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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsCommunity‘We’ll Develop Brands for Moscow Districts’

‘We’ll Develop Brands for Moscow Districts’

Undergraduate and master’s students of the HSE Faculty of Communications, Media and Design, together with the School of Sociology and School of Political Science are launching a research project on the need for design solutions in Moscow’s districts.

The project started with an exhibition of the best works by students of a spatial branding workshop held at the HSE School of Design. The exhibition took place at Basmanny District council. The projects included branding for the Republic of Kalmykia, the design of a route taking in constructivist architecture in Ekaterinburg, modernization and developing new areas of application for Dymkovo Toys crafts, and a concept and identity for cultural educational activities in Rostov-on-Don, as well as many others.

The exhibition opening included a workshop on branding and design in cities, conducted by Sergey Kleshchev, manager of the course ‘Spatial Branding and Urban Environment Design’, and Natalia Logutova, Deputy Head of the HSE School of Design. The meeting participants discussed how branding and design can help development of a district and solve tasks for various groups of residents. Sergey Kleshchev believes that a good identity should unite people and create a certain atmosphere.

The discussion participants mentioned two key areas of work, social and cultural. All district residents and guests need access to information on social objects, such as pharmacies, clinics, and schools. But popularizing objects of cultural and historical heritage is just as important. ‘Most Moscow districts have their own image in the minds of locals and city residents, often taken from literature and cinema, but, at the same time, these districts lack a distinct visualization as a systematically used identity,’ Natalia Logutova believes, ‘Districts’ coats of arms mostly exist in official communication, but are not used on the city streets or by businesses. This ‘underuse’ can be fixed for the sake of the districts and the city as a whole.’

The next step, after the opening of the student project exhibition, will be a survey and vote among residents of the Basmanny District. Similar work on researching residents’ demands in order to determine local identity will be carried out in another three Moscow districts. Branding surveys in Moscow districts are becoming part of educational, project, and research activities by the HSE School of Design supported by Yaroslav Kuzminov, HSE Rector and deputy of the Moscow City Duma.

Such studies are also going to be carried out as part of a specialization in ‘Spatial Branding and Urban Environment Design’, which will be launched in the School of Design master’s programme next academic year. ‘Cities are growing and developing fast today. Big cities are already at the stage of structuring their positioning and visual image, while smaller ones are only just starting to think in this direction. But we evaluate the potential market for professionals in this area as very big and with potential to grow. That’s why we are looking 10 to 15 years ahead and supporting HSE staff and students’ initiatives and even are opening a specialization as part of the master’s programme,’ said Arseny Meshcheryakov, Head of the HSE School of Design.