During one of my recent destination branding presentations in Australia I made the point that during the brand planning process, logos and taglines soak up way too much attention and energy. At the end of the session, a participant approached me with a very challenging question. She asked, “What do you consider to be the most influential destination logo ever created”. After a minute, I asked if I could have two choices. My first was the iconic “I Love NY” design, and the other was Spain’s sun logo designed by Joan Miro, one of Spain’s greatest artists.
I have blogged about the iconic New York heart logo many times and it is often referred to in the media. It has probably been the most influential. The Spanish logo has not received a lot of attention in recent times. It has a very interesting history. It was introduced in 1984, just seven years after General Franco died, and at a time when Spain was incorrectly still associated with repression and violence. Spain was attempting to reshape its self-identity and reposition itself as a welcoming destination. Miro’s brief comprised a short conversation with a government minister. Miro immediately understood the brief and responded with his now iconic red, black and yellow sun. He refused payment, proclaiming that the design was “for the King and the new government”.
Importantly, the logo not only quickly achieved its goal of being strongly associated with Spain, but also successfully engendered a sense of pride among Spaniards and has held pride of place for thirty years in many successful branding and marketing initiatives beyond tourism.
I guess the lesson here is that famous citizens can sometimes boost a national brand beyond making personal appearances and lending their celebrity, but by using their artistic brilliance to provide a timeless, unifying icon.
What do you think is most influential destination logo ever created?