“Who? And When?”
From Lonely Planet: “Ukraine is big. In fact it’s Europe’s biggest country (not counting Russia, which isn’t entirely in Europe) and packs a lot of diversity into its borders. Ukrainians are also a diverse crowd: from the wired sophisticates of Kyiv’s business quarters to the Gogolesque farmers in Poltava […] few countries boast such a mixed population. Having only appeared on the map in 1991, the country has managed two revolutions and a Russian invasion already, and fighting in the Donbas is ongoing. History ancient and recent is all around you in this vast land, whether it be among the Gothic churches of Lviv, the Stalinist facades of Kyiv, the remnants of the once-animated Jewish culture of west Ukraine or the ubiquitous Soviet high-rises.” This month, for the first time in its history, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine through the Commission for Promotion of Ukraine under the Ministry of Information Policy, have introduced a country brand. It was designed by Kiev, Ukraine-based Banda.
With the support of the British government, a study was conducted on how Ukraine perceives abroad. According to his results, it turned out that the three most popular associations with Ukraine are “corruption”, “revolution” and “war”.
To change the perceptions of Ukrainians and convince more people to come to us, Ukraine needs a brand. Such a brand will demonstrate us as an open modern country, where everything is most interesting right now.
The logo came out exactly like this, because we wanted to “highlight” the yellow marker as the main word of the message – NOW. And the blue element in the shape resembles the notifications that we see in social networks. This is a symbol of something new that attracts attention. And Ukraine is really worth paying attention.
As a result, the brand has come out bright and modern. It has young good energy, energy of action.
Branding is situational. The final element of each layout becomes an icon. It adapts each time to the context and complements the layout plot.
In essence, there is nothing groundbreaking about the logo — it’s type, a rectangle, and a circle — but there is something very compelling and energetic about it as well as an appropriateness that seems to work well for Ukraine. The latter in part may be because it uses the yellow and blue colors from its flag but I like how they translated those colors into a concept: yellow as a highlighter for what’s important about Ukraine and blue to hint at the ubiquitous notifications on our phones. The slightly brusque font gives the logo some personality that even though they are trying to show their hospitality and openness hints that Ukraine is still rough around the edges. The flexibility of the logo is interesting too and well managed, where “NOW” always blocks a piece of “Ukraine” and the “ua” or an icon land on top of “NOW”. It creates a subtle layered look that adds some depth to otherwise flat compositions and provides some flexibility that also manages to maintain consistency.
Speaking about Ukraine now needs to be in Ukrainian. Specifically for the brand Ukraine now the Ermilov font was created. This is a modern massive geometric grotesque with a special bevel in the corners of the letter. The work of the Ukrainian artist-constructivist Vasyl Yermilov was inspired by his creation.
I really like the treatments where the copywriting is punctuated by the logo and the word “Ukraine” aligns with the text while “NOW” and the icon stack downward and to the side. This allows the campaign to pretty much show any photo and say anything and all the messages will be neatly tied together by the logo ending the sentence.
These additional renders show the playfulness of the logo and how it can be adapted to many different parts of life. What’s great too about all this is that the logo is a constant call to action with the word “NOW” always in it. It’s not just about the name of country — as most country brand logos are — but about a specific moment in time for a country in flux and ready to take action now for a better then.