The best and worst of the world’s tourism logos

Alex Bigman

Last week, the Economic Development Board of South Australia introduced a new brand identity to more or less unanimous mockery and derision. “A folded milk carton. A monopoly hotel. Hideously disappointing. Conservative and boring” declared one reporter. When your neighbor has a logo as smashing as Melbourne’s, we suppose it’s tough to compare.

154110-sa-brand-logo

South Australia’s new logo drew derisive remarks like, “Last one out, please shut the door”

The debacle got us interested in the whole world of “destination branding” and holy smoke, it is a weird, weird niche. Beyond the inherent strangeness in treating a location as a product to be branded (sometimes with its own tagline! — “Texas: It’s like a whole other country”), we found the existing logos for the world’s countries and cities to completely run the gamut in terms of “cool” factor and basic quality.

For example, Amsterdam’s logo with the 3 X’s (found all around the city) is way too cool for school. We wouldn’t expect to find a logo this severely minimal outside the world of indie pop music, let alone in tourism. But it is balanced with the city’s “I AMsterdam” branding, which is a pleasing logo for any tourist:
amsterdamnew
The Amsterdam tourism logo is stark and sleek
The logo for the US state of Wisconsin, by contrast, is one of the dorkiest things we’ve ever seen (was it created by a free logo maker?):
wisconsin
Nothing says “fun” like the silhouette of an upside-down child
And this… item… for the English town of Burnley? Truly beyond words:
burnley
It is hard to imagine this computer-generated rubberband ball-type-thing represents the character of small town Burnley
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Without further adieu, the best and worst of the world’s destination logos.

The Best

victoria2

A striking, versatile mark for London’s central Victoria district

phl

The US city of Philadelphia takes a minimal approach, the beauty of which shines in its endless implementations

melbourne

The crystalline, mathematical look of Melbourne’s logo has become the holy grail of destination branding

spturis_logo_detail

São Paolo’s logo is bright, inviting and legible without being generic

egypt

Egypt’s logo is youthful, relaxed and seamlessly works in some traditional symbolism

Print

Peru’s logo likewise incorporates a cultural motif to produce a distinctive brand mark

url

This rich mining area on the border of Germany and the Czech Republic selected a fantastic logo that is anything but provincial

url-1

Finland’s logo is memorably abstract and incorporates gorgeous color

odessa

Odessa’s simple anchor logo references its defining location on the coast of the Black Sea, and is paired with a beautiful typeface

georgetown

A star and playful brogue pattern nicely convey the character of this trendy district within the US capitol

The Worst

czech

Hard to imagine it getting more boring than this. The nod to Facebook speak does not help.

italia

That “T” looks like a number of things, none of which are the Italian peninsula. Add some awful upper/lower case mixing and you get a real disaster

url

That abstract mark in the national colors just screams “inviting”

hague

The Hague, in fact one of Holland’s most beautiful areas, is not well represented by this crude kite design

korea_logo

Korea may be sparkling. This logo certainly is not

switzerland_logo

Switzerland’s logo might just take the cake, with its combination of that weird golden starfish and the mystifying phrase “get natural”

url-3

Whatever you say…

Now, how do you think the South Australia logo compares? Are there any other destination logos you think deserve a spot in the “best” and “worst” lists?

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