January 7, 2019

POSTED BY

Rafael Esquer

CATEGORY

Happy 15th Anniversary Made in NY!

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When I rode the NYC subway this morning, I saw the Made in NY mark in a poster. This sighting made me so happy and brought good memories. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since Made in NY was born. It seems like yesterday when I met with Katherine …

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When I rode the NYC subway this morning, I saw the Made in NY mark in a poster. This sighting made me so happy and brought good memories. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since Made in NY was born. It seems like yesterday when I met with Katherine Oliver, the former Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, This visionary woman asked Radical Media – where I was Creative Director at the time – to design a new brand identity to launch the Made in NY initiative.

As a New York fanatic, I saw this as a dream assignment. But how do you start a project like this? What’s the first step? I always start by visualizing the big picture because it helps me set my goals. The Made in NY mark had to be Simple, Memorable, and Timeless. And, those were the qualities that drove my design process. As a kind of “seal of quality” from the City, I wanted to create a logo that every New Yorker would identify with and take pride in.

Many people asked me where the idea came from. Mainly, I looked for inspiration in urban artifacts–things that are imbued with everyday life and New York nostalgia, things of the street that suggest the true grit and energy of the City and its people. And in the end I found my Muses in the classic subway token and manhole covers.

Of course, a successful brand like this is the product of many committed individuals. The brains behind this brand are Katherine Oliver, Mike Bloomberg and Jon Kamen (Radical Media’s Chairman, CEO). Little did we know this mark would become synonymous with New York City, that its aesthetics would be imitated and plagiarized by many, that it’d be tattooed in countless New Yorkers, and that it would spread to other NY sectors like technology and fashion.

The first Commissioner of New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Katherine Oliver, said,

“Made in NY really struck a chord and touched people with sensitivity. There was great pride. It created buzz in industry, but more than that, it really created that sense of community. As the maker movement started to take shape, startups really embraced the brand and wanted to be a part of this movement as well. It was quite exciting and it just illustrated the power of branding and creating that sense of community in providing a clear message.”

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As a designer what’s the lesson I can share with you? I’d say the most important thing is your commitment that is be passionate about every project, give it a 100% no matter how big or small for you never know where things will ended up. Who knows, maybe one morning you’ll see your work while riding the subway in your city too.

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