AZERBAIJAN is a branding and app development project for the country Azerbaijan. At first, it started
as a passion project, because I believed current country branding didn't resonated well with people. I
posted the first visuals and the goal that I wanted to achieve with this project, in the first
day of posting it, this project just sky-rocketed in our community and everyone wanted to
talk about it. I had a few meetings with leading local designers and after their encouragement,
I prepared the MVP of the project and presented it to the Ministry of Youth and Tourism.
The current brand of the country is static and doesn't show the traditions and history behind the brand. My main goal with this project was to bring out all the history and interesting facts about the country and customize it for each city, even for each village. First, the project started as a design project and all the aspect was on spot, but I wanted to achieve something more with it. I wanted to make people, locals to take part in building the whole brand. Because locals know their city's, village's history and facts better than anyone else and it would be not right for me to design the brand just based on my research and thoughts.
I traveled through the country to research different regions, traditions and was fascinated by how different age groups think different of the same place, each of them with their own unique story. This conducted research and interviews helped a lot to understand the direction of the project.
From the interviews, I had a lot of stories and information about the places and they
were different, so I wasn't sure what is the best way to unite them under one visual
style but still tell the original stories. At that point, I started to think about
what was the one element that connects all of the stories, keeps them unique and
tells the general history of the country.
That element was carpet. We have a thousand years of history connected with carpets, as it was one of the biggest profession in our country. The concept was to have for each region a set of eight icons that describes it and cover it with carpet border. As our carpets have a variety of patterns on it, the idea of having icons as patterns would be familiar and close to the people.
A bold and minimalistic approach for the icons kept everything tight and visually pleasing and gave them the ability to tell descriptive history/facts about that place.
The idea behind the app was to give people change to build icons for the regions by
themselves, as they are the ones who know these places the best. In the icon builder,
you can find a set of ready assets that you can easily connect to create new stories
or even draw your own. The main limits were the space and stroke width, as I believed
icons need to stay minimalistic and descriptive to have a fluent language to speak
between all age groups and regions.
As I was developing and enhancing User Experience and UI, I decided to make it as a platform, not just for icon building, but also as a community website of the country. Where events can be held, stories can be told and everyone can show their icons and facts about their home. People can choose their favorite icons and the best ones become the official representation for the region. By doing this we create a better brand that resonates with people, as the designers are the people themselves.
Update: Due to governmental changes project has been paused for a while until it will be presented again to the Ministry of Tourism & Youth.