What Do Creative Professionals Think About The 'Visit Malaysia 2020' Logo? We Ask Them!

Plus, they teach us about good logo design.

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What Do Creative Professionals Think About The 'Visit Malaysia 2020' Logo? We Ask Them!
By now, all of you have might have seen the infamous ‘Visit Malaysia Year 2020’ logo and probably formed your own opinions about it.

For those living under the rock, (no pun intended), the multi-coloured emblem created an uproar among netizens for leaning towards the amateur side.

Designed to look like a postage stamp, the logo - which carried the tagline ‘Travel. Enjoy. Respect’ - features a cartoon of an Orang Utan in sunglasses hugging a proboscis monkey, a silhouette of the Petronas Twin Towers and a turtle (which is also wearing sunglasses, by the way) on a beach.

So many colours!
However, the logo that is intended to be a colourful portrayal of Malaysia’s treasured flora and fauna, was quick to draw flak from netizens who collectively agreed that the design was not up to standard.

The negative response was so overwhelming that an online petition called ‘Stop Tourism Malaysia from implementing the Visit Malaysia 2020 logo’ was started on and has amassed over 10,000 signatures in less than a week.

In fact, many creative minds went on to design their own versions and posted them online to show how it could have been done better.

The logo is not for Malaysians, says Tourism Minister.
Despite the public outcry, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz defended the logo, which was launched at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 at Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre last week.

Nazri has said that he trusted the judgement of the ministry’s in-house design department, which came up with the logo, and would not change it

We've heard what the netizens had to say, but what do the real professionals think about it?
Rojak Daily tapped into the minds of professionals in the field of arts and designs to get their insights on the logo.

A logo is just like your own name

Nadzrin Zariffuddin, Creative Director and Brand Consultant of Graphic LAB Malaysia, said a logo is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol used to aid and promote public recognition and it is the core identity of an organisation, event or individual.

“It's just like your own name. Your name is your brand identity. Do you want your name to be a joke or even ridiculed by the public? No, right? The same goes to logos. In the case of the ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ logo, it is an identity of our country!” he said.

Treat a logo like it's your name, says Nadzrin Zariffuddin.
Nadzrin explained that there are five basic principles for logo designs.

“A logo should have five basic principles: simplememorable, versatileappropriate and timeless. I didn't see any of the basic principle in the ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ logo. If your logo looks amateurish, how will your business be?” he explained.

Nadzrin said a good logo design allows for easy recognition and that in turn will make it versatile and memorable. 

“Good logos feature something unique without being overdrawn. Following closely behind the principle of simplicity, is memorability.

"An effective logo design should be memorable and this is achieved by having a simple, yet, appropriate logo. An effective logo should be able to work across a variety of mediums and applications."

A good logo should be simple and memorable.
Another important aspect of good logo design, according to Nadzrin, is that it should be functional.

“For this reason, a logo should be designed in vector format, to ensure that it can be scaled to any size. The logo should be able to work both in horizontal and vertical formats. It is also important to state that a logo doesn’t necessarily need to show what a business sells or offers as a service.

“For example, car logos don’t need to show cars, computer logos don’t need to show computers and so on,” he explained.

Graphic LAB Malaysia's jest of the logo.
Nadzrin said when it comes to the ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ logo, there are just too many "wrongs and designing errors".

“Firstly, the logo has too many colours, making it inconvenient to be placed in various mediums or printing applications. Creative people should familiarise themselves with the commercial printing processes so as not to face printing problems further down the track.

"Learn to know the difference between the CMYK, Pantone and RGB colour systems. When designing logos, the Pantone colour system is recommended. A good logo design should only contain between two to four colours at most, depending on the client’s business niche,” he explained.

Learn your colours, says Nadzrin.
Nadzrin said that the logo also has an unbalanced shape has inappropriate design elements and the design itself is unattractive.

The biggest cliché in this logo is the ‘stamp outline’, which is the ultimate way to play it safe. When it has an outline, it has been categorised as the emblem logo type. The arrangement of each element in the logo is very irregular and makes it difficult to understand. The message is not clear.

“The design is inappropriate because there are elements that should not be in this logo. What in the world the significance of animals wearing shades? To promote that our country is hot? Or just to be fashionable when you visit Malaysia? 

