25 January 2009

Brand Oman Launched - Update!


What is your view about this New Brand Oman Logo?

Hints about the Logo from my tablemate who had an exclusive media preview:
  • The symbol incorporates the name Oman, calligraphically rendered in Arabic

  • The extreme right arc symbolises the 'ship' befitting maritime glory of Oman

  • The center arc denotes the silhouette of the majestic 'mountains' of Oman

  • The bottom arc depicts the rich 'marine environment' of Oman

  • The left extreme curly arc represents the smoke of Omani 'frankincense'

  • Branding excercise undertaken by Landor Associates.
Official Explanation for the Logo from OBMU:
" Taking its inspiration from the wonderful diversity that is Oman –amongst other things, Arabic calligraphy, our marine environment and magnificent landscape, local textiles, Oman’s historic leadership in trade and pioneering role in exploration and of course, frankincense, which has been at the core of our culture and economy for generations. Expertly crafted, the brand mark draws on a rich and vibrant colour palette which reflects Oman’s natural bounty.

More specifically, and looking at the brand from right to left, the first colour, dawn purple, represents the dhow; Musandum aquamarine green is inspired by Oman’s rich marine environment and the turtle in particular; sky blue is taken from the silhouettes of the mountains; and the Salalah green is the essence of frankincense.

The four part of the brand mark were drawn in an organic fashion to demonstrate continuous natural growth. The typography in both Arabic and English were designed in a contemporary manner using soft cornered San Serif, creating a contrast with the symbol and providing a firm base beneath it. This contrast is intended to project an image of strength, continuous growth and a solid link with Oman’s rich history”. – HH Highness Sayyid faisal Al Said (Times of oman).
________________________________________________

Just back from the launch event (logo launched by HH Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said - who said 'the lauch of the Logo is just the beginning of this very important task') and here is a Picstory of the launch....



Once at the Majan Ballroom (Al Bustan) entrance, one could guess the colours have something with the Logo theme...and so did the entire lighting inside the hall...


Walk through a green laser light curtain to wait for a while and network, still similar colours in the ambience...




A very crisp welcome note, a short piece of entertainment (Ribbon dance performance) and then OBMU CEO (HH Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said) delivers his speech on the need for branding, strategic approach towards branding Oman, salient values reflected to build the country's brand (read his earlier interview about the new brand here)...





A short visual shows highlights of Oman - from landscape, heritage, bio-diversity, marine life, etc.




Then the Logo sketch emerges as outline...slowly the colours fill in...




Here is the New Brand Oman Logo - English




Here is the New Brand Oman Logo - Arabic




Dinner is served as The Royal Symphony Orchestra begins to play - Starts with Titanic theme music....



Views and reviews exchanged around the table (seated at the same table with Rajiv)



Branding begins -----The dessert plate...




The performers bid farewell... (Gift bag was short of stock - missed the logo literature inside)



Aftert thought!


If this logo is the basis for the nation's identity, I wonder how the other sector would base their logo on this one?

For example, run your thoughts on how Oman's brand-focus sectors - Tourism, Business, Education, and ICT sectors would face this logo challenge?

37 comments:

Blue_Chi said...

Thanks for sharing this with us Sangheetha, I was searching for pics or anything online and I just couldn't find any before you made this post.

I am not really sure how I feel about this logo. I just did not expect it to look like this, I'm not sure of what I was expecting, but this didn't give me the "WOW" feeling when I saw it, not sure if it is the low res pics, or the colours, or what. It might grow on me with time, but right now, I'm not really feeling it.

Lost in thought said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lost in thought said...

Thanks for the pictures, I was going to be there, but decided not to go.

Looking at it, from an artists prospective (I'm not professional), its great, got a lot of meaning to it.

But for the mass, the meaning is not obvious. Its just another logo ! We are talking about a broad usage like tourism, they should have really stuck to concrete drawings rather then symbols, or both together !

Oman said...

