Established as an independent country in 1918, Lithuania — Lietuva in Lithuanian — lies in Northern Europe along the coast of the Baltic Sea. Rather than try to describe it poorly in a short paragraph, your best course of action will be to Wikipedia it. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because I’m plagiarizing my own introduction from this post and sometimes there is no point in reinventing the wheel.) That project was also designed by Vilnius, Lithuania-based New! who have now designed the new identity for the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism, introduced last November.
The focus of the visual representation of the tourism brand of Lithuania is a postage stamp. The logo typeface resembles lively, growing tree branches and is contained within a pastel mint symbol of a postage stamp.
The old logo tried to awkwardly (and unsuccessfully) fit the name of the country into the shape of it through a combination of forced ligatures and jumbled trapezoids. Not a good look. The new logo emphasizes the nature aspect of the country… the roller coaster wordmark is meant to represent tree branches but I mostly saw a mountain range. Google-ing “Lithuania Mountains” does show there are mountains there so either tree branches or mountains work as an interpretation. (Edit: I’ve been informed there are NO mountains in Lithuania). The wordmark is attractive from afar with an interesting rhythm to it but then starts to feel clunky upon closer inspection, particularly the “H” and “N”. What kills it for me is the postage stamp motif (more on that below) that makes it feel too corny.
The new slogan and positioning is supported by the visual identity, at the centre of which is a postage stamp. A reminder of those sweet shivers we get when we receive a postcard from afar. To make our message even clearer, we’ve created additional stamps. Each one identifies a specific aspect of tourism, whether it’s nature, culture, food, outdoor activities or meeting local people.
I can see the attraction to the postage stamp idea and the identity almost pulls it off in an interesting way but it falls short in the end, mostly due to the overly contemporary, Dribbble-esque vector illustrations that don’t speak to the history or any folkloric style unique to Lithuania. Unfortunately, it’s also a concept that could apply to any destination and is as unique to Lithuania as peanut butter is to jelly.
The applications do manage to make the concept work and with a little less stringent point of view — from, say, a tourist who just wants to visit a cool place, instead of a design blogger who just wants his opinion heard :P — this is a relatively charming, attractive, and colorful way to present Lithuania and does so definitely in a more meaningful way than the old logo could have.
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.