Unfortunately — and I mostly say that because it looks like a beautiful country — the only thing I know about Romania is Gheorghe Hagi, who is a very talented futbol player and I remember fondly rooting for Romania in the 1998 World Cup. They had a great team. And color scheme. But one thing I never realized about Romania was just how green it is with abundant forests, and that’s exactly the new hook that its Ministry of Tourism is going for with a new logo unveiled today during the global event Expo 2010 Shanghai China, where more than 190 countries have gathered to put their best face forward. (We actually have another Expo-launched identity coming on Monday). Romania’s new tourism logo and slogan — “Explore the Carpathian Garden” after the Carpathian mountains at the center of the country — were created by the joint partnership between TNS, a global market research firm and THR, a hospitality consultant.
In a horribly designed presentation available on Issuu, TNS and THR provide some market research in between some hot air, and it turns that more than 40% of people who have visited Romania consider both the Carpathian mountains and the countryside landscapes to be the major attractions. So, the heavily green new logo comes well justified. But the real story of this logo doesn’t lie in its rationalization, concept, or execution…
As it turns out, the Jurassic Park-sized leaf on the logo is royalty-free clip art available at iStockphoto, created by Belgian designer Tom Nulens of Sodafish. In addition, the clip art was already bought once and used by an Irish company called Change Transport as its logo. I’m sure there was nothing in the TNS/THR report that rationalized lazy and unimaginative design. The latest in this saga is that Nulens ceded copyrights over to the Ministry of Tourism.
A shame really, because the lettering for Romania is quite nice on its own. It’s unique, memorable, and even has a nice bounce to it. The circumflex diacritic mark over the “a” is meant to represent the sun, and the leaf, well, leaves, but also a river. A completely unnecessary gesture that would have been better left off. In the end, there is one thing we can all be grateful for and that is one less logo that uses Sand.