Linz Spaces – Linz creates a space with a new brand identity… for culture, creativity and the future – Design Diary

Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, has a new visual appearance. The company’s design, which was created as part of a three-year process, now also shows abroad just how promising the city is, Mayor Klaus Luger explained in the presentation.

The city of Linz recently presented its new image to the public. The previous exterior with gray lettering and a purple i-dot, introduced in 2008 (dt), now shows its age. The provincial capital of Upper Austria competes with other cities and, with its new, changing appearance, is sending a strong signal of change in municipal administration, according to officials. Based on the company’s new design that has been in development since the summer of 2021, “Urban Brand Consolidation” will be pursued, thus ensuring greater clarity and differentiation in communications.

The new city logo is at the heart of the company’s design. The basic concept is described as follows: “Based on the basic idea of ​​rotating the letter “I” by 90 degrees, a space is created inside the logo. Therefore, this concept has also been called “Lenz spaces”. The underscore used as a sign indicates the phase of a hand It creates space for the city values ​​developed in the brand identity on the other hand – LINZ – content that is vibrant, innovative, natural and shared.”

Linz - Statement on the new logo
Linz – Statement on the new logo, Source: City Administration of Linz

The people in Linz are convinced that with the company’s new design they have created a flexible and innovative system as well as a very modern city logo. Dr. says. Jürgen Trobinger, Director of Communications and Marketing explains. “The result is remarkable, because the concept is future-oriented and can be used flexibly in the diverse areas of our city.”

Linz Corporate Design - Visual
Designed by Linz – Visual Source: Linz City Administration

The new logo will replace the purple dot lettering that was introduced in 2008, and will from now on serve as a dispatcher for the city administration. The appropriate solutions for sub-logos have already been created (example). In addition, Trobinger informed DT upon request, units of the municipal group of companies must also adopt or incorporate the new concept into their branding business. Based on the new “Linz Spaces” concept, individual solutions will be developed here in order to transfer existing brand values ​​from organizations to a new look. In the last step, one may also want to create an opportunity based on the new concept of Linz organisations, companies, clubs, etc. to connect with the state capital. However, this is still in the concept stage. The brand identity of the Tourism Association Linz will remain unchanged for the time being.

New paths have already been taken during the development of the Lenz Spaces concept, as Communications Director Trobinger describes the development process as follows: “Unlike other similar projects, the competition was not announced or invited to a presentation. Instead, the concept was developed in collaboration With the city council, municipal authorities, city communications and an outside agency on the basis of workshops and standards analysis. The result is a new image of the city based on the Linz brand strategy. Therefore, we looked in advance for an agency that could accompany and/or provide both the development process and the construction phase.”

The company’s design was created in cooperation with the agency “Gruppe am Park” from Linz. The Communications and Marketing Department was responsible within the city administration.

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Lenz shows the courage to leave the gaps. Where the capital letter I in the logo of the new city should not be understood as a gap, but as a space, as an “open space”, as an opportunity to fill this space with something of your own. In fact, it takes a great deal of courage not only to develop this design concept, but also to implement it. Because the concept, designed to maximize contrast, is unconventional. Especially since we are talking about a municipal administration, and not about a startup from the lifestyle industry. The city’s logo, created in a variety of dynamic signs, also requires a certain degree of abstraction and empathy, yes more than that: Linz’s new logo “requires” a direct examination of the underlying design concept, if you want to interpret it correctly. This of course requires effort. An effort worth it, in my opinion. Because both the idea and the design testify to great ingenuity and creative power. Attributes that are carried directly into the city with the help of design.

Logos do not have to be self-explanatory because they are not illustrations. However, at least the vast majority of logos/word tags can be read and decoded. Linz’s new logo is different in this respect. Because with the unusual-looking and vague verbal sign, it’s unlikely that a few will stumble. L_nz? Many viewers may think this is a typo. Out of any context, the logo may seem meaningless. However, there are very few use cases where the logo actually appears as a solitaire piece. As a rule, the sender of the logo results from the context in question. Example: Anyone who types in in their browser understands and indicates that they are dealing with the city of Linz / the Linz brand.

The new Linz logo is not easily accessible. At least he has a clear readability deficit. It is crucial to explain the design concept behind the draft in detail. Simply to take with them their fellow countrymen. My impression is that a lot of effort has been put into Linz to explain the meaning and purpose of the redesign as well as the city’s changing brand identity background. Not surprisingly, the new logo, as reported in the Austrian press, provoked mixed reactions. There is simply no design and no logo that consistently convinces everyone.

In my opinion, the mentioned shortcomings in terms of clarity are more than offset by a really compelling design concept. The result is inspiring and fresh, and the idea with the underscore is very charming. However, there should be a few colored squares on the homepage in order to be able to actually comply with the principle of clarity. It still doesn’t make sense to me that the city should keep another brand of its tourism activities in addition to the changing and versatile design concept that is now being created. Because: one city = one brand.

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