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The Creative Muscle of Los Angeles, Framed in a Single Logo

By Published on .

Los Angeles has some serious creative firepower. That's the point being made with a new logo, branding campaign and product line that agency 72andSunny, along with Brand Studio CAA-GBG, have created for the city. The "LA Original" initiative aims to highlight Los Angeles' various makers and production and manufacturing capabilities, while also raising funds to support its creative economy.

The heart of the campaign is the logo, which consists of a pencil-thin, connected L and A, stretched out to create a generous gap between the two. Within that space, the campaign frames personalities, artwork and other creations that help make up the local creative economy.

"The logo is inspired by the truth that LA gives you space to create -- it's a wide-open canvas for creativity, providing the physical and emotional freedom to express yourself, experiment and make what's next," says 72andSunny L.A. Director of Strategy Kelly Schoeffel. "It creates a stage to elevate the people, places and things that define L.A., as well as an invitation to fill L.A. with your creativity."

The logo is central to a new film highlighting L.A.'s creative culture. It frames musician Kendrick Lamar, who also sings the backing track, "Humble"; Chef Roy Choi, founder of the Kogi taco truck; tacos from "Trejos Tacos," the Mexican restaurant chain founded by action star badass Danny Trejo; architect Frank Gehry; jewelry designer Maya Brenner; artists Tristan Eaton and Shepard Fairey; conductor Gustavo Dudamel; and musician Anna Bulbrook, among others.

"The creative economy is central to L.A.'s identity, and it is a hallmark of our city's global brand," says Ashley Jacobs, the City of Los Angeles director of brand. "Because L.A. is America's largest manufacturing hub, this program began with the desire to support and promote these legacy industries. In L.A., we design, create, sell and export our products in one place."

"The creative culture of L.A. has been exploding for a number of years -- one in six jobs in L.A. are part of the creative class, spanning entertainment, art, tech, food, fashion and more," adds 72andSunny's Schoeffel.

Interestingly, while L.A.'s historical calling card has been the entertainment industry, Hollywood seems to be a bit player in the overall campaign, save for a few scenes, including one from "La La Land."

Ms. Jacobs says that move wasn't intentional, but "the creative identity of the city is much more diverse and dimensional than it once was, and we wanted this modern-day story to reflect that and to feel like a view of L.A. people hadn't seen before."

The campaign also includes billboards as well as a series of LA Original products, including skateboards, candles, clothing, plant pots and more. To be sold online at LAOriginal.com and at a pop-up shop in Los Angeles, they were all designed, crafted and manufactured by local artisans.

The goods, and retail aspect conceived out of Brand Studio, were part of the strategy from the get-go. "Angelenos and tourists alike crave a symbol of L.A.'s cultural identity," says Schoeffel. "By introducing a commercial element, we could provide that while driving revenue for our city's makers." The proceeds from the campaign will go toward supporting creative entrepreneur programs for underserved communities.

72andSunny, an agency whose name itself is a shout-out to its founding city L.A, has been an ongoing collaborator with the city and its marketing. The agency worked with the city in its bid for the 2024 Olympics and has been partnering with the city and architect Frank Gehry on a makeover of the L.A. River.

The logo is not the official emblem of Los Angeles, but its role may grow in the future. According to Ms. Jacobs, the mark is "expressed as a pilot, with the intention to scale over time." Perhaps to become the city's own version of Milton Glaser's "I Love New York?"

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