What This Country Needs. . .

“What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar,” said Thomas Marshall, Woodrow Wilson’s vice president. What it certainly doesn’t need is to be branded like every major and minor corporation. Yet that’s exactly what the brand giant FutureBrand is offering through the Brand America Student Contest, a competition that asks young designers to rebrand the red, white, and blue. For what purpose? The promotion reads:

“Countries are brands, by design or default. A country brand can be a generic label or can become the compelling symbol of pride. When properly conceived and executed, it can elevate a country, focus its tourist offering, fuel its investment opportunities, rally its citizens, and reframe its reputation.”

     That’s all well and good, but does America need more signs and symbols? Or a more effective foreign and domestic policy? Brand America suggests that a brand bandaid (BrandAid) can cure the current economic and political woes. And what is the prize? “Fame and glory,” say the organizers. The winner and selected finalists will receive $1000 and a paid internship. Doesn’t that seem a rather paltry sum for getting America back on its feet?

(Editor’s note: if you missed yesterday’s DH due to technical problems, click here)

Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.