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New year, old logo?

Unless you are fresh off the boat or have just landed in the Lion City, you would be familiar with the little red dot plastered everywhere (and I mean, everywhere) in Singapore last year.

Celebrating our 50th birthday last year, the nation adorned a new logo for the celebrations. A little red dot bearing the words SG50 was seen slapped across every brand campaign, event and product imaginable across Singapore.

Now that the celebrations are over, you’d think that was the end of the rather simplistic logo right? Wrong.

(Read also: Have we gone overboard with the SG50 branding? and other SG50 related stories here)

It seems that the little red dot is now going to be part of our DNA. According to the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s (MCCY) SG50 Twitter account, the number ‘50’ has been taken out but the SG red dot will still remain.

Responses for the “new” logo on social media have been mixed – with some begging for a stop to the use of the logo, others expressing the wish for an SG51 logo, and several others loving the simple SG red dot.

So we ask some industry friends what they thought of the government’s choice to carry on with the very  familiar little red dot.

Charlie Cookson, senior strategist of Landor said that often it is easy for critics to “yawn” or “snore” and dislike a seemingly simple logo before any other meaning is imbued.

A logo like a name, is simply a vessel which is filled with meaning through behaviour. Nike is just a tick, Apple is just an apple. But now that the world understands what those businesses stand for through their behaviour, these logos have been taken to be intelligent representations of who they are.

This is no different for the little red dot.

He explained that if one were to think about the origins of the ‘little red dot’ and how it first gained cultural significance when Indonesian President Habibie used it as a dismissal of Singapore, the dot would carry far more weight. The red dot has over the years become a symbol of the defiance of that dismissal and that geographical size does not place any limitations on possibility.

“To me this is hugely powerful and something that Singapore should be proud of,” Cookson added.

Was it necessary to carry it on? No, but in my opinion it was right. Could they have done something more creative? Possibly, but it might have diluted the powerful meaning of the iconic red dot.”

According to Joseph Baladi, managing partner at BrandAsian,  logos should be created for the long run. He said:

Ideally logos should last a long time and not be changed like soiled socks.

He explained the strongest logos are those that visibly reflect some fundamental dimension of the brand- a core value or an enduring, differentiated benefit. Memorability comes from its relevance. Memorability is then reinforced by longevity.

He added that as for the SG logo, the positive point is that it is an iteration of the original effort, which helps create longevity.

“Having said that however, I was not a fan of the original logo. Sometimes simplicity can be overly done. I would have hoped for a visual mnemonic that immediately triggers something unique and special about Singapore beyond a first impression that in some contexts is reminiscent of the flag of Japan,” Baladi said.

Jonathan Bonsey, creative and managing director of Bonsey Design however sat on the other end of the spectrum.

“SG50 was an overwhelming, marathon run of national celebration. And the clean red and white monogramme that represented it was successful primarily because it was so simple,” he said, adding that it was a statement of national identity and as an evolutionary graphic mark.

In Europe, he added, it is common to see the various industries such as automobile flaunt the colours of their places of origin.

” In Singapore we don’t have such a transport mandate but we do have our red dot and I think we should celebrate it from the rooftops. It works. We should use it,”Bonsey added.

 
Rezwana Manjur
Regional Editor
Marketing Magazine Singapore
Rezwana Manjur, a true blue city girl and complete social animal, spends half her time sifting through advertising scandals, and the other half testing out brands' retail marketing strategies at the mall. She enjoys traveling and fantasising over the charming lads on hit TV show Mad Men. Most weekends, she turns nocturnal, except when brunch comes into play.

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