Improved Visit Malaysia 2020 logo still has a glaring error

Malaysia 2020 logo
(Image credit: Dr Mahathir Mohamad)

If you design something on the cheap, chances are it isn't going to go down well. That's just what happened with the Malaysian tourism ministry, whose zero budget Visit Malaysia 2020 logo was slammed online for its amateurish look.

To fix this, the country has recently unveiled a new and altogether more sophisticated logo (above), which is the winner of a government competition. And despite being mocked for having a logo that's difficult to read, the design elements are a definite improvement.

In our guide to logo design we point out the importance of listening to public criticism, and it looks like the Malaysian tourism ministry has done that here. Its new graphic includes distinctive features of the country, such as a hornbill, a hibiscus flower, and a wild fern.

Each has been depicted in a stylised way that looks like the region's famous wax-resist dyeing technique, batik. It's still not perfect, but it's unarguably a more elegant and well realised logo than the previous Visit Malaysia 2020 effort (below), which featured cartoony graphics of the region's native wildlife wearing sunglasses.

Malaysia 2020 logo

This Visit Malaysia 2020 logo was designed in-house for free (Image credit: Tourism Malaysia)

It's fair to say that this logo didn't go down well on social media. Twitter user Aven Fauzi summarised a lot of feelings by saying that due to the logo, the country was going to "be a joke for another 2 years and beyondddd."

The hunt for a new logo was organised by the newly elected Malaysian government, Pakatan Harapan, which ran a competition calling for ideas. Graphic designer Alfred Phua Hong Fook's logo was chosen as the winning design out of hundreds of entries. Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad officially unveiled it in a tweet on Monday.

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And, by and large, it looks like the new logo has gone down well. Twitter user jasmin has given the design her seal of approval by saying it's superior to the 'stoner orangutans' of the old logo. Meanwhile Eskentirka says that it represents a logo where the client values the designer's input.

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You can't please everyone though. And given that people can see the finalists that didn't make the cut, some Twitter users were quick to jump in and point out which ones they would have preferred.

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On a more serious note, some users speculated that the logo was made from assets found on Shutterstock, which had then been hastily copied and edited.

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If there's one complaint we can agree with though, it's that the slogan is difficult to read. When read from left to right, the message appears to be "Visit Truly Asia Malaysia". However when you take into account that the logo uses two different fonts, it suddenly clicks in place to read: "Visit Malaysia, Truly Asia".

We'll be honest, we didn't realise this until Twitter user Hamka pointed it out.

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As far as copywriting goes, this is a bit of a swing and a miss on behalf of the Malaysian tourism ministry. Its Twitter profile uses a version of the slogan "Malaysia Truly Asia" for its account name, but what happened to the "Visit"?

Nitpicks aside, this is a vast improvement on the previous Visit Malaysia 2020 logo. But its real test will be whether or not it attracts more travellers.

Think you could do better? You'll need some logo design tools. And luckily for you we've rounded up the best free logo design tools to help you on your way.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.