May 15, 2014

Recognizably Hawai`i

While I wasn’t looking, Hawai`i’s ad agency changed the promotional logo for our state’s tourism efforts.

Apparently, the decision to change Hawai`i’s logo (promotional logo) from the one pictured with the competition, including the balmy climes of Armenia and Budapest to the new one, pictured separately, was based in part on the fact that many tourism competitors, including Armenia and Budapest, were  using bright colors (some deemed “rainbow colors”) in their logos.

To quote an unnamed source, “too many people were copying Hawai`i”.  So the bold, primitive yet sophisticated, exotic ROYGBIV (red,orange,yellow,green, blue, indigo, violet) logo was dumped for a logotype that no one will want to copy.  Each are pictured below.

Because Hawai`i is the most well-known geographic/place brand in the world, and probably the most well known tourist destination in the world, it doesn’t matter much how you draw it (but they have changed it to “The Hawaiian Islands” with the emphasis on Hawaiian), people will recognize it.  But if you ask me, and I have some street cred in this area, it was a mistake.  You could see where I was going from my description of the “old” logo.

Not only was the “old” logo more “Hawaiian” — the new one looks like a faceless upscale hotel — it was extremely well recognized by visitors to the islands.  I know this because Brook and I worked on the Hawai`i Seal of Quality for which we borrowed the “old” logotype in part because of its survey-proven recognizability factor.  There are times to change your logo (Kentucky FRIED Chicken to KFC, for instance) and there are times when it is not a good idea.  Could this be  the latter?

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Gloria. Circa 1955.



Gloria. Circa 2012.




Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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