It has no ‘instant meaning’ - the ‘ Logo ‘ will need explanation in detail to each person who sees it.
Arabic without the ‘dots & dashes’ depicting maritime glory of Oman - the majestic 'mountains' of Oman - the rich 'marine life' of Oman- Omani 'frankincense'. Haven’t the brandors forgotten something – the Omani People who, frankly, are the real ‘Essence of Oman’ (to coin a past branding). Irrespective of any ‘meaning’ it’s a Logo to be consumed in an instant by the person on the street, as they walk past and connected around the world with – Oman .
Marine colours in a country of Browns and Greens .
4 Colour Printing each time costs money and cannot be accurately replicated on all media and surfaces
No use of the National Colours – towns were flooded with Red for the Football – not Marine Colours (check out your Yalla Oman - no Marine in sight) .
For me the best Logo for any business in Oman, to date, is Bank Muscat , simple, unmistakably Bank Muscat and so easy to reproduce – the Khanjar is referred to and in the key National Colour – and done, I believe ‘in-house’ by an Omani agency – sharp and to the point.

Oman said...

Oh! And since Landor did the branding – I expect they chose a similar typeface for the work they did on OmanOil – the English – all lower case

muscati said...

Orchestra began with the Titanic theme, eh? Very fitting.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...

Wow...

It's nice to hear so many different views.

BlueChi - My initial feeling before the exlplanation was exactly the same.

LoT - the point is valid as meaning can be easily familiar than requireing a new explanation. One of my favourite is the 'Speech mark' and the 'Accent', both have established meaning whcih have been used in the obvious context of 'communnication' and 'consultancy'.

Oman - Tks for dropping by. Yes I agree with 'instant meaning' - I was looking for This word.

Muscati...Did u really mean it? Well I thought it was Hope that survives amidst all troubles. Anyway the other numbers were classical ones.

Oman said...

Sorry not to have done all comments in one go – it was Very Early in the Morning for the earlier ones. Landor, who were also responsible for the Oman Oil re-do from BP simply seem to have used a very similar TypeFace and Colour Palette for both Oman Oil and this OBMU – one might assume they gave a Buy in Bulk discount when they recycled one into the other.

Bader al Hinai said...

my friends..

i was there yesterday. and i was tracking this project since beginning. i am a mrketing assistant in OMRAN and this project is so important to me as i am looking always for something that makes me proud as an omani, and also it is something significant to anybody who works in marketing (specially tourism marketing).

why do we people criticise everything we see? we dont like anything. isnt it something great that we took this brave step forward and created our visual identity?

for those who were asking for national colours and khanjar symbol, i think you've all noticed the change that has been done on some brands like oman air. the government is trying to hide the khanjar (which is a weapon) and replace it with other elements. same with the red colour (which is a revolutionists colour), as we are in a very sensitive world and terrorism is everywhere, so we dont want to emphasize on anything that might mislead the audience.

i loved the brand oman logo sice 1st time i saw it few months ago. and for those who couldnt know what it represents generally, it is the word (OMAN) in arabic written in a calligraphic way, and each letter is representing a unique omani element (the dhow, the green turtle, the frankincense, and a common omani design for the last colour).

the logo is meant to promote oman in four main segments: tourism, trade and investments, information technology, and education.

i think that's all i can say.

Bader al Hinai

Jagan Ram said...

Its good that the identity resembles the nature of the country. But it seems like the typeface used is a force fit.

Jagan

Sangeetha Sridhar said...

Bader - Tks for dropping by and your sentiments are truly admirable. But people are entitled to their view points and of course the view point also changes over time. This is 'the challenge' I highlight.

J.Ram - Glad you found the resemblance. Can you explain the 'force fit' aspect a bit more? Couldn't get your view clearly.

Anonymous said...

It is fresh and creative, true it does need to be explained to be able to grasp what is meant. But it is just nice to see something with artistic creativity...
Bader, valid points. But also, crticism is what makes you/anyone excel.

Oman said...

