The visual identity of the Westbank brand. The logo and branding and story behind the design.
Westbank, a Vancouver-based, luxury real estate developer came to AKQA Tokyo with the challenge to create not just a new logo, but an entirely new way of branding. Most often, re-branding briefs are centered on finding that one single fresh look that can not only re-invigorate the brand, but achieve a level of immutable iconography.
In Westbank’s case however, it quickly became apparent that whatever the new identity, it had to be 1) distinct from all other real-estate branding and 2) utterly flexible and able to evolve over time. The reason such principles were applied to the Westbank branding is rooted in the company’s position that, while they do build buildings, they are not so much real estate developers as creators of culture. This assertion is borne out in their work, which goes well beyond luxury condos in collaboration with the world’s top architects like Bjarke Ingels, and into public art, exhibitions, curation of vintage couture fashion, patronage of a ballet school, and various other cultural activities and ambitions.
Everything Westbank does is done in their signature style with the utmost attention to beauty and design, but the nature of the work itself is ever-changing, so the brand must be equally at home in a building, as in a fashion show or at a lecture with Margaret Trudeau. As such, the resulting icon for Westbank is “winged” to represent both the Westbank W and the place where the built environment and culture meet.
The primary color for the logo is magenta—creating a thread of continuity between their old logo and the new, but also as a statement of the brand’s identification with, and support of women and femininity in an industry that is traditionally male-dominated. The logo area was also created to be customized so it can incorporate collaborators’ identities or patterns and imagery—to change as it needs to change while maintaining a core. The Westbank logo has been created not to stay the same forever, but to evolve as the culture it creates does.