Brand Sweden – Nordic Minimalism
Branding a country is a difficult prospect, opinions on what countries stand for usually based on their own regional stereotypes, Belgium for example to me in the UK tends to be seen as dull and boring where as in Germany, Belgium takes on the role that Ireland does to the British, the butt of many marginally racist intelligence based jokes.
For me it’s difficult not to think of Sweden without thinking of minimalist design, laid back sexual attitudes and an expensive tax regime with a high standard of living.
Trying to capture the essence of a country always causes difficulties. In the case of Sweden, design agency Söderhavet weren’t tasked to create a tourist facing brand or an identity for the royal family, but a brand for the country wholesale, for both internally facing aspects such as services offered on the website to external assets, brochures and more for those looking to gain a visa or do business int he state.
Söderhavet kept it simple then, using the Swedish flag and colours. Where the identity does excel is the rather smart custom monospace like font and some typical minimalist applications and the Sweden.se site is really smart with rich full images and simple enough to navigate and the work.sweden.se section a real credit.
This idea of keeping it simple not only produces a great result but also chimes in my mind with that minimalist Swedish design history and is all the better for it.
We developed a hierarchy of identity carriers. We placed two obligatory elements at the apex: The Swedish flag, in the exact proportions and colors used since the 17th century, and the textual mark ‘Sverige’, accompanied by a local translation for the country’s name. On the second rung we placed those elements which should be used if the medium allows it: A specially commissioned font face, Sweden Sans, to further differentiate the textual marks, and two principal colors — the gold and blue found on Sweden’s flag.
Read the portfolio piece on Soderhavet »