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In 2001, the Presidency of the Nation Argentina requested me the creation of the visual identity of government. Within that job, I designed the version of the Argentine national shield that is still in use.

For doing so, initially I researched on the regulations, which to be honest I had personally to track them in the area of ​​the Executive, because nobody knew about them. The first place I looked for information was at the Home Ministry, which had legally an area supposedly in charge of the use of national symbols. Unfortunately, that direction was far from doing that.

Given this limitation, alternatively I analyzed a dozens other institutions. The largest contributions were supplied to me by the National History Museum, The General Archives of the Nation, The Library of Congress and The Museum of the Casa Rosada.

With all this material, plus my PhD’s fieldwork, then I found certain conclusions.

First, that even today there is a hole in the regulations that designate the national emblem as such, because the last regulation was done by a de facto military government (1944: Farrell). That government decrees as certain a single image for the emblem that for me was designed in 1925 by the author of the guidelines of the decree. However, the model that dictates that decree was not used after, even in the next Presidency. Neither is categorically findable that image, because each of the departments that I visited had their own cliché that claimed as the “real” mentioned.

In order to understand what the legally valid version was, I collected representations of the national state shields used in the years after the decree, to confirming which model was the valid: I found 200 different versions of shields used by later governments.

Second, I meet with the major experts on the subject. This stage of the work was really rich in contributions. In this way, I found that the National History Museum had both the hallmark of the Assembly, and the first emblem version according to the President of the National Academy of History. It is the shield used by the Constituent Assembly of 1813. That piece is also understood by other specialists I interviewed as the first official version of the shield. A small wooden shield painted in oil. Then I used its drawing as a reference.

About the Argentine shield itself; you can see that it is the result of the integration of Spanish culture, the influence of the shield of the City of Buenos Aires and images produced by the French Revolution.

Thus, both the laurel and the sun are external attributes that have replaced the royal necklaces and orders, being the heraldic expression of laurels the glory, triumph and victory. The sun, as the symbol of life and power. In addition, hands held account reconciliation and alliance, union and fidelity. The red cap is a symbol of freed Roman slave and sustained by the pike becomes an emblem of freedom and political redemption.

However, the historical reproduction of the national emblem, clearly illustrates how different governments tried to project their own vision of it, mainly using the emblem as a media of significance. More information can be found in my thesis: www.designingnationality.com

From this map of the elements of the shield, I began to project the current version, which pursuit to represent the ideal values ​​present in the constitution.

So, among other adjustments, the graphic adjustment to the drawing of the emblem gives it a better (digital) technical reproduction of it, without altering its content. Just as the law decrees, but modifying aspects of representation that the law does not delimit, such as the containing and not aggressive expression of the sun, the hierarchy of the hands which hold above the exterior attributes and a slight variation of the skin colour in the arms, so that the State takes into account the ethnic constitutive diversity of any nation.

When I finished designing the current graphical version of the shield, Presidency sent my designs to the Legal Secretariat to see if the design conformed to the rules. I did then some corrections and then began to systematize their application.

Around this time I walked away from the government.

Eventually I saw that the Duhalde administration takes my coat and identity version, as well as Kirchner unified all areas of the public sector with my graphic system, even coming today to be in the new notes.

This is the little story. When I presented my design I recommended that the Congress should have to discuss a version of the shield and I offered my free advice on the subject, but there was no response. At that time it was the end of a government and the formal issue was forgotten.

As for my personal assessment, it was an honour to contribute in something so important.

 

Sebastian Guerrini

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