The Graphic Design Association of Malaysia (wRega) is currently in talks with “relevant parties” to find out how the scrapped 55th National Day logo came to be, in the hope of avoiding a future fiasco.
According to its president Zachary Ong ( right ), the association considers the blunder “an extremely serious issue”.
“We have launched an investigation. We are waiting for some feedback from certain parties. We are committed that this thing will never happen again,” he told Malaysiakini today.
He said that wRega is speaking to the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry and groups within the design community to get feedback.
“We don't know (how open the government will be) to our feedback as we have not yet spoken to the right person. It's still under investigation,” he said.
He added that fiasco has also shown the "appalling" state of design in Malaysia and the poor awareness of the importance of design within society.
“If people say the design (issue) is petty, it clearly shows how well educated or not well educated we are about the power of design,” he said.
He revealed there is already a general feeling of being under-appreciated within the design community, and the unveiling of the now scrapped logo is like the last straw.
“It is like a boiling pot. When something like this happens, (graphic designers) have to say something about it,” he said.
He said the uproar also has to do with the symbolism of the National Day celebrations.
“(The Merdeka celebrations) is an icon which all Malaysian connect to. A logo is something people see and connect emotionally with.
“In this context, this represents the independence of the country. It comes with a lot of history, of the struggles of our forefathers, and with a sense of integrity to make sure that the design portrays that.”
‘Victory for designers’
He said the scrapping the logo was a “victory” for the design community and that retaining it would have been “disastrous”.
While a logo designing competition - as done in previous years - would have been “ideal”, replacing it with the 1Malaysia logo is not a bad idea.
“It has been used (for as the National Day celebration logo) for the past two years and no one has said anything about it,” he said.
“As a graphic designer, I look at the message and the 1Malaysia logo represents the ruling government's message - to take Malaysia to a new future, to achieve Vision 2020. As a public relations exercise, it is a brilliant idea, right and timely.”
He added that Malaysia has a long way to go in terms of design and that there needs to be a proper design policy, to put Malaysia at par with regional neighbours like Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong where design is a multimillion dollar industry.
“K-Pop, for example, is manufactured and intended to be that way. It was conscious and deliberate, intended to be that way because of the conscious effort to promote Korean culture,” he said.
He said in countries like Japan and Germany, focus on design became the driving force for innovation.
“Look at history and how (these countries) grew. They grew from a manufacturing core and changed to innovation, which is something we are doing but (in Malaysia) what is missing is the focus on design. Innovation is only the outcome of design.”