Badr, I can’t speak for the other posters here but - in my comments I said that the ‘essence of Oman (meaning the heart/core of Oman) was the (wonderful) Omani people of which you are one, mentioned that Bank Muscat’s superb Logo was designed in-house in Muscat (rather than by Landor (a non Omani company) in probably Dubai/USA ).

The Omani Khanjar is a weapon – but also probably the most recognizable object from Oman. If you wander through Muttrah Souq and look at all the Khanjars on display – which are there because tourists are interested in buying them to remind them of the great time they had in Oman.

Yes, the logo says Oman in Arabic but if its targeted at tourists from non-Arab countries how do they know that? It doesn’t even have the Noqtah dot for the ‘ن’ or Dammah for the ع or does it (perhaps the flourish at the end of the نis the Noqtah )? Without that Dammah perhaps the educated Arab speaking tourist will confuse it with Amman.

The information at the launch said “the brand mark draws on a rich and vibrant colour palette which reflects Oman’s natural bounty” if you look at the interpretation of Oman’s colour palette in the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque ( in the North West Riwaq) – Reds, Browns, Silver were included – each artist has their own interpretation. Certainly,

I want to be proud of Oman’s Logo – in the way I was when the Reds won the Gulf Cup.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sangeetha Sridhar said...

Oman - Tks for the note. At the table I did hand draw the logo and shade the portions that denote the arabic letters in Oman - and indeed interpreted the 'dot - Noqtah' as I learn from you similarly. The remarks are getting very interesting to follow up.

On a related note, can you tell me what colours do you associate with technology for example?

muscati said...

With all respect to all who were involved with the Oman branding effort, please accept that criticism does not mean that your effort is not appreciated. Many of the people replying here do have a background in marketing and/or branding, so they are not exactly talking nonsense. Besides, I don't think that OBMU made a logo to be used only among marketing and branding experts. This is a logo for the whole world to see. Less than 1% of the people who see it will be experts. Most people won't bother with discussions over what it means, what it conveys, and whether it succeeds or not. To most people the reaction will be either "I like it" or "I don't like it".

My view:

Something in the logo just isn’t right. It’s off somehow, but I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly about it that’s off. 1) It the weird non-symmetrical pattern. 2) It leads your eye its left. Even when told that it is Arabic caligraphy, my eye still went from left to right. It flows that way. 3) It looks more like sanskrit than Arabic to me. 4) If I wasn't told it was Arabic writing, I would have assumed it was just a drawn logo that didn't make sense. In a word, gibberish. 5) Why in the world does a logo need to be explained(I mean come on, who has the time)? 6) Most importantly, the colors are cold. There’s no warmth in them. Uninviting, that's the word that comes to mind. These are colors for a corporate logo, not a country.

If I was involved in the branding exercise, I wouldn’t have agreed with the thought process which analyzes the khanjar as a weapon. Most countries only dream of having as strong a national symbol as the Omani khanjar. I refuse to believe that they couldn’t think of variations on the theme. They could have tried to redraw the khanjar, or use it as an inspiration for a new logo. Instead Oman Air went for an extremely generic logo which is apparently based on smoke from burning of incense. Smoke, on a plane?!!!! And now brand Oman is Arabic calygraphy?

Another thing, I would have marketed Oman simply as Oman, not Sultanate of Oman.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...

Tks Muscati,

I was eager to hear your views and thanks for taking time.

Bader al Hinai said...

my friends,

i had a quick read through your posts.

what i wanna say: this is a very high profile government decision. the logo has been shown to HM and he is aware of what's happenening. It is HM's vision to stop using khanjar as a symbol and look for some other elements.

for the colours, they have tried a colour that is close to red. and guess what?it looked like Thai Airways. my uncle just told me this 2 hours back. he is a member in the governmental committee and he knows all details on this project.

one more thing, it is a sickness in most omanis. if a minister or a big government official says something, everybody will agree, even if he/she doesnt have enough knowledge in marketing/branding/designing. the all say yess yess your excellency this is the best decision!!
(SICK PEOPLE)!!

another thing, the nuqtah IS there. come on my friends!! you all know al ruq'aa font which doesnt put nuqtah on the noon letter, it just makes it part of the letter itself. and for the dhammah, we dont want another oman daily arabic!! it might look like ghoman not oman.

also, foreigners dont have to read the arabic calligraphy, the logo is just a symbol, and the text is underneath it.

yalla i have to make a move. have a meeting somewhere after work..

i love this discussion, thanks to sangeetha!!

c u guys!

