City Branding for Çanakkale City

Following Bergama, İzmir, Kocaeli, Bursa and Gaziantep city branding projects, I Mean It Agency undertook the responsibility of telling the story of Çanakkale city.

The tourism landscape is constantly changing. With the fresh challenges of 2020 and new opportunities in the market emerging, Çanakkale, a city with roots dating back to 3000 BC, is ready for a breath of fresh air.

I Mean It Creative took on the task of redefining Çanakkale and its tourism strategy, evolving it to focus on the rich and diverse values the city has to offer.

This is a city that inspired countless legends and stories of its own, through the traces of the many civilizations it has hosted over the course of thousands of years. From its nature to its geographical location, from its climate to its people, from its role in ancient history to its part in recent history, Çanakkale is a special city that bears many treasures. It is a city with a deeply rich and unique story, one we had the privilege of exploring, studying and sharing…


Our first task was to step into a process that would involve all of the city’s important stakeholders.In order to create the correct message and strategy for Çanakkale, we conducted a comprehensive research phase to get a better understanding of the general perception, directed toward Turkish locals and foreign tourists.

After conducting face-to-face surveys with over 2500 people, separate in-depth interviews with 60 decision makers, opinion leaders, external stakeholders, journalists, historians and writers, and focus group meetings with tourism professionals, we were finally ready to start creating our value map and a strategy based on the data collected.


While collecting data needed for Çanakkale’s value map, we were overwhelmed with the sheer amount and diversity of values the city had to offer;

From the Trojan Horse, Çanakkale Strait, Diving Sites, Güzelyalı, Sarıçay, Aynalı Bazaar, Troy Ruins, Islands, Naval Museum, Nusret Mine Ship, Abydos Ancient City, Babakale Knives, The Strong Winds of Çanakkale, Swimming Race in the Bosphorus to Cheese Halva, Kepez Public Beach and many many more…

We overcame this challenge by creating three main concept clusters and one integrative element to gather all of these concepts under the same roof…


3.1. PRIDE

Two sides, one city, hundreds of thousands of soldiers martyred; the only place where war,peace, history and nature band together.

Çanakkale is our past, our future, our impassable; It is the place where our
independence seeped into the ground, the soul of an epic struggle, where the name of the trench is homeland. In the cradle of history and nature, the hometown of the rightful pride of our victories, is one of our most important cities where our national sentiments reach its peak, and is the spiritual capital of the country. From Gelibolu to Biga, from Marmara to The Aegean, there is history in every inch of Çanakkale.


If geography is destiny, peace is the destiny of Çanakkale.

Gliding under the wings of a bird flying from Aegean to Marmara, you leave the highest point of Çanakkale, Mount Ida, behind. As both coasts, european on one side and the Asian on the other, greet you; you will immediately notice the harmony between green and blue. The nature of Çanakkale is as fascinating as its past. This city takes you on an adventure with its port cities, calm beaches, golden sand, islands, bay and oak trees.

If geography is fate, then peace is the fate of Çanakkale. Its wind is famous, its nature gives peace.

Known for its wind, its lands are even more abundant. From its pine trees to its evergreen shrubs, and from its summits to its coasts, a vibrant flora and fauna prevails in Çanakkale. With fresh summers and green winters, its forests welcome nature lovers with open arms as much as its coasts embrace those who enjoy being by the sea. In Çanakkale, you taste two continents and two climates in a single breath.


A reference to prehistoric and ancient times in every inch, the traces of a different civilization in each layer; This is Çanakkale, where nature leads history, where the Iliad of Homer, one of the oldest epics in history, took place. With the strategic location of the Bosphorus, the green of the mountains, the abundance of the plains, the calmness of the islands and the peaceful elegance of the sea, Çanakkale is a breath of inspiration that extends from myths, epics and mythological gods to the present day.

Stroll through the past with castles, historical places of worship, trenches, monuments, temples, altars, sculptures, ancient cities and the Troya Museum, one of the most beautiful museums of our modern age. Discover very same spots to watch the sunset that enchanted mythological gods. Add the architectural examples from different periods all over the city to your to-do list. Welcome to Çanakkale, where you will encounter a point of endless inspiration, overflowing with the richness of civilizations from East to West and past to present.

PRIDE: Çanakkale’s epic role that changed the destiny of a nation.

INSPIRATION: Çanakkale as the INSPIRATION behind many stories and legends told by the civilizations it hosted over centuries.

And the concept of PEACE: For the SERENITY one feels in Çanakkale’s nature and clean air.


Our challenge in creating the verbal identity for Çanakkale, was to collect these concepts of INSPIRATION, PRIDE and PEACE under a single roof that would serve as the backbone of the project’s verbal messaging.

We noticed an important local detail in the meetings that we had conducted…

The ‘wind’ unique to Çanakkale was emphasized as a natural feature in almost every single interview.

It was crucial that focusing on one concept wouldn’t limit the brand’s identity to a singular message, but rather highlight its vast diversity. To achieve this, i nspired by the famous wind of Çanakkale, we integrated our messages through the “A Breath of” pattern, and developed a modular structure consisting of sub-slogans through which three basic messages would be conveyed individually.


In today’s profoundly digitized world, auditory branding is as important as visual branding elements.

Based on our ‘Wind’ concept for Çanakkale, we produced auditory logo works,
predominantly composed with wind instruments.

We created a structure that only makes use of the starting melody of one of the oldest, most recognized ballads in Turkish culture, known as the ballad of Çanakkale.

