BRANDING EUROPE

text and image r.v.

When we take a look at the renewed visual imagery of the 27 individual countries that currently make up the EU what stands out in particular are the numerous similarities. The various restyled national logos are all composed as if it were a commercial logo. Whereby a graphic element is combined with a logotype which forms the name of the country. Of the 28 logos, for Belgium there is one separate for Wallonia plus Brussels and one separate for Flanders, there has only in two cases been chosen to use the more classic serif font, the majority is in the more contemporary sans-serif font, of which even eleven are in a hand written font. The latter can simply be explained by the fact that the by Joan Miro, just before his death in 1983, in commission of the Spanish tourist office, designed logo for Spain, concerned the first modern redesigned national logo, which subsequently became the standard for all following national rebrandings. This also explains the large number of logos (nine) in which sun and / or star serve as a visual element. Eleven of the logos still contain the conventional flag as a graphic element. Flora are further popular (six times) and complete abstract forms (five times), the landscape also appears several times. In the case of as well Denmark, Hungary as Slovenia we see a heart or love being used. Which immediately recalls the well known by Milton Glaser in 1977 designed ‘I love NY’ logo. The design that can be regarded as the archetype for all logos that as part of city branding have in the next thirty years been designed. Without doubt it concerns for all national logos 100% feelgood logos. More pleasant subjects are cast in a dynamic and asymmetric shape, in colours with a high saturation. Compare this with the stricter, symmetrical and static, classic national coats of arms you will notice clearly a radical shift in what the nation wants to communicate about itself. The imposing of its neighbouring countries or subjects has given way to a temptation of the tourists, exporters, inland investors, knowledge migrants or any other welcome target group. Of course the more formal, traditional national identity has not had its days and is still being used on more official occasions or at times when country x has to do with less welcome guest y…

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About The Bleeding Tomato

The Bleeding Tomato is the online sketch book of Roberto Voorbij - Visual / 3D Artist. A place for his spin-offs, new ideas, personal frustrations and fascinations. Blogging about art, sociology, technique, marketing and more…
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2 Responses to BRANDING EUROPE

  1. Henk says:

    “The idea of a nation as a brand – as Kellog’s Corn Flakes is a brand — is a very big mistake” (Wally Olins)

    What really is striking about these logo’s is how interchangable they are. This of course because of the trick of using calligraphy. This is understandable, because it’s the fastest way to visually communicate that the country has a lot of culture and nature to offer. The one that stands out and totally succeeds is the Spain one. All the others look… forced.
    Other trends that are used to death these days in logo design and spotted in the list above: “the doodled circles” logo (Finland) and the “breaking the words apart” logo (Lithuania, Estonia).

    The Slovakia identity reminds me of the one Duffy & Partners created for the Bahamas and which I quite like: http://www.duffypov.com/duffy-article/130/creating-a-branded-experience-the-bahamas. Whereas the Slovakia one uses the trendy forms to create a butterfly (which could be used for any other country), the Bahamas one really uses the forms to create something beautiful, just like the Islands themselves (at least I think, never been there).

    Paula Scher of Pentagram did something way nicer with the concept of the Slovenia logo by the way: http://pentagram.com/en/new/2007/09/new-work-paula-scher-brands-sl-1.php

    It’s nearly impossible to brand a whole country, few pull it off. It’s a little bit easier to do the same thing with a city I think. This fantastic rebrand of the city of Melbourne for example: http://level11.tumblr.com/post/177820498/city-of-melbourne-identity

    • Thanks for pointing me to the Melbourne logo!

      Big improvement indeed. An example that it’s really possible to brand something as dynamic and heterogeneous as a city. A good combination of recognizable and unvaried elements with diverse and dynamic ones. In my opinion it could be even pushed further in its ambivalence and non-uniformity. After all to present a city only as a consistent and coherent brand is not realistic, it’s not conform the reality of multiplicity and constant transformation.

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