Rajiv said...

I shared the table with Sangeetha yesterday. My thoughts on the logo - firstly, any nation brand mark, is in a way a corporate logo - its the substratum on which the independent 'tourism' or 'education' or 'investment' logos are to be built upon. The warmth of the sun, sand etc etc can come in the tourism logo (I hope they do bring it in though, otherwise it would not really be evolutionary and too much of 'new born').

I agree and disagree with Muscati on two counts- yes there is something odd about it and I think its the choice of colours which excludes the earthy brown hues. To my mind the earth shades juxtaposed with the aquamarine blues is what Oman in all its visual splendour immediately comes across as. Also I too belive abandoning the khanjar since it is a weapon is an over-reaction and childish- would you change the crest of Oman too just because it has weapons in it.

But I dont agree with the observation that the eye movemnet is from the left to the right- in fact the puple dhow curve on the right actually leads you in.

Its so important for any such initiative to have 'buy -in' from the people of the nation. Wouldn't the arabic calligraphy, bring in a sense of pride and appreciation when he/she actually understands the complex interspersing of the curves and the elements they signify. I think this logo will grow on people
And the Sultanate added to it somehow brings a unique majestic touch to it!

I think its a great step forward and must have involved alot of effort. Kudos to the team for understanding the need and conceptualising it. Way to go!

Oman said...

The website is apparently supposed to be www.BrandOman.om ( as per arunrajagopal.com ) – Check out www.BrandoMan.com (no need of course to type the upper/lower case – its given to emphasise the words) - is a redirect to - http://www.BrandonsVideos.com – while the BrandOman website is not up and running – the BrandoMan site is .
PS Sangeetha – your time on the comments seems to be 12hours out of synch for Oman time – is it Los Angeles time ?

Anonymous said...

Do you guys remember when the logo of the 19th arabian gulf cup was revealed? Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE (including myself) resented the logo. But it ended up on every single car in Oman by the final game, wonder why? It grew into us through the spirit and environment that we were living prior-during-post the arabian gulf cup. Many now believe that it has been THE BEST logo in the history of the gulf cup. Not because it was made by a fancy design company nor it was presented through a fancy ceremony, but it was because of the nation! The Omanis (and by that I mean everyone lives in this beloved country) made it the most successful logo+tournament, it's the people.

Many would think that this brand does not relate to our culture,religion,believes,etc. and others would say that it is just scribbles done by a couple of westerners who did the work for omanoil and don't give a damn about oman or simply by saying the nation itself was not included in the process of making the brand.

But I do believe and trust me that this is what all this is about, Brand Oman will be successful and it will be so because of its nation that i believe will eventually be part of this national project, not because they have to or they were told so, BUT for the love of their country and by just being oman.

Just remember that Brand Oman is not about a mere logo.

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT!!!!! Does not read from left to right. I barely read arabic and I could easily make out عمان i think its cool :)

I am not sure why oman needs a logo or what it will be used for but what i do know is that it is fabulous :)Ignore all the haters.

LJ said...

As far as I can see the problem is that the logo is an abstract to the common man no matter how it is explained by a branding expert. To him it won’t convey Oman instantly. Another problem is that the colours are cool while most of us would associate Oman with warmer shades. Standing alone, the logo wouldn’t make the viewer recall Oman, at least for now. May be it would change as more entities get on board and the colours and the logo or variations of it bring a kind of uniformity to the entire branding exercise.