"This embarrassing element will have a huge negative impact on the graphics industry of our country in the future,” he explained.

Strip all the unnecessary stuff.
Nadzrin said even though the logo is amateur, there are certain ways to make it better.

“Hire professional firms or designers to redesign the current logo. Remove all non-compliant elements. Reduce the use of colour and increase the intensity of the muted colours.

“Leave the well-saturated colours alone. The minimalist concept is the new sexy. Make it minimal yet deliverable and understandable. Follow all the five basic principles and the result will be very unique and interesting. 

“More than anything, know what the logo means. Every logo has some kind of a history, filled with meanings and purposes. It’s important to have a balanced combination of simplicity and quirkiness. You want your logo to be interesting, but you don’t want someone to have to sit and stare, analysing the logo." 

A good logo has to be functional as well.
And this is where function comes into play, Nadzrin stressed.

“In this digital age, where logos will appear on multiple devices and across social media, you must design something that transcends paper. It must look great on different backgrounds, work for apps, icons, avatars and print. It must be flexible in size.

"Take adidas, a brand that incorporates the same motif of the infamous three parallel bars in all of its designs. The visual might change depending on where you see it, but it always contains similar components,” he explained.

Poor representation of Malaysian talents

VJ Anand, Executive Creative Director from one of the top creative agencies in Malaysia, said the logo is a poor representation of the creative minds and talents in Malaysia.

“Malaysia has tones of talented designers. Just go to the creative site and you will find some of the most talented local designers and branding experts in the world on it.

"It's a pity that our government does not engage with such talents and the right creative community. They should give the job to the people who really deserve it,” he said.

Malaysian talents going to waste, says VJ Anand.
VJ said the ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ logo is so bad that it looks like it is made up of a few logos.

“The font has been distorted in so many ways. No one is sure why one of the Petronas twin towers has a fading gradient. What does it even mean? Is one of the towers disappearing or what?

“A good logo is usually something that is simple and elegant. It should be easy on the eyes. This one hurts your eyes and your brain,” he said in a jest.

VJ opined that there is nothing salvageable in the logo and nothing can make it better.

“Don’t even think of improving it. The logo is such a mess that the best way to make it better is to simply design a new one.

“In design school, they teach you to be your own worst critic and always tear the work up if you can to make it better. I firmly believe in this as well.

"This kind of work should not even make it to the first round of approval in college design projects, what more in a design firm or a branding agency,” he said.

Probably a last minute work

Rubinden Kumar Balbir Singh, a graphic and digital designer who is currently pursuing his Masters in Melbourne, received a rude shock when he saw the ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’ logo flooding his social media timeline.

Rubinden, who has seven years of experience in designing, said the logo looks amateur because it was probably designed by those who lack experience in designing logos.

Rubinden feels the logo was a last minute work.
“The designer the ministry chose to design the logo might not even be a proper designer, which explained the grooving Orang Utans, turtle and Twin Towers. They used too many elements in the logo, which makes the logo presentation uncomfortable and not pleasing to the eyes.

“I think there was not much research done in the logo concepts before finalising it. I can see that this was done at the last minute, before being launched,” he opined.

Rubinden was also quick to jump on the bandwagon of coming up with his own versions of the logo, to show how it should have been done.

His concept is simply Malaysia’s open house culture, featuring an open door.

Rubinden came up with his own design.
Rubinden said a good logo should only be two things - bold and simple.

“Why it should be bold and simple? For legibility purposes, especially when it comes to print material and digital use. A good logo needs to be tested on monochrome colours and grey options.

“Characteristics of the brand and what they stand for needs to tally with the concept and the audience. It should be easy to replicate.

"Clarity is also the key of designing a good logo. The logo should be able to be seen from a distance. There should not be more than three colours in a good logo. A good logo should also have consistent font,” he explained.

ALSO READ: How Does Our 'Visit Malaysia 2020' Logo Compare With Those From Other Countries?

Rubinden said designers who want create to logos should not always stick to the client’s brief.

“Don’t always stick to the client’s brief alone. Breaking away from the client’s brief will give you other, perhaps better, creative options. Do more research by looking at the latest design practise.

“Close the laptop and maybe go for a walk to get some inspiration. Jot down whatever ideas that pop out and practice sketching,” he explained.

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