By Ayoola Adeyanju
October 1 2020 will mark Nigeria’s 60th anniversary. Leaders across both private and public sectors of the country have been ramping up preparation to celebrate the milestone despite the global pandemic.
The anniversary logo, however, appears to be getting more popular than the proposed event. Some say the logo is a plagiarised work. Others worry that it may have been a drain pipe on national purse. Some professionals think the logo is otherwise, celebrating mediocrity in a country that parades some of the world’s most brilliant creative people across all platforms.
TBWA Africa (one wonders their connection) has issued an official statement to debunk some of the negative notions raised. The letter stated that the logo was selected from a number of entries by various patriotic designers who feel the need to contribute to national development. It was offered pro-bono.
Whatever your view, the logo has now been officially unveiled. But should that put all matters to rest? Maybe not.
While any considerations outside the immediate government coffers in Nigeria may not amount to much, it is my belief that professionals in every space owe critical thinking and national development to themselves if they will be relevant in global competition.
In my opinion, the logo sports a balanced symmetry in design. It combines both simple and complex semiotics. It is both cockeyed and straight to the point.
Beyond that, it does seem to aptly describe identity crisis of the Nigerian nation. It is a product of information overload that often gets in the way of sound judgement and message clarity in the hemisphere.
It is a stark depiction of an unending field of cultural diversity from North to South and East to West. Ordinarily this should be a national advantage but, experience shows that it often beclouds a sense of single-mindedness and unity of purpose – hence, the lack of same in the logo. It is splintered along all kinds of considerations.
The logo defines the country’s furtile attempt at maintaining the ‘Federal Character’ by adopting the ‘Together’ slogan. It reflects the Nigeria’s titular strength of being the most populous African nation by ditching contemporary minimalism for structural sturdiness (deserving of a metallurgical brand).
Should a logo address ALL the key messages of a brand? Maybe. Or maybe not. Key aspects of brand philosophy can by addressed in simple terms using lines, colours, forms etc., to depict relevant semiotics. But when considerations are too many as in the Nigerian state, it is important to research and depict the three most vital aspects of the brand philosophy in a single-minded, self-descriptive visual strategy
In this case, though the 60th independence logo is adhoc, it is worth noting that it is a globally paraded national instrument that will be borne by all major government parastatals for the whole year. And being the Mark for a landmark celebration, it may have been better integrated with Nigerian logo (Never mind that it requires a major revamp on its own).
In fact, the entire Nigerian brand is in dire need of rehabilitation. As it is, the Nigerian brand architecture is difficult to understand. From personal observation, during the military era and prior to the 4th Republic, it was a Branded House with distinctive national features taken across all Federal and State functions (i know this as I was privileged to design calendars for some state governments and the army in early 90s)
It will be herculean to attempt any consensus logo, or useful brand identity without a clear guide to a definite brand architecture. Until that is done, this logo as well as many more future adventures will continue to be a grope in the dark.
Finally, it is disheartening to learn that the Nigeria 60th independent anniversary logo was donated by professionals who in my view should be supported by the country to grow and grow others. It shows lack of responsible leadership and one bereft of direction. It is regrettable, but such professionals if worthy of being so called, are a disservice to the trade.
No. The country’s purse should not be seen as a national cake to be shared. But the professionals have helped none of the stakeholders in the determination and appreciation of a sensible value system. Rather, their action only encourages an entitlement mentality in government and the citizenry. It is a gesture of extended goodwill that a responsible government should politely reject to promote a responsible culture of value appreciation and remuneration.
IF THE GOVERNMENT WAS RESPONSIBLE. .
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