The new logo for the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign has been quickly mocked by netizens for its poor design. Designed to look like a postage stamp, the logo carries the tagline "Travel. Enjoy. Respect."
It features an Orang Utan with its arm around a proboscis monkey and a turtle on the beach, as well as the Petronas Twin Towers in the background. According to the press statement, the logo is intended to be a "colourful portrayal" of Malaysia's treasured flora and fauna.
Some netizens however, were unable to share the government's sentiment, and took to Twitter to share their dismay. Many wondered how the logo was approved, commenting that it was "hideous", "embarrassing" and not reflective of the advancements made by Malaysia. Others said the logo was a representation of mediocrity.
Tourism and Culture minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz however defended the logo. He said it was designed by its in-house design department, and was the work of the team that has been in charge of designing all Visit Malaysia Year logos since 1990, reported The Star. In response to the online flak, he said that criticism is normal and the consensus of the whole country cannot be achieved as the logo will otherwise not be completed by 2020. He added that the logo was meant for tourists rather than the locals, and that he trusts his staff members choices.
A+M has since reached out to Tourism Malaysia for more comments.
In a conversation with A+M, Zayn Khan, Southeast Asia CEO of Dragon Rouge said it is a shame that the Ministry did not chose to outsource this to a professional design agency with experience in country and destination branding.
“It's clear that the design is an amalgam of various specific directives that have been provided to the in-house ministry designer. The challenge of the design team, is to take multiple requirements, requests and instructions and boil them down into something essential and to translate that into a single-minded design idea,” he said.
He added that a great design idea will transcend all the tactical requirements, and create something bigger and more inspiring. Moreover, tourism marketing today, has become a fiercely competitive game, and players in this space need a dash of magic to cut through all the clutter. Given that Malaysia seeks to drive visitor numbers from places like China, Australia and Europe with relatively sophisticated travellers, visitors will likely "be turned off by this kind of Visit Malaysia 2020 theme", Khan said.
If you benchmark it against what competitor markets such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong are doing, it's not even in the same league.
“ I would advise the Ministry of Tourism to conduct an exhaustive audit of global destination marketing and set a new benchmark. There are also branding experts with the government of Malaysia ecosystem that the Ministry could tap in to,” he added.
Casey Loh, creative chief of The Clan said the logo is a poor representation of the large pool of talent Malaysia has. "There is nothing salvageable from the design and unfortunately, it’s too late for the authorities to retract the design," he said. Loh added that the new logo reminded him of the fiasco with the 2016 Kuala Lumpur Tourism logo. Despite drawing flak from the public, the individuals who approved the design had to put on a brave face and stand by their decision.
Meanwhile, FCB Kuala Lumpur's chief creative officer Ong Shi Ping described the design as amateur. "However, what sticks out more to me is the fact that it is designed to resemble a stamp, which I think isn’t relevant or forward-thinking in this day and age," he said.
Alternative versions of the logo have been circulating online, with some users commenting that there are talented local graphic designers who would have been able to come up with better designs.
Saw the hideous #VisitMalaysia2020 logo, and can’t help but look around Twitter for others who have created their own versions. Definitely much better.
— Amar Shah (@amarshahello) January 28, 2018
My personal #VisitMalaysia2020 logo because food is LIFE!
acah2 hebat letak watermark but it's okay. Fake it until you make it pic.twitter.com/B37Ym8hhTd
— . (@AizatHamzah) January 28, 2018
— Atiiq Azman (@atiiq_azman) January 28, 2018
Here are some comments circulating online:
@TourismMalaysia , please reconsider the logo design. It does little to reflect the advancement Malaysia has achieve until 2020. @NajibRazak Malaysia has enough talent who can produce world-class product way better than this. Do give them a chance.
— Faiz Wan (@F41zWan) January 28, 2018
Really? This is the best the whole population of Malaysia can come up with? What an absolute disgrace to the nation. The tagline might as well have been: "Unappealing. Underwhelming. Unimpressive." #savemalaysia
— Justin Khoo (@justinkhoo) January 28, 2018
Visit Malaysia 2007 Logo, Malaysia Truly Asia Logo, and KL Sea Games last year are some of the good example of the better example of what Malaysia did in the past. Do have the concious to demand a better product. Lets all start making Malaysian proud with our own country. Please pic.twitter.com/09SwuRTrED
— Faiz Wan (@F41zWan) January 28, 2018
This is utterly embarrassing! I don’t have the foggiest idea as to how this design was chosen, compared to the official logos from other countries. Mind boggling. — ℝin (@evrinne) January 28, 2018
Changed my mind about the Visit Malaysia 2020 logo. It's a perfect representation of Mediocrity. Overcompensation. Insecurity. You know you could be better, so you throw everything + the kitchen sink into the logo to make up for it, but you also can't be arsed to do a good job. — Charis Loke (@charisloke) January 28, 2018
The official #VisitMalaysia2020 tourism logo literally looks like it was made in 10 minutes with microsoft paint. Honestly, of all things to skimp on. Malaysian graphic designers are crying everywhere. I can’t believe the world is going to see this pic.twitter.com/DSmQksx2a2 — Joyce Phung (@joycephung) January 28, 2018
Visit Malaysia 2020 is a crucial development to help the country welcome a total of 36 million tourists and register RM168 billion in tourist receipts by 2020, which is part of the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan goals.
The campaign will be aligned with the World Tourism Organisation's "Travel. Enjoy. Respect" movement launched last August, which encourages tourists to become a catalyst for positive change towards a better future. It also welcomes tourists to experience Malaysia's hospitality and diverse tourist attractions.