I kind of hate describing destinations as almost anything I can say is obvious. So, the Czech Republic: in Europe, pretty. This month, the Czech Tourist Authority (CTA), revealed the winner of a “tender” — the Europeans way of a) saying Request for Proposal or b) asking for spec work — issued in April to create a new marketing logo to promote the country. From a shortlist of six proposals that you can see here, the CTA along with “representatives of the Union of Graphic Design, partners and sponsor,” plus “representatives of the Ministry for Regional Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Czech Centres,” selected the work of Prague-based Marvil and awarded them a prize of CZK$2.5 million (US$119,000).
There is no easily quotable release or comment about the new logo, but the inspiration is clear: the Facebook “Like” button. Although it goes beyond that, in that on the internet simply writing “like” in a comment or a Tweet with it and a link implies much more than just liking something, it’s the equivalent of a 500-word essay on why we think something is great. Marvil has used the ending of Republic to turn it into Republike: an awkward word when you try to say it out loud. (It personally makes me laugh because it reminds me the way my good friend Mark Kingsley calls Amsterdam: Amster-damn!). On paper it looks clever; a fun visual/written pun that may be amusing for a single-use print ad but not necessarily a long-term brand identity. It also places a lot of emphasis on English-speaking visitors, despite the numerous translations presented. The execution is fairly decent, as it does manage to highlight the pun in a good way, with an underline to boot, as it if were a hyperlink. It also stands out from the usually ornate or landmark-esque destination logos, with a straightforward wordmark. But given the ebullient natural, architectural, and cultural beauty of the Czech Republic it feels like a disservice to present it in such a neutral and aseptic design.