I think the notion of branding countries is a travesty and a chimera. Countries are too complex, and they fly flags as symbols anyway. What difference would the look of the word ’Japan’ or ’Libya’ or ’Bahrain’ make to anyone today? Helping a nation’s tourism or promoting its culture, trade or sport with a style or a look is another matter entirely. There are many countries that I would enjoy working with in accomplishing some of these. China, for one.
Michael Wolff, Founder, Michael Wolff & Company
The most powerful visual identity of the 20th century came out of Germany, and we don’t want to align our industry with that. If we want to alter perceptions, we should start by avoiding stereotypes, clichés and tokenism in our work; the country label can be a useful political flag, but it’s the diversity that makes each nation unique.
Michael Smith, Director, Cog Design
Cambodia – a branding exercise focused on looking at itself with fresh eyes, not tourism. With a rich history and several identity crises under its belt the benefits would be manifold. A population that has suffered genocide, centuries of conflicts over boundaries and rural areas lacking in basic infrastructure deserve some attention. Cambodia has a bright future with per capita income, education and export on the increase. Helping it to further identify who Cambodians are would be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Nikki Austen, Creative strategist, 300 Million
Scotland might seem to be a done deal, but it’s such an interesting branding case that I’d choose it, especially as a Sassenach. Unlike lots of country logo jobs, Scotland has got real substance to work with – the most valuable things in life are free, taxation isn’t high and even the weather is improving due to global warming. What’s not to like? I’d want Scotland to open up, to be less thistly about being in the UK and happy that it’s lost its old chippiness.
Tony Allen, Chief executive, Fortune Street
I would rebrand Iceland – I think it has been through some pretty traumatic times with the financial crisis in 2008. It is slowly coming out the other side, but a new, strong brand identity would help accelerate this process. Iceland has so much to offer with such diversity. It’s a place of inspiration, feeding the senses on many levels – culturally, artistically and geographically – with extensive wildlife and outdoor activity. Creating a brand capturing its essence carrying into the future would be my dream.
Jacky O’Leary, Managing director, N1 Creative