The world’s most design-savvy countries have joined forces to develop their own regional branding.
The Danish architecture and design firm Bjark Ingels Group (BIG) will head up an initiative to create a collective visual identity for the Nordic territories, which include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the Åland Islands. The new branding, commissioned by the ministers for the Nordic co-operation—an intergovernmental body tasked with maintaining solidarity among the territories—aims to distinguish the strength and personality of the region to the rest of the world.
The project, called the Branding and Positioning of the Nordic Region, will also showcase the region’s shared values and culture. From the project page:
The Nordic countries share values such as openness, trust, innovation, sustainability, and humanity. An ambitious project will now fly the flag for these and other Nordic values, and show that our countries are stronger together than on their own.
Ingels, one of Denmark’s leading cultural exports, and his firm will work with the Danish advertising agency Mensch, the U.S. and Danish technology company Area 9 and the New York-based graphic design firm Ole Lund Creative to design the identity. The team won the job with a proposal titled Traces of the North, which aims to present a more multi-faceted image of the region, beyond tourism photos and Nordic region stereotypes.
In a news release, Christina Tønnesen, CEO of Mensch, says of the brand proposal:
Although the narrative of the democratic Nordic Region currently enjoys plenty of momentum, there will always be potential for making the brand even stronger. Our ambition is to present a more multi-faceted image of the Region. We want to create a living manifestation of the Nordic brand, the Nordic mindset and Nordic ‘traces’ in the world.
One image of the Nordic region that the branding initiative already serves to perpetuate—even without yet releasing the details of the identity—is its propensity toward communal decisions and thoughtful branding. Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden in particular are known for design characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, a style rooted in the region but celebrated all over the world.
While “place branding”—branding a nation, city or region—isn’t a new concept, designing collectively across countries and tapping some of the world’s best design talent to do it, all seems very, well, Nordic. Don’t forget, this the part of the world where even the mice benefit from the region’s unrelenting charm.