take advantage of it, but we know how that works.
I thought it too edgy for anything commercial anyway. But I still wanted to use the Newark initials. As you can see, I’m in love with creating outlines on illustrator and much more comfortable with illustrator as a program in general.
So I picked a cleaner typeface, Saxmono Type. I think this is actually a really good and usable logo.
I looked for images in the letters and initially saw a wing under the N but decided to take advantage of the K for obvious reasons. The hook coming off the K symbolizes the port cranes and the bottom line is a subtle arrow pointing forward. I think it reflects NWK’s productive nature and ability to move beyond their own stigmas of perception.
I also thought it would work well in any size and it could be used in various contexts, especially for city work uniforms, but still cool enough to use imdependently