In the spaces of the Abbey of Valserena, headquarters of the CSAC, an exhibition investigates the communication strategies behind the construction of the visual identity of a city

On the occasion of the celebrations for Parma Italian Capital of Culture 2021, the full program of events and exhibitions is enriched with the exhibition project Voi siete qui (You are here). City Branding: the Italian scenario and Edenspiekermann's projects for Amsterdam, Santa Monica and Parma, promoted by CSAC - University of Parma Communication Studies and Archive Center and produced by the Committee for Parma 2020, with the organization of Electa.

The exhibition explores the applications of City Branding by proposing significant examples of this important contemporary phenomenon which finds its development in various research fields, from marketing to urban planning, from social sciences to design, with the aim of investigating the communication strategies contained behind the construction of the visual identity of a city .

Set up in the evocative spaces of the Valserena Abbey, at the CSAC, until April 18, 2022 the exhibition brings together a precise selection of dedicated projects to the Italian City Branding, together with the international experience of the Edenspiekermann studio that presents the case studies of Parma, Amsterdam and Santa Monica.

The theme of the public image of Italian cities is developed in three sections.


First of all, the case of Parma is analyzed, which after being designated Italian Capital of Culture 2020 and subsequently confirmed at 2021 due to pandemic, has defined a more recognizable and accessible visual identity for its citizens and for local and international tourists.

The creation of the design language focused on few but effective elements: the modern reinterpretation of the classic Bodoni font, with the powerful P and shaped and the use of a lively and cheerful yellow, the traditional color of the buildings of the city since the eighteenth century, to represent the encounter between classic Italian culture, progressive politics and a dynamic future.

Destination Italy

Central body of the exhibition, Destination Italy collects 32 coordinated image studies of Italian cities: Ascoli Piceno, Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Courmayeur, Fano, Ferrara, Florence, Gabicce Mare, Genoa, Gorizia, Latisana, Lignano Sabbiadoro, Madonna di Campiglio, Mantua, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Parma, Pesaro, Pisa, Pordenone, Rimini, Rome, Roveredo in Piano, Sabbioneta, Salerno, Siena, Treviso, Trieste, Varese, Venice.

The narrative follows a chronological order starting from one of the first urban redesign projects up to taking on systemic connotations: that of the Municipality of Siena built between 1994 and 1998, up to the experience in 2021 of Madonna di Campiglio.

3. Amsterdam and Santa Monica

In the third section, ample space is dedicated to two of the firm's numerous international projects Edenspiekermann, to which the cities of Amsterdam and Santa Monica have addressed.

In the first case, the intention emerges to bring together a series of very different realities in a single system of shared identity , thanks also to the creation of the characters Adam and Eve, modular iconic figures that can be used in static and dynamic applications to support storytelling and the transfer of complex information.

In the case of the Californian city, a necessary concept is proposed for an identity experience and attentive to digital services, with the implementation of an umbrella brand for the various city departments.

The catalog published by Electa

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of the catalog published by Electa, which traces the case studies selected in the exhibition. The volume presents the graphic documentation of the design path that led to the creation of the Parma brand, with a focus on Italian experiences in the field of City Branding, up to the two international examples that represent the work of the Edenspiekermann studio, an international agency specializing in city brand identity, and of its founder Erik Spiekermann, one of the best-known graphic designers and typewriters in the world.