A country on a geographical scale so vast, with landscape so unique it could be its own continent, Russia has fascinated politicians, tourists, academics and many more, for centuries. From revolutions to sporting competitions to paradigmatic architecture to literature, Russia’s 145 million inhabitants and diverse landscape continually offer the world something new.
Yet how to communicate Russia’s seemingly infinite cultural offering to a global audience, while encouraing tourism in lesser-known parts of the region, is an ongoing struggle. With such a variety of regions leading to a mixture of languages and ways of life, a country brand had to be found which encapsulated everything that makes Russia the unique entity it has for so long been considered. Yet, with a new logo representing each of Russia’s unique region and the country’s major points of note, the Russia Tourism board has achieved just this.
The Russia Tourism design is the result of a competition launched in 2015 as a joint enterprise between the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation and the Association of Branding Companies of Russia. Designed as a collaboration between designers Vladimir Lifanov of branding agency Suprematika, Ilya Lazuchenkov and Yegor Mysnik of branding agency Plenum, Denis Schlesberg of branding agency Artonika and Erken Kagarov of Lebedev Studio, the Avant Garde design aims to reflect the Russia known by true Russians. In doing so, it moves away from the clichés which are so often integrated into new country brands. Indeed, where its imagery works to reflect culture on a global scale, the tagline ‘The whole world within Russia’ displays the country’s global credentials.
Despite its seeming complexity, in application the Russia Tourism logo is imminently flexible. Based on the concepts of suprematism, a direction of the Russian avant garde art movement popular in the early 20th century, its colourful block shapes work to fit in whichever influence is necessary. According to the Russia Tourism website, for the purposes of its new country brand, this is mostly reflectives of Russian culture, national cuisine and nature – abundant in the array of landscapes the country harbours. “The graphic solution of the brand is a stylised map of Russia,” says Russia Tourism. “The elements from which it is collected denote the points and territories of our Motherland, conveying its character convincingly and accessible.”
The logo is also influenced by football, particularly pertinent given its imminent hosting of the world cup and the sport’s ability to unite a country often geographically and culturall divided due to its sheer breadth. “In 2018, Russia will host the World Cup in football,” says Russia Tourism’s brand’s website. “For the first time it will cover at once two parts of the world – Europe and Asia. A football event of this magnitude is held by our country for the first time. In 11 Russian cities, new football arenas will be welcomed by fans from all over the world. No doubt, Russia is expecting a big sports festival, which will be remembered for a long time.”
Where Russia’s more European cities, for example Moscow and St Petersburg, are generally considered bastions of culture and democracy and therefore attract tourists in droves, Russia Tourism hope to highlight other, oft-forgotten parts of the great country. This includes subdivisions with a clearly Asiatic influence – regions such as Krasnoyarsk, Sakha and Komi. All offer a uniquely cultural Russian experience; all should benefit from the bold, fearless and heritage-laden Avant Garde identity created by Lifanov, Lazuchenkov, Mysnik, Schlesberg and Kagarov.