I don’t have to explain Australia but it’s worth noting that this is a new, top-level nation brand, not specifically a tourism or economic development one but an Australia-as-a-whole one. This effort has been spearheaded by the Nation Brand Advisory Council, “formed in June 2018, includes twelve of Australia’s most influential leaders from diverse industries. The Advisory Council has a strategic advisory and advocacy role. The Council has met eight times from June 2018 to October 2019 and were also supported by the Brand Expert Working Group to ensure that Australia’s Nation Brand was designed by industry for industry. Australia’s Nation Brand Advisory Council led this initiative. The Council is committed to providing ongoing advocacy for the adoption of Australia’s Nation Brand, either in the organisations they lead or the influence they carry in their industry or community. The Council members, together with other leaders of small, medium and large internationally-facing Australian businesses, stand ready to support the adoption of the Nation Brand in various ways.”
Clemenger BBDO (Sydney, Australia)
Images (opinion after)
I am marking this logo as “New” instead of “Before/After” because my understanding is that this is a whole new category of brand. A lot of news outlets are positioning this as a story where the Australian Made logo is being replaced but I am pretty sure that is staying. The Australia Unlimited logo, I am not quite sure, I think that may be going away but this new logo isn’t a direct replacement of it. In contrast to those two logos and so many other Australian logos, the nation brand logo avoids using a kangaroo or the shape of the country which is quite commendable and smart as it’s a way of moving beyond the visual stereotypes but that’s where the praise ends. The new logo is an abstraction of a golden wattle, Australia’s national flower, in what they are calling a “contemporary, pan-indigenous design”. Being an outsider I am not at all equipped to decide how appropriate or representative the design is as a pan-indigenous representation but, as an outsider and presumably the target audience, this is not very inviting. It doesn’t look like a flower and it doesn’t have any of the fun, vibrant fluffiness seen in the Google Image Search results (linked above). It looks like a complex data visualization or, worse, like everyone’s least favorite image at the moment, the Coronavirus blob. The sterile “AU” in the center is poorly resolved with a stroke around it separating it from the wattle in such a clunky way. The wordmark is fine, I guess, but also amazingly dry and generic — the lone flair of the “R” meant to look like a kangaroo tail comes across almost as a mistake as it has no relation or harmony with anything else whatsoever. The alternate versions with the wordmark in the wattle are not good at all and the first one, with the wordmark in white and an invisible green box behind it, looks downright lazy. The “wattle glow”* perhaps has some potential but the gold color makes everything look like a fashion ad… and speaking of color, I would have definitely preferred the livelier yellow and green colors more commonly associated with Australia instead of these two dull colors. Overall, not a very good first impression and mostly disappointing given how much talent there is in Australia that this could have been such a landmark project if the design were more engaging or at least better executed.
* [Edit] The image where the “wattle glow” could be seen had to be removed as the sample images used were not licensed for public use. It was brought to my attention that the document with the design was leaked and not meant for publication.
Thanks to Dr Chris Rudge for the tip.