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Debate over new Australian logo of gold wattle but no kangaroo

Christopher Harris, July 2, 2020 8:45AM The Daily Telegraph

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The gold wattle logo to promote Australia. media_cameraThe gold wattle logo to promote Australia.

civics

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A new logo developed to promote Australia to the world has been criticised as confusing by advertising experts who say the wattle design looks more like a luxury perfume label than an official national logo.

A kangaroo design was rejected in favour of an abstract* gold wattle design in a report by ­Australia’s Nation Brand ­Advisory Council and accepted by Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.

Supplied Editorial media_cameraThe familiar Australian Made logo. Some people believe that the new logo should also have featured a kangaroo.

Several versions of the new logo will be made available to be used by business, industry and government agencies, replacing the current one with two orange boomerangs that form a rough outline of Australia.

The council of business and cultural leaders said in their report the kangaroo only emphasised what foreigners already knew about Australia, while we should be pushing our other lesser known assets like technology and education.

But University of Canberra brand expert Adjunct Professor Dr Petra Bouvain said the wattle logo was too abstract and looked like generic* luxury perfume labelling that could have come from ­anywhere.

“It needs to be clear what it is, to me it looks like expensive gifts, like a new perfume, it doesn’t look like business to me,” she said.

“I have a PhD*, two other degrees and I work in mar­keting — if it is a wattle, you could have locked me up for a week and I would not have guessed it was a wattle.”

She also said the new “only in Australia” tagline* was misguided because gold could be found elsewhere in the world, as could wattle, which also grows in Europe.

“The AU (lettering) doesn’t make it clear it is Australia … people could mistake it with Austria.

“Lots of the stuff we sell, you can get from a whole lot of other countries. Gold comes from other countries, wattles grow in other countries, it doesn’t make sense.”

Advertising expert Dee Madigan gave the new wattle logo the tick of approval ­because she said the kang­aroo had been overused.

“Anytime I see the kangaroo on any piece of Australian stuff I feel like it is made in China, it has been appropriated* by the kind of cheap tourist stuff which usually is made in China (so) it has been devalued* as a logo,” she said.

UNDATED : Australian Coat of Arms in undated image, featuring kangaroo (L) & emu. Animal / Bird Australia / Emblem / Logo / Political media_cameraAustralian coat of arms featuring kangaroo, emu and wattle. It is used to show that something belongs to or is related to the Australian government, such as buildings or an Australian passport.

In a Daily Telegraph reader poll of almost 7000 respondents*, 96 per cent said they preferred the kangaroo over the new logo.

One said it looked more like a dandelion than wattle while many were quick to note the unfortunate resemblance* of the new logo with the coronavirus molecule.

“I don’t see wattle at all, I see some gold dots. And as for the AU, everyone in Europe will think of Austria,” one reader wrote.

“$10m for that? It could have been done online for $10. It’s awful, uninspiring, and (reeks*) of someone wanting change to make a name for themselves,” another reader said.

The new streamlined kangaroo logo adorns the tail of a Qantas Boeing 767 (front) as a Qantas Boeing 737 (back) featuring the now superceded logo taxis past during the official unveiling of the new Qantas livery at Sydney Airport, 24 July 2007. The original kangaroo symbol, adapted from the Australian one penny coin, was first painted beneath the cockpit of a Qantas Airways Liberator aircraft in 1944 before wings were added in a 1947 redesign.  AFP PHOTO/Torsten BLACKWOOD media_cameraTwo versions of the Qantas flying kangaroo logo. The one on the 737 at the back was superseded in 2007. Some people believe the kangaroo is overused in branding. Picture: AFP

GLOSSARY

  • abstract: doesn’t attempt to be realistic but represents an idea
  • generic: standard, could apply to lots of things
  • PhD: a doctorate, a university research qualification
  • tagline: short slogan or phrase to go with a logo or photo
  • appropriated: taken for themselves
  • devalued: lost value
  • respondents: people who responded
  • resemblance: similar to or reminds you of
  • reeks: smells really strongly; used to mean strongly suggests

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Which animal was considered instead of the wattle?
  2. Describe the logo the gold wattle logo will replace?
  3. What sort of product does Petra Bouvain think the wattle is advertising?
  4. Does Dee Madigan like the wattle logo? What is she an expert at?
  5. What country could some people think AU stands for?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Design the Logo
Can you design a better logo? Create a logo that you think will promote Australia to the rest of the world. Write a design statement that explains the choices you have made in your design.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Communication Design

2. Extension
Imagine you are Simon Birmingham, our Trade Minister. Write an article for Kids News explaining why you approved this design and what you like about it. Don’t forget to respond or answer to some of the criticisms that people have made about the logo you chose.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Adjectives
An adjective is a describing word. They are often found describing a noun. To start with look at the words before the nouns.

Search for all the adjectives you can find in the article

Did you find any repeat adjectives or are they all different?

Extension: Pick three of your favourite adjectives from the text and put them in your own sentences to show other ways to use them.

Have you used any in your writing?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think Australia’s new logo should show?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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