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  • Oswaldo Zerega Garaycoa

A Fresh Start: The Process behind Policentro's Logo Redesign

Policentro and its Beginnings

If you live in the city of Guayaquil-Ecuador, you must be familiar with Policentro, the first shopping center founded in 1979 and one of the most emblematic in the city. Its constant renovation and updates in infrastructure and corporate identity symbolize progress and adaptation to the new urban trends that occur in the Pearl of the Pacific.

For those who didn't know, the Italian civil engineer Lino Lemi was in charge of the work between 1975 and 1979, along with about thirty other buildings in the city. The idea of the shopping center arose from an anecdote between Lemi and the then mayor Juan Péndola Avegno. One day, while the mayor was driving his car, he stopped in front of the engineer to greet him, and he mentioned his idea of building a shopping center on the outskirts of the city to provide a more organized service to all Guayaquil residents. At that moment, Péndola invited Lemi to his car to take him to a nearly 6-hectare property in the Kennedy citadel, owned by the Board of Trustees of Guayaquil. Thus began the construction of the shopping center, which has been operating for more than 40 years to this day.

How was the corporate identity of the shopping center updated?

In 2018, I had the opportunity to work as a senior designer at the advertising agency Panda, which has been handling the corporate image and advertising of the Policentro brand for years. Mariella Pesantes, the shopping center's marketing chief, told us that in 2019, they would celebrate Policentro's 40th anniversary and, along with the structural renovation of the center, they wanted to update its corporate identity, including its isotype and logo. The Panda agency, trusting in my abilities, gave me the task of creating the institution's new image.

Together with Kevin Fernandez, the agency's creative director, we began to research trends and develop concepts that could attract both customers and shopping center users. By that time, Policentro had already undergone structural changes and updates in its logos and isotypes, but it maintained an 80s style. Although the logo was somewhat outdated, from my point of view, it was still a good logo and represented the shopping center.

How to change something so rooted in people's minds without being too intrusive or radical?

At that time, on social media, a "10 Year Challenge" campaign was taking place in which people shared photos of how they looked ten years ago and how they had changed in that decade. So, we decided to extrapolate that idea to the shopping center's brand identity and communicate how the old generations, who are still users today, influence the new generations.

The first thing we noticed was that the colors were very representative of the brand, so changing them was not an option, but we could innovate while maintaining them. Nowadays, color application in logos and isotypes has no limits. Today's iconographic applications are very different from those of 1979. Logos no longer live only in analog and printed systems; they must coexist in digital media, social networks, on our phones, etc.

The first thing we did was to analyze the cases of Instagram and Apple.

To modernize the Policentro brand, we opted for using gradients of the same base colors, which allowed us to maintain the functional form and, at the same time, update it to the trends of that moment without risking the use of new colors in the primary applications.

Another aspect that caught our attention and helped modernize the brand was the use of lowercase sans-serif typography in the logo. Sans-serif letters in smaller formats have greater legibility, allowing the logo to be represented both on the facade of the shopping center and as a social media avatar on a 4-inch phone screen. Communication is consistent regardless of the channel size and format.

In previous versions, the Policentro logo consisted of six surrounding hexagons with a seventh central hexagon, all surrounded by a line or stripe. We decided to remove the stripe so that the symbol is more free, and thus we concluded its modification and evolution.

The following images show the 1979 logo, the 90s logo, and the new 2019 logo.

In addition to renewing the corporate identity, we wanted to reflect how Policentro had evolved over time. For this, we created a series of graphic pieces for the shopping center's anniversary campaign. The aim was to communicate that although times change, Policentro will always be by your side. Below are some of these pieces.

Finally, the marketing team of the shopping center embraced the idea. It was not an easy task since decisions about Policentro's operation are made by both the marketing department and the administrative committee of the shopping center, which is composed of eight people representing more than forty owners of commercial premises. Therefore, many people had to be convinced before rebranding the brand.

Regarding the future of the Policentro corporate identity, I have always believed that simple ideas communicate better, following the principle of "less is more." In my opinion, the evolution of the brand should lead to further simplification in its form and concept. I venture to propose that in the future, the Policentro logo and symbol become more minimalist. Here are some proposals in that direction.

In my opinion, the update of Policentro's corporate identity will last at least another decade. The future development of the logo is something that should be discussed by future generations. For now, the client, users, agency, and I are very satisfied with the result and reception it has received. Personally, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this project and feel that it has been my small contribution to the city's image.

What do you think about the Policentro logo for its 40th anniversary? Do you think it will last for another 40 years? If you want to know more about this topic or are interested in carrying out a renewal of your brand's identity, do not hesitate to contact me through any of my digital channels or click to schedule a meeting.

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