SOME CITIES ARE ADDING TYPEFACES AND DIGITAL FONTS TO THEIR IDENTITIES BUT DUBAI HAS TAKEN IT A STEP FURTHER BY BECOMING THE FIRST CITY TO GET ITS OWN MICROSOFT-DESIGNED FONT. SHOULDN'T LAGOS FOLLOW THIS TREND?
Dubai, the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) speedily grew into a global city and the business hub of the Middle East. Hailed by many for its very fast progressiveness and productivity, Dubai added a new feather to her crown. The city on the 30th of April, 2017 became the first city to get to get its own Microsoft font and this means a lot to the city and the world at large.
Clearly, this mega city built out of nothing is pushing every known boundary to beoming a mega city and with this new stride, a lot of attention has been drawn there in the most interesting way. Beyond having the world's tallest building and biggest shopping centre, Dubai has become the first city to get its own Microsoft-designed font.
Two days ago the city announced this new bespoke font designed to express the city’s core heritage and value - tourism and hospitality. A statement tweeted by Crown Prince of Dubai Hamdan Bin Mohammad, with the hashtag #ExpressYou he announced the “Dubai” font saying:
Though the Middle East and Dubai may have in the past been politically strict or accused of being hard handed or undemocratic, this new tone may be a whisper of a new age, a more modern, inclusive era and the world is waiting to see if this re-branding cum new identity would be just more than a gimmick. Though media houses like The New York Times shares heavy skepticism on this new identity, we are entirely optimistic that with this new tone, Dubai would launch into a more inclusive, liberal era.
What really does a digital city branding mean for any city?
Identity, branding and re-branding can sell an old street anew and with the right story, something which may seem so little can turn the entire identity and outlook of a city for better. Some major world cities have re-branded themselves with fonts, typefaces, logos and other design elements, winning them more foreign attention than those who haven’t. The modern world is gradually communicating more in text, codes and symbols and this why disruptive moves like these are significant. Some states and cities in recent times have reinvented themselves through design and branding. These include: Colorado, USA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Shrewsbury, England, Melbourne, Australia Raval, Barcelona Yonkers, New York among many. Many other cities of the world have designed fonts and typefaces to portray, preserve or represent their cultural heritage and identity to fit the modern world. These cities have distinct fonts to their names e.g. Eindhoven (Eindhoven), Chattanooga (Chatype), London (Johnston), Berlin (BMF Change), Milan (Milano City) Stockholm (Stockholm Type).
For those who don’t know, Lagos was listed as one of the 100 most resilient cities in the world and indeed Lagos has stood through the roughest of times. Once the capital of Nigeria, Lagos over a few decades has grown into the country’s economic and commercial hub and this is the period when the city is celebrates her 50th anniversary. To commemorate this, the city is putting up diverse structures and festivals all tied around the milestone. From new monuments installations, to new city art commissioning in different expressions of graffiti, wall art and paintings. Lagos is working hard to stand up to its mega city status. Beyond the ongoing city wide face lift and makeovers and considering that Dubai and Lagos share quite a lot in common, what do you think a monumental digital design of a distinctive “Lagos” typeface or font would mean for Lagos today, especially as it celebrates its 50th anniversary?