Exploit the country identity

Country identity is an important part of the nation’s culture and the main differential advantage of a country. Visual representation can help the country to better position in area of export, tourism, diplomacy, economy, …

Flag as vehicle for countries identity

Visual identity of any country should be clear in its message as in its visual image. The most obvious visual shorthand for the country is its flag, it is the most useful and visual message. The flag is specific media on which systems of country’s visual identity is designed on. In Japan the big part of corporated identities are based on their flag. 40 percent of corporate identities have the shape of a circle or are similar to it and more than 60 percent of them use red colour in their signs. Every country wants to create a strongly positioned state identity that is globally recognized and that can compete with corporate brands as well as with country brands.

Despite its size, very good example of brand name that sells is Switzerland. It is a country with tremendous global presence. To consumers, the Swiss flag is a seal of approval, a visual representation of luxury, quality, precision and trust. These associations were built over time by successful Swiss companies. Together they have shaped the way the world views Switzerland. There are opproximately 2000 active firms that use the concept of Switzerland or the words “Schweiz” (German), “Suisse” (French), “Svizzera” (Italian), “Switzerland” or “Swiss” in their brand or company name. Also the official typeface of the twentieth century, Helvetica, originally called Neue Haas Grotesk, was changed in 1960 to Helvetica which is derived from the Latin name for Switzerland, Helvetia. Many more of them play with the “Switzerland” brand by using the letters “Sw…” Swatch is an obvious example. Yet these are not the only methods used to tell potential buyers where a product comes from. Often, the product itself or the packaging in which it is presented exploit country’s identity symbols to create a link to the positive image of a country.

Photo from Swiss identity of the post Exploit the country identity

Switzerland branding

Vitalp on their little product packaging of Herb Candy uses six elements, simbols that presents its country of origin:

  • product description: “Swiss Herb Candy”;
  • product name: “Vitalp” evokes the Alp mountain range that runs in part through Switzerland;
  • a visual of the Swiss flag;
  • a caption identifying the flag as Swiss;
  • a visual of the iconic Matterhorn mountain;
  • a duplicate product description at the bottom of the pack: “Swiss Herb Candy”.

Many of Switzerland brands often apply country’s identity symbols, the obvious Swiss flag on their products or use them in their advertisements. Brands like Swatch often feature the Swiss flag on their watches, all time favorite being the typically square model. After all, Swiss flag is one of only two square flags in the world!

The exact hue of red in the Swiss flag is not defined by law, and various authorities have used different colors over time. Despite its strict country’s visual identity only in 2007, the corporate design guide of the federal authorities designated Pantone’s PMS 485 as the shade of red to be used in print.


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