Karl Lagerfeld, German fashion designer of international fame, once said, “Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English—but are great in remembering signs.”
“But what would Karl know about logos for cities,” you might be scoffing, “He is in the fashion industry, where everything is about drama and overly complicated. Simplicity is best!”
While that may have some truth, even in simplicity, most of us would want to find meaning, identification, and aesthetic pleasure. Plus, first impression matters.
Thus, Malaysian netizens were horrified when the new logo and tagline of Kuala Lumpur was unveiled by KL Mayor Datuk Seri Mhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz recently. This new brand identity is meant to boost tourism and travel to Kuala Lumpur; ironically, in a disappointing twist, the new logo doesn’t reflect any of the tag words, ‘exciting’, ‘surprising’, and ‘enticing’.
Netizens were quick (and probably rightly so) to point out the amateur design of the logo, and have even labelled it as a branding disaster.
DBKL, i hope u didnt pay lots for ur new #kualalumpur branding as i did this is in PPT with WordArt in 5 mins. pic.twitter.com/GTBU0PFqLZ
— Iced Nyior (@IcedNyior) April 26, 2016
Some people were witty enough to take advantage of the situation, making cheeky parody logos of their own.
When you trust your designers … pic.twitter.com/HlfgDQ7y6V
— Sköhns Canteen (@SkohnsCanteen) April 27, 2016
ServisHero, a platform for on-demand local service providers, even one-upped KL City Hall by creating an even more interesting one.
Have you seen KL city’s new logo and tagline? One look made us realise our Heroes can do better! #totherescue pic.twitter.com/1Q6952qgnx
— ServisHero (@ServisHero) April 27, 2016
Needless to say, Malaysia is not in lack of creative and artistic talent who are able to turn an idea or concept into an actual design. We thought we should give KL City Hall a hand and list a few reputable graphic designers who have experience in creating logos for companies and brands—just, you know, for their future reference (or in case they want to give the new design another makeover).
So here are 9 graphic designers/graphic design studios in Malaysia that they should have considered hiring to create a logo that will actually make Kuala Lumpur exciting, surprising, and enticing.
1. Sense Plus Design House
Sense Plus Design House is a design studio based in Kuala Lumpur which specialises in Logo Design, Branding Design, Advertising Design, and Promotional Design. They have several types of packages that can be suited to a client’s needs. They create logos based on key ideas and features that can be highlighted in the design, such as Namewee’s logo that showcases his infamous red knit cap, glasses, and 2 subtle middle fingers (sneaky!).
2. Bel Koo
Bel Koo is a graphic and web designer with more than 8 years of experience in the industry. She’s well known for her branding projects, such as the logos for luxury shoe designer ChristyNg, wedding platform Wedding.com.my, bespoke designer Jeremy Tok, and many more. Her designs have gained her worthy recognition and she’s been featured on several publications.
3. Valen Lim
Valen Lim is a graphic designer and illustrator from Penang. He’s currently the graphic designer for iprice, but he also runs a small handcraft and illustration business in a local monthly flea market. Icon designs and illustrations seem to be his strong suit, and he’s even designed a rather detailed city map of Kuala Lumpur to highlight popular tourist attractions and buildings.
4. Froggy Planet
Froggy Planet is a creative studio based in Sabah. Other than logo and website design, they also do videography and photography services. Most of their designs are strikingly vibrant and colourful, which adds an energetic and lively spirit to their work.
5. Razlan Hanafiah
Personally, I don’t know why didn’t KL City Hall just hire this graphic designer because there happens to be a logo with some of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic buildings sitting in his portfolio.
Razlan is the founder of Projectile Studio. He is also a UI/UX designer with links to Code Army and Bake 180. Razlan’s portfolio consists of logos, illustrations, infographics, post card designs, and website designs. His minimalistic, aesthetically pleasing, and clutter-free approach has garnered him much favour with many clients, like Nando’s and Mercedes-Benz.
6. Milk Design KL
Milk Design KL may be just a small graphic design studio, but they’ve worked on a variety of projects, both multi-nationals and neighbourhood ones. They’ve worked on logos, to annual report designs, print ads, websites, and CD covers. On their portfolio, one would notice that their skills are quite versatile—from straightforward, no-nonsense corporate logos to print that’s more “artsy-fartsy”.
Company27 is a creative technology company that focuses on digital engagement and game development, with brand innovation as their core. Their attention to detail and data driven approaches have gotten them involved with clients from various industries, such as agriculture, education, technology, and more. You will also notice some local startups in their portfolio, like The Battery Shop, KFIT, MoneyMatch (founded by one of the co-founders of Company27), and Cooked.
8. Vector Hero Design Lab
Vector Hero Design Lab is a fully bumiputera creative consulting agency that is all about branding. They offer all kinds of creative solutions as well as trademarks protection. They have a lot of experience with various huge corporations such as Great Eastern, Tune Studios, Institut Jantung Negara (National Heart Institute), and IJM.
9. Afdzal Ahmad
Afdzal Ahmad is a self-taught graphic designer who previously worked with Duriana as a UI/UX designer. He has worked on logos, illustrations, building icons, homepages, posters, and banner ads. Some of his logo designs include food delivery platform Deliver Lot, Fulltop Gear, Bintang Hill, and Vape Lounge.
Know of any more talented graphic designers that could lend a hand to those who need it most? Tag them so that more people will know of their work!
Feature image credit: Adapted from Afdzal Ahmad, Razlan Hanafiah, Valen Lim, Sense Plus Design House