The events of the past couple of weeks in Egypt have put the country in the global headlines. Watching   cable TV news of  the protests in Cairo and seeing the Egyptian flag gave us pause to consider the most visible symbols of a nation’s identity, in essence, its brand.

The flag is arguably the most explicit, representative and officially symbolic expression of the brand. Egypt’s flag, at a glance and a distance, seems rather conventional and unoriginal.

But look closely and you’ll see it has an understated elegance defined by a single graphical feature: the golden bird in the middle of its white horizontal strip.

Without the winged icon, the flag is otherwise a ho-hum tri-color that could be easily mistaken for that of several other Middle-Eastern Arabic nations that employ fields of red and black in combination with a a national symbol.