There is only a handful of places in the world as special as the Old City of Dubrovnik in Croatia. This UNESCO protected World Heritage Site captures magnificent architecture with tremendous historical and cultural value and has, in the recent years, become a truly global tourist destination. It doesn’t come as a surprise that world famous Game of Thrones and Star Wars were filmed here.

With so many stories to tell, we were very much intrigued by the open tender for the visual identity of what should become the Creative Hub of Dubrovnik and of course proud when Filburg’s proposal was selected as the best one.

At the time of a plague epidemic in Europe, Lazareti – as this part of the old town has been called since the 14th century – were established as the first quarantine in Europe where anyone who wanted to enter Dubrovnik needed to stay for forty days beforehand. It is one of the rarely preserved quarantine buildings in the European part of the Mediterranean, uniquely composed of ten halls and five courtyards, one in between each pair of halls, oriented towards the sea on one side and the old city on the other. The complex has since served many purposes and is now being revived as a common ground for different cultural content for the local community and the tourists.

ClientThe City of DubrovnikServicescreative direction, brand and visual identity design, visual communications, signage designYear2018

Photos courtesy of City of Dubrovnik and Filburg

Visual identity

Lazareti are a unique conjunction of immaterial and material heritage, the contemporary and the historical. The visual identity therefore combines their natural and architectural motives, Dubrovnik heraldry, and the idea of diversity in order to communicate the vibrancy of the new hub as well as belonging to the heritage of Old City of Dubrovnik. The sign is the most recognisable part of the visual identity system. It is composed of four schematic textures symbolising the sea, the walls and the open spaces, composed inside a square. Together with the logotype they also closely resemble the architectural rhythm of the complex itself, the repetitive interplay of closed and open spaces, of tangible and intangible. The colour palette is derived from Dubrovnik coat of arms with contemporary tweaks and accents, while the typography is based on a humanistic typeface designed by Croatian author Nikola Djurek.

The visual system is built around several simple and robust principles which together result in many different flexible possibilities of expressing the new brand identity. The format margins, logo positions and sizes as well as relations between system elements are all defined to ensure highly recognisable but functional visual communication. By using the sign independently of the logotype and opening space in between its layers to communicate content happening inside Lazareti, the sign becomes the space itself.

Stakeholders

One of the challenges in designing this system was the representation of all the stakeholders involved in the project who inhabit the space and co-create its programme. Each one having its own identity and design we wanted to give them several possibilities of communicating their belonging to Lazareti by using its design language while retaining their own uniqueness – from marking it with a badge alone to fully framing it with Lazareti ornaments.

Visual communications

The visual identity guidelines – a main deliverable of this project – suggest a creative direction for all the main visual communication applications, from stationery to invites, posters, flyers and publications, to digital channels, to signage. For brand introduction, they are directed to be vibrant, loud, playful, and highly identifiable.

We hope the work will fully come to life to present this unique venue in a worthy and appropriate way now the identity system is in the hands of its tenants, boosting its chances of successfully transforming an entire part of this amazing city.

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