Belfast rebrands city logo to shake off old perceptions

LONDON - Belfast City Council has unveiled a new brand identity for Belfast as part of a regeneration programme focused around celebrating the city's industrial history and updating perceptions still locked in its political past.

The new logo, which is a simple design featuring a capital "B" with the word "Belfast" inscribed vertically inside, was created following a year-long rebranding research programme -- carried out by creative consultancy Lloyd Northover.

It will be rolled out across the city over the coming months on buses, road signs, billboards and landmark buildings.

Belfast City Council hopes the new branding will promote the city as a vibrant and optimistic place in which to live, work, invest and visit.

Peter McNaney, chief executive at Belfast City Council, said: "In developing this brand, the goal was to deliver a statement that describes the Belfast of today and also what it inspires to be in future -- a strong, vibrant, exciting city with a coordinated approach to communication.

"This brand will help us prioritise and identify policies, potential investments, projects and initiatives that will deliver the vision we have for our city."

During the research phase Lloyd Northover, which won the contract following a competitive pitch process, consulted around 3,000 key Belfast city stakeholders from within the business, tourism, hospitality, culture, arts and youth communities.

The work by Lloyd Northover's in-house market research team, involved focus groups, workshops and a web survey to test ideas and concepts and was conducted across England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Europe and the US.

Jim Northover, Lloyd Northover chairman, said: "Belfast has gone through a huge transformation in recent years. The problem, quite simply, is that brand perceptions are way behind that changed reality.

"Our brand strategy, developed in conjunction with the people it seeks to represent, aims to change those perceptions and thereby dramatically influencing the future success of the city."

Northern Ireland's economy has boomed since the end of the Troubles and did well throughout the 1990s and into the new century as it grew faster economically than the rest of the UK, because of what has been called the "peace dividend".

Last year a Halifax survey found Northern Ireland's average house price to be one of the highest in the UK, behind London, the South East and the South West. It also found Northern Ireland to have all of the top 10 property "hot spots", with the Craigavon and Newtownards areas increasing by 55%.