Type Talk: Sweden Sans

National anthems, state birds, state trees – flags. These elements are all packaged by design to brand and differentiate one nation, group or state from another – so why not a national typeface?

Enter Sweden Sans. The team of designers at the Soderhavet agency were recently commissioned to design a national identity for the nordic country well known for its design prowess. The typeface that emerged is what you would expect from the Swedes – modern and fresh but with a warm and inviting aspect. Kind of like eating a cinnamon roll in an Eames chair.

The font is straightforward, but with a few simple flourishes. Clearly depicting the aesthetic style we have come to know from Sweden – even if it’s by way of the blue and yellow of Ikea.

Sweden Sans

Courtesy of Soderhavet

The idea of a national identity – in particular a typeface, is truly an interesting one. With regard to branding, we know that a specific type style can powerfully evoke a sentiment and convey a point of view, and the application of these standards to a country, which effectively, is a brand – is no different from packaging a product that will be on store shelves.

While its a viable prospect, the idea of the actual implementation of dedicated typefaces could be as hotly debated as that of a highly visible branding project. Emotions, personalities, egos and finances all go along with the package – leaving the idea of a national branding project as more appropriate for recreational and sentimental use than official business application.