Info for Rights-holders

If you are reading this page, it is likely that a mark you own or a mark you designed is described in the NBN catalogue. You may have a question or two. This guide will help you understand why it is here, who we are, as well as the options to exercise a right that the NBN project makes available as a courtesy to content creators.

About NBN

NationBrandingNow (we truncate it to NBN for brevity on the page) is, as the name suggests, a survey of visual assets used to construct and refine jurisdictional visual identity. Our target audiences are in brand management, graphic arts, or the social sciences (i.e., people just like you) and our editors hail from the same fields.

The NBN project is an endeavour intended as a service to professionals and to the public. We are not explicitly affiliated with any government or creative agency. We believe state branding is an important practice with a legitimate and growing research interest that, particularly on the web, suffers from the at-times dubious quality of resources available. It is the position of the NBN project that it ranges from profoundly sub-optimal to impossible to describe a visual identity without incorporating marks and visual assets, some of which may be protected, isolated in nominal display only where relevant to description or discussion of that visual identity. We do not sell a competing product. We take measures to avoid any possibility of mark dilution or confusion related to IP. We pride ourselves on offering an environment that privileges brand safety and respect for the creative community.

In fact, this project was born out of a deep frustration with the behaviour of substitute products, some of which:

  • Dilute brand integrity by watermarking or otherwise altering your mark for their own proprietary display
  • Lack or present wildly inaccurate metadata, leading to systematic error or omission in attribution
  • Scrape content in an automated fashion, accept anonymous submissions, or otherwise build a non-authoritative corpus
  • Sell products or display advertisements you do not endorse in close proximity to your mark
  • Offer comments sections of questionable or no moderation alongside marks
  • Have thin documentation and opacity around the decisions they take and editorial team (if any) behind the service
  • Format and display low-resolution or distorted versions of marks to the detriment of fidelity and legibility
  • Place non-free third-party content behind their own paywalls for personal enrichment

We are not – and do not want to be – duplicative of shady symbols catalogues, open wikis, or anonymous document sharing portals. Review the subsequent section to understand the advantages of the NBN project.

Why trust NBN?

NBN recognizes that state marks are special, and we do some things differently.

Best-available public information

An NBN entry is based upon the best-available public information sourced by the project. This means we do not source and do not accept anything unpublished, short of being directly offered to the project by a competent, rights-possessing authority. If it is showing up here, it is content that was made public-facing at some point in time and judged to be the most reasonably authoritative of those among the literature reviewed by the editorial direction. Marks which are e.g., un-gazetted, not submitted for legal deposit, not discussed in the trade press, or only available on intranets do not fit within the ambit of what we describe, and your proprietary content remains proprietary.

Protecting brand value

NBN acknowledges that your mark is an asset with value maintained through zealous control. Our raison d’être is, in fact, describing how that creative control process constructs and promotes state distinctiveness. It is for this reason that we take great pains to avoid behaviour which some feel may harm or dilute that value:

  • We never alter a visual asset with our own watermarks
  • We never display assets at a sub-optimal resolution
  • We never place marks in lockup with potential competitors
  • …in fact, we never take any action which could result in an implied affiliation or endorsement
  • We make every effort to respect clearspace and all other formatting guidelines made available

We are not an opaque, fly-by-night download service, and we are not a disorganized public wiki. We are a known custodian and trustable party in simultaneously upholding both visibility and quality of a public brand.

Practising and encouraging respect

NBN lives by a truth claim that good information will eventually push out bad, if someone cares to make it. We intend to be a tonic to the vagaries of fake news, gainful opportunism, and widespread diffusion of inaccurate or otherwise harmful visual assets across the web. Respect for content and creators is a value the project lives by and hopes to encourage in its readers. Source-drafted use guidelines constitute the very height of best-available public information, and they are given privileged positions in the project to facilitate and promote adherence. We are transparent in our sourcing and rigorous in record-keeping. We strive to keep, to the extent possible, everything properly versioned, dated, and attributed. As a project conceived in response to a fault of respect and responsibility, this is a matter on which NBN has particular sensitivity.

What are my options?

NBN prides itself on maintaining cordial relations with the graphic arts community and providing more service than the law requires. We have been around since 2017, and our mission is to foster a culture of visual literacy and respect. If you hold a right to something described in the NBN catalogue and wish to exercise control over that entry, there are a few avenues down which you may proceed.

File an amendment

There are times that our professional judgement is off-the-mark. A policy of best-available public information does, naturally, lead to an informational asymmetry in favour of those with direct knowledge. If something is incomplete or incorrect, we feel it benefits the rights-holder, benefits their brand, benefits the project, and benefits our readers to work together towards a more correct and complete entry.

If, for example:

  • Biographical data is insufficient
  • Clearspace is inadvertently violated
  • A colour value is incorrect
  • You wish to provide specific language or supplemental documentation

You may benefit from filing an amendment. An amendment is a special type of form which will be, upon filling and filing, treated as generation of a citeable, primary-source document from an authority with direct knowledge. For our purposes, it will over-ride and become the best-available public information for a particular entry. A copy of the PDF will be made available on the relevant entry page(s), such that there is a record of the change. The form is in the English language, but you may fill it or submit attachments in whatever language you wish.

It is a bit of work to fill out a form. NBN offers this option as it both shows deferential respect to the intent and ideas of creators and generates a bit of best-available information for our readers. But it is not everyone’s idea of a fun way to spend five minutes, and is certainly not a requirement.

You can also just e-mail us.

This is particularly valuable for a quick or superficial change. Your text – and particularly text of the change you request (that is, after all, the entire point) – may be quoted in an entry, but the full-text version of what you write is non-public. To assist in attribution, we may also disclose your name, affiliated agency or institution, and the city in which that agency or institution is domiciled.

File a takedown

As discussed, it is the position of NBN that it is not possible to provide our site without display of visual assets in a limited, defensible, expressive manner. We feel that removal harms the project, diverts people to dubious alternative sources, and is of uncertain brand upside. But your mark is absolutely your own. Ill-will among communications professionals is absolutely not what this project is about. If you do not wish to be included in our catalogue, please provide notice.

Here is the relevant form. We strongly prefer – for the benefit of our records and yours – to maintain this process through standardized documents, though your own quick note will also suffice.

Talk to our team

This service is here for you: To inform the decisions you take, for your private use and enjoyment as someone who is likely (like us) a total nerd about this stuff, and to celebrate what you do. Perhaps you have a comment or request[1] that is non-standard. We will listen:

contact coordinates

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[1] We graciously accept love notes, as well!

Page instantiated: 20 August 2019.
Date of last revision: 20 August 2019.