Bhutan has developed a new national brand identity as it reopens to visitors after more than two years. With help from London-based branding agency MMBP & Associates, the new graphic identity draws on vibrant yellow and orange colours from the Bhutanese flag along with traditional Bhutanese iconography such as hand-painted architectural decoration, mythical animals, folklore and symbolism.
The rest of the colour palette is said to be inspired from nature, including the green of cypress forests that cover 70% of the country, the blue of Bhutan’s national flower, the Himalayan blue poppy, and a soft black inspired by natural soot from the home fires from hearths throughout the kingdom.
The branding team involved says it spoke to hundreds of people "from Thimphu to Lunana, Punakha and Bumthang to Radi." The goal was to create a "contemporary interpretation of the country’s heritage that would offer a pathway towards the future," conveying "the rich tapestry of Bhutan's living culture, which seamlessly weaves together the ancient, the contemporary, and the visionary.
“Working closely with the Kingdom of Bhutan to create its new national brand has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and for our team," said Julien Beaupre Ste-Marie, managing director of MMBP & Associates. "We are one piece of the puzzle in a much larger era of transformation—it truly feels like history in the making. The learnings we made working alongside such an inspired group of Bhutanese people and international stakeholders will influence how we work for years to come. Similarly, as the world wakes up to the damaging effects of unrestricted mass tourism and tries to find ways to mitigate climate change, this small and mighty country has many lessons to share with the world. Our hope is that our work and this brand helps to carry this vision forward.”
The brand identity will soon be rolled out across government organisations, official websites, National Day celebrations, and even a new postage stamp. But has already been used across the tourism sector as Bhutan reopened its borders on September 23, 2022 with a new tourism strategy that the branding builds on.
Long practising a policy of ‘high value, low volume’ tourism to protect and preserve its wilderness and sacred places Bhutan has introduced new policies and plans that invest in creating sustainable opportunities for its young people. The most notable change is an increase in the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) for tourists, a daily fee supporting a range of social, environmental and cultural initiatives.
“We are so excited that our tourism reopening is timed together with the launch of the new nation brand," said Dorji Dhradhul, director general of the Tourism Council of Bhutan. "Inspired by our new brand, and with a renewed focus on our time-tested high value low volume approach to tourism, we aim to offer an elevated experience to all guests who visit Bhutan, while at the same time creating well-paying and professional jobs for our citizens. We like to believe that Bhutan can offer that space and place for guests to reconnect with themselves, with Bhutanese people, and with the world at large. We are happy to welcome you to experience – Bhutan Believe!”
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