City of Chicago Design System


The Design System, for the City of Chicago, captures the historical and symbolic strength of the existing Chicago flag and codifies it into a contemporary, efficient and free architecture for the entire citizenry of Chicago to participate and build-upon (the goal being, to help bring the city of Chicago together through it’s brand identity).

We worked closely with the Mayor’s Office to develop a simple, but elegant, toolkit which would allow public officials (at any level and for any department) to easily access common design assets (eg. image libraries, color palettes, logo/lock-ups, typefaces, etc), high-level instructions/templates and examples of how-best to assemble them for a wide range of potential projects (from seasonal/cultural marketing events, municipal signage, uniforms, vehicle graphics, etc).

We developed a custom typeface, called Big Shoulders (inspired by Chicago’s famous architecture) and made it a free Google font so that every city worker would have access to Chicago’s ‘new voice.’

On March 4th, 2020… we launched the new identity (hand-in-hand with Mayor Lori Lightfoot), at a press-conference celebrating the Chicago’s 183rd birthday (Fast Company published an article, estimating the city could save tax payers as much as $10 million dollars by adopting the new system).

In many ways, the timing couldn’t have been better, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged… the City of Chicago has been using the new Design System to help organize public health and safety information in their digital/social presence as-well-as wide scale public PSAs (the new brand identity projects professionalism, credibility, organization, reliability and trust, at a time when all the people of Chicago need it most).

Creative Director, Ogilvy
Steve Hahn
Executive Design Director, Ogilvy
Gabe Usadel
Deputy Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy Worldwide
Joe Sciarrotta
Designer, Ogilvy
Charlotte Petertil
Designer, Ogilvy
Sho Watanabe
Director of Design, City of Chicago
Jason Kunesh
President, House of Pretty, Ltd.
Patric King
Senior Digital Project Manager, Ogilvy
Philip Puleo
Vice President, Ogilvy
Amysue Martens
Associate Strategy Director, Ogilvy
Annette Perfetti
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