What’s in a logo?

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The unanimous verdict about Samoa Airways new logo is quite clear. It is boring, plain and ugly. 

Ask anyone out there and that will probably be his or her response.

On the pages of this newspaper, that has certainly been the overwhelming reaction from members of the public in terms of online feedback, letters to the editor and all other social media forums where people are expressing their honest opinions.

While we’re not professional designers, I don’t think you need to be one to see what people are talking about. You see in an age where everything is about branding and image, the new logo does not inspire much confidence that this airline will go far. 

It certainly reflects badly on the creative juices of Samoa. In fact it’s an insult.

Now some people may argue that it’s just a logo and that you don’t travel on a logo. Fair enough. 

But when we talk about nationhood and pride, an airline like Samoa Airways that is being billed as the flag carrier of Samoa will inevitably represent that for us. 

Which is why the logo matters. It is important because it’s something that should represent the best of Samoa and all of us. Frequent travellers, especially Samoans, should be able to see that logo on a plane in Auckland or Sydney and say, yes that is ‘my Samoa Airways.’

Truth be told that logo clearly is not the best of Samoa. It is not the best representation of us as a creative people. It definitely looks cheap and it reflects a rushed job that could have been done by anyone. 

Now according to the Minister of Samoa Airways, Lautafi Fio Purcell, cost played a huge part in the determination of the logo.

“We don’t have money to spend on expensive aircraft paint,” he said. “We are saving those funds for operational costs.

 “We cannot do that if we spend $100,000 USD on one lot of paint, because that is how much it costs. We would rather spend money in the service department than to try and please everyone who is complaining about the plain looking logo.” 

According to the Minister, the logo will look a lot better on the aircraft.

 “Regardless of what people are nagging and complaining about, they will have a different opinion once this logo is slapped onto the tail of the plane,” he said. 

Really? How this will be possible is interesting. If it looks plain and boring on a piece of paper, it sure will look the same on the aircraft or anything else for that matter. Unless the Minister and Samoa Airways have a secret formula on bringing out a different outcome?

Getting down to the nitty-gritty details, the Minister said the logo signifies the Pacific.

“Although our national flower is the teuila, but we have opted for the coconut because this showcases all of the Pacific Islands,” he said. “We want to portray the Pacific and attract more tourists, because in their minds, they want to hang under swinging palm trees and that is our coconut trees. 

“No one knows what a Teuila is so again, it’s all about prioritising what is more important and that is to provide an adequate service to our people through our new airline.”

What on earth is he talking about? Here is our government yet again contradicting itself. 

Why don’t we just have coconut week then instead of the Teuila week? And why continue with the teuila as the national flower when we can have the coconut instead? 

The point is that by reviving Polynesian Airlines international operations under Samoa Airways, the government is obviously taking a big leap of faith by revisiting a road where it once failed miserably. 

The logo was an opportunity to make an impression, to prove that they are serious about what they want to do. 

If we are honest, the design and blandness of the new logo already tells a sad story. 

Maybe, just maybe this is where the old adage of not judging a book by its cover might come into play. For the sake of this country, we sure pray and hope so.

But don’t hold your breath. 

Have a great week Samoa, God bless! 

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