The varied interpretations of a familiar, local tune allows citizens to quickly recall, internalize and adopt this sound. From school bells, airports, trams and buses, call centers and telephone lines, these sound logos can be used in many different areas. Not to mention, thanks to the ringtone they can download for free, Çanakkale locals will be able to spot each other in any part of the world.


At the heart of the brand’s new visual language is TROY, a distinct typeface which echoes the shape of the Çanakkale Martyrs Monument.

The typeface is designed for titular use, and the iconography relates to the square-like shape of the monument. Designed to optimise and unite Çanakkale’s visual branding elements, this font can be easily used in many different areas such as provinces, local products, company names, logo types or labels, and will be an important citizen engagement tool open for the public’s participation.

This font is free to download and use, especially for Çanakkale locals and residents, who can utilize it for their own projects without any copyright issues.


In order to truly solidify the new brand expression, we prepared a TV commercial that meets the marketing needs of Çanakkale, with the goal of carrying the brand’s impression from the mind to the heart.

The film starts with excerpts from the audio interview recordings with stakeholders and thought leaders. We shaped their own words in line with our fundamental strategic concepts: Pride, Peace and Inspiration.

We also created shorter versions of this film based on the “A Breath of” mold, to be used across many different social media platforms.


Next, the brand was ready for a visual language to match its core strategy.

We developed the brand’s visual identity system by starting to explore a visual
composition of rounded graphics representing the geographical position of Çanakkale and the Asian / European continents.

The resulting abstract language of the spheres would be the base of all the visual materials to come. As with the rest of the identity, this design language created in a modular structure allows for diverse uses and adaptations across different fields.

We translated the brand’s identity into a Visual Identity Booklet, accessible to all users, to ensure the flexibility to adapt and evolve for years to come.



Based on the road drawn out by our value map, we photographed each district of Çanakkale with our agency’s own photography and drone team.

Selecting from thousands of visuals, we chose over 200 high-resolution photographs, retouched and compiled them into an album which everyone can access and download for free.

In addition to this digital library, thanks to correctly selected keywords corresponding to each image, search engines will finally provide the quality visuals the stunning city of Çanakkale deserves.


This new brand identity had to adapt to and meet the marketing needs of a city transitioning into a post-COVID tourism industry. Digitizing the brochures gave the brand expression a modern update, and an advantage in the market, by providing translated texts for potential foreign tourists browsing online.

A wide range of topics such as basic information about the city, daily trips, must-see places, local food and cultural life suggestions were brought together by the copywriters of I Mean It. After forming this content into electronically accessible brochures, we created a structure that allows for citizens to download the entirety of this brochure or only the specific regions they want, along with the ability to add and use their own logos or names.

Thanks to this key citizen engagement tool, strategy and content unity was ensured throughout the visual communication in the whole city.


We used the images we shot on-site, paired with the correct verbal messages, to be the main focus in promotional materials we designed for both print and digital media, such as magazine advertisements.The page layouts we prepared ensure longevity and strength of the new brand expression, as we delivered solutions to be used in advertisements throughout the entire year.


We extended the same equation of focus on imagery plus correct verbal messaging, as we carried the new brand expression across our campaign posters, designed for outdoor advertising such as billboards.These materials are also used in fairs and campaigns led to attract potential tourists.

Integrating local citizens into the campaign was a key part of this project, and it was also an extra special surprise for the citizens of Çanakkale to see their own familiar faces on billboards during the brand’s launch.


It goes without saying that it was essential for Çanakkale’s new brand expression to perform digitally.

All social media presence related to Çanakkale city were officially rearranged by the I Mean It Digital team. Accounts on platforms such as Facebook,Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Youtube were re-activated and restructured to adhere to a cohesive, unifying common language. This structure was used in all the points of contact we organized.

Short pieces we created from the commercial film re still being broadcast on these platforms, as well as periodic posts from our photographic library, with adhering captions and correct hashtags.

From online streaming platforms to social media content, the new Çanakkale brand has the power to adapt and promote whenever needed.


Many destinations today use iconic travel posters that recall 1940s and 50s style aesthetics to promote their cultural and natural beauties. These posters still break auction records and are sought after by collectors.

In the light of the infrastructure drawn out by Çanakkale’s value map, we chose icons that underline the themes of Peace, Pride and Inspiration.

The selected destinations were transformed into nostalgic posters through Emrah Yücel’s illustrations. The illustration style is colourful and adventurous, with graphic details that highlight Çanakkale’s historic status while capturing the adventure and excitement of its natural treasures.


Along with the retro posters, we designed an additional collection of local souvenirs with items such as T-shirts, bags, aprons and postcards, and created a Çanakkale Store concept that plans to open in the coming months…

These retail stores will sell to tourists at ceremonial places, gathering squares and city centers, and will also exist online.


It’s 2020: Undoubtedly, it was inevitable for a destination like Çanakkale to have its own phone application.

This phone app, which provides convenience to all visitors of the city, makes life easier in Çanakkale with the information it provides. Created by the UI and UX team of the I Mean It team, the app has already been downloaded by many users in a short time.

This newly digitized brand is now ready to build a connection with people across all platforms.

In Conclusion;

With a new brand based on a deep and comprehensive process, Çanakkale is ready for the future.

A Breath of Pride, A Breath of İnspiration, A Breath of Peace, A Breath of… Çanakkale

If you also think your city has values suitable for branding… call us…