Reinvent the logo, please

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Reinvent the logo, please

The new catchphrase “I.SEOUL.U” continues to draw mockery and criticism, with most Koreans asking why the government insisted on wasting money to create a meaningless brand. Both Koreans and foreigners cannot make out the meaning of the slogan because of its grammar. The new name was adopted through a public poll, but it raises questions of whom the government surveyed considering the amount of public criticism. The city picked the name through a public contest. Citizens were asked to make a choice among the finalists. But only a few hundred took part in the process, and they cannot hardly reflect the voices of the 10 million people in Seoul.

A city’s brand should reflect its legacy and standards. The name could shape the image of the capital of Korea with more than 10 million citizens. Many had questioned why Seoul had to change the “Hi Seoul” logo that has been in use for the last 14 years. The “Hi Seoul” logo is estimated to have a brand value of 29.4 billion won ($25.4 million). Was the new christening really worth it?

The city administration must stop the project to change the city logo immediately. Before pursuing further, it should explain to citizens the purpose of the project and must seriously reflect on the need if most continue to oppose to the plan. If it wins understanding, the city government should separately inquire about the newly selected logo. It helps no one to stick to a brand that many Seoul citizens cannot relate to and even feel ashamed of.

If it really needs to change the city’s brand, it must find one that can win favor from both locals and foreigners, and symbolize the lasting image of the city. The name needs to be simple, clear and meaningful. Mayor Park Won-soon always talked of policy being in tune with the citizens. It doesn’t make sense for him to pay such little heed to public criticism.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 10, Page 34

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