I always have a hard time introducing countries or cities, especially ones I haven’t visited, so I’ll go with Lonely Planet’s description: “Paraguay is a country of remarkable contrasts: it’s rustic and sophisticated; it’s extremely poor and obscenely wealthy; it boasts exotic natural reserves and massive human-made dams; it is a place where horses and carts pull up alongside Mercedes-Benz vehicles, artisans’ workshops abut glitzy shopping centers, and Jesuit ruins in rural villages lie just a few kilometers from sophisticated colonial towns. The steamy subtropical Atlantic Forest of the east is a stark contrast to the dry, spiny wilderness of the Chaco, the location of the isolated Mennonite colonies.” At the end of March, Paraguay introduced its first country brand, designed by Asunción, Paraguay-based Kausa in collaboration with UMA — who appear to be the ones who did the actual design work while Kausa led the overall effort — and Bloom Consulting.
The central idea of the Paraguayan Brand is focused on “an economically fertile country”. The research carried out in the initial phase of the Paraguay Country Brand project revealed that Paraguay is a place where everything grows naturally, from an economic, political, legislative, natural and social point of view. With this in mind, three vectors were defined to develop the country’s economic fertility: “Growth”, “Wealth” and “Opportunity”. Each of these vectors are composed of six different variables that, together, constitute the economic fertility of the country.
The Paraguay Brand logo reflects the central idea of the brand of “an economically fertile country”. The symbol represents three elements:
These three elements create a multidimensional logo that incorporates several characteristics of the country’s fertile economy: the flower represents growth, the sun represents wealth, and gear the opportunities offered by Paraguay.
The positioning for country brands or any brand in general are usually a bit eye-roll-y but I think this one — “an economically fertile country” — was quite interesting and a smart way to allude to the economy and the country’s natural beauty. It also paves the way nicely for the icon which, even without the graphic explanation, comes across as a flower while the blocky elements make it feel industrious. I like the explanation too of blending a flower, sun, and gear that manages to result in an attractive icon that somehow does feel South American. Online, some have complained it looks too much like Ecuador’s which, maybe, yeah, but I doubt they set out to copy them, and Paraguay’s is much stronger as a logo. Unfortunately it has been paired with a very amateurish wordmark of forced geometry that even if it were done right makes it look more like a chain of children’s daycare centers than a country brand. While it sort of works in full color, the wordmark becomes truly hideous in single-color application and, when reduced, it’s even worse with super heavy blotches in all the characters where the circle meets the stick. To end on a nice note, I like how the single-color version separates the squares that touch in the icon.
The identity introduces a series of icons that do a great job in visualizing the many positive aspects, even the abstract ones like “growth”, of Paraguay. These are borderline good and bad… they are attractive and they come together great in composition and animation but, like the wordmark, I think they are far too playful and “basic” to represent a country. If these were overall less cute, they would be really great.
The applications are good and well done but all the cons I have mentioned about the wordmark and illustrations trickle down (or more like bubble up) to the applications where they lack some gravitas — the banners sort of get to what this identity should feel like. It would also be beneficial to see how this identity applies to photographs… that could provide an interesting way to temper the playfulness of the iconography which seems to be the only card they are playing. Overall, this is a good start and even with that wonky wordmark — or perhaps because of the wonky wordmark — this has the potential to be easily and widely recognizable as a symbol for Paraguay.
Thanks to Brandemia for the tip.