As for khanjar, while it does represent Oman, it is important to note that Oman is the only country where khanjar is an integral part of its culture. While there are subtle nuances that differentiate an Omani khanjar from a Yemeni one or that from some other part of the Arabian Peninsula, a khanjar is not unique to Oman. Plus of course the image factor: using a weapon as the country’s brand. Not a good idea I would say.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sangeetha Sridhar said...

KEY KNOWLEDGE: A Brand is not just a logo; but begins with it.


Bader - Tks for taking time to comment in detail. Indeed 'change' is often received with sceptism to begin with. The success of the brand must continue with the other branding and marketing efforts which I believe OBMG will certainly work towards.

Rajiv - Tks for already 'buying in'. Intersting conversations offine and online.I do agree that when a nation needs a corporate-like approach to enter global market, branding leads a more successful entry.

Oman - Tks & I too got a Domain Default page for brandoman.om domain. Well spotted time, but I have no clue. Computer time settng is fine at my end. Any ideas here?

Anonymous - It is nice to hear your justification and support. I personally loved the use of colours and the arcs to form the name of Oman. I'm still practising to draw it with ease. But for your anonymity(!) you would make a good Brand Ambassador influencing many others.

Muscati - I share similar thoughts and even tilted the logo say by 35 degrees clockwise. Now the two pedestal like arcs ()felt like growing arcs supporting the other two which look like aspiring and entwining arcs.

But sincerely, people who are closely invoved would have done exceptional effort in coming this far and the mraketing team has to take it forward from here.

LJ - Expertly worded view - specially the first half is very well said.

Bader al Hinai said...

hello everybody!

well regarding the website, it is www.brandoman.om not .com

i have been trying to visit it since yesterday and i think it's still not activated yet.

fingers crossed.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sangeetha Sridhar said...

Hot Update:

The website will hopefully up by today! So try to visit www.brandoman.om.

Official literature distributed at the event could be available in electronic format. So look out!

Lost in thought said...

So I think I will wait for it to grow on me eh ?
x)

Bader al Hinai said...

Sangeetha, we need the digital version of the booklet distributed and also the video that launched the logo. we wanna use it as viral ad for oman online.

Thanks!

Sangeetha Sridhar said...

LoT - "Growth with U" sounds more apt. Hey Nah?

Bader - Will try. Good chances they will post on BrandOman.om. Hopefully up by today.

Anonymous said...

Some additional info since part of this discussion veered that way. The BankMuscat logo was designed in Oman itself (and not in Dubai or elsewhere) by the design department of Apex Press and Publishing, which publishes local papers Al Isboua, Week etc. But I don't think they do such design projects anymore.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sangeetha Sridhar said...

Anon - Tks. Apex publications have shown these exceptional cuts in their design and photo selection as well. I own a copy of their 2009 Diary and to me its aesthetic and innovative value are quite high.

After reading BM logo comments, curiously I tried sketching BM logo (which came out really well effortlessly)and write associated adjectives - it worked very well for the vision of BM. I'm now trying this with this new logo.

It is possible that adequate in-house inputs effectively captured and rendered by professionals with branding experience can have impressive results. Until such time this is proven, perception can be in all shades of grey instead of pure white or thick black.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...

Mr.TIME

A truly dare to word the review of someone who I revere all TIMES.

Let’s call him Mr.Time. He opines that to sport the spirit of the nation, a symbol is just a little identity.
True spirit of the nation as the one expressed during the Gulf Cup in a single pulse has a synergic effect, a lot more than the sum of its constituents. So instead of dissecting the segments enjoy the wholesome full and bind your spirit of energy to it.
His Words of Wisdom (his WoW factor) revolves around how we residents of Oman feel about the country in terms of its peace, milieu, people, bio/marine diversity, culture and leadership instead of finding a symbol to represent this total mood / impression, all-encompassing the tangible and intangible identities of Oman.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...

A nice post by Arun Rajagopal at http://arunrajagopal.com/2009/01/26/brandoman/

Kishore's dynamism theory of the brand logo in his post at http://www.kishorcariappa.com/2009/01/oman-gets-new-brand-mark.html

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