úterý, února 21, 2006

Czech Republic: Whatever

The need for a consistent and appealing brand identity for countries is well documented. Not always can the official state symbols do the job of communicating the Zeitgeist of the country and serving the art, sports, and business communities as relevant endorsement. (See, for example, the case study of Estonia by Interbrand.)

Czech Republic's project of its brand identity has been plagued by bad project management, lack of leadership and bad design for years. The current attempt is no better, either.

In fact, it only got worse. Aesthetically the Side2 studio has created a very appealing format. Strategically, it is completely flawed. The format promises a great deal of flexibility in application but lacks substance. Correct me if I'm wrong but I still believe that a logo (or visual identity, if you want) is an attempt to capture the core message of a corporation, a country, a NGO... Logo is the first piece of advertising, a simple visual clue, a meme you want your brand to be associated with. Now, in light of what has been said, let's try to analyze the message of the new logo of the Czech Republic.

The logo speaks of empty form. Callout shape - as we know it originally from comics - is a placeholder for an utterance. It doesn't speak of anything by itself - it is a container to be filled with any kind of text. The callout shapes in the logo express variety - of form. As a result, do we want to position CZ as a variety of empty forms to be stuffed by pretty much anything? Well, from a perspective of a foreigner - albeit living in the Czech Republic for quite a while - I DO think the logo speaks of the Czech reality; but perhaps unintentionally, as a strategic side effect of the design. Here, the unwillingness to express positive values, to position yourself in one way or another, becomes the Czech brand message. Being Czech is an ultimate post-modern stance. The logo could be complemented by a brand tag-line: Czech Republic. Whatever.