Growing up in London, I vividly remember seeing Kenyan commercials for safari holidays and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro. The Kenyans at that time dominated the East African tourism market; if you wanted to go on a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation and see the animals from the Lion King roaming free, the travel agent would point you towards Kenya. They did such a great job marketing that people thought that Kilimanjaro (the highest free-standing mountain in the world) was in Kenya. It is not.
Fast-forward to 2016 and people still think Kilimanjaro is in Kenya, although a quick Google search will tell you otherwise. Still, tourism in Tanzania has increased pretty significantly. From 1995–2014, the number of annual visitors to the country grew from 285,000 to 1,113,000 according to the World Bank. But that number is tiny compared to South Africa, who in 2014 drew 9,550,000 visitors.
There are many things the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) can do to reach those South African numbers. I’m here to talk about one of those, a new brand starting by looking at the logo. A good brand creates an image of trust and quality; it is memorable and shows commitment and pride. You want a potential traveler who sees your brand (whether it’s the logo, website or banner ad) instantly picture roaming lions in the Serengeti or just sipping cocktails watching dhow boats drift into the sunset in Zanzibar.
Google identified the 5 Stages of Travel a person goes through, from dreaming of a vacation destination to researching, booking and sharing their experiences along the way.
With this insight, a solid brand showcasing why Tanzania is the go-to destination is vital, especially at the Dreaming, Researching, and Booking stages.
People travel for many different reasons, whether it is to unwind after a long year or experience a new way of life. Whatever it is we all like to fantasize about travel; half the fun of going somewhere is the anticipation of going there. There has to be an instant emotional hook that compels you to discover more and ultimately book a trip.
Refresh the brand to better reflect a different Tanzania, an emerging tourist destination with a rich, peaceful history, and dynamic people; create awareness around the potential to have a brand we can all be proud and excited.
Before we get started, a little history lesson
I wanted to represent Tanzania historically and to do that you have to go back to 1964. Tanganyika and the Zanzibar Archipelago merged in 1964 to become what is now known as The United Republic of Tanzania. The unification of the two entities was the basis for the concept of the brand.
With a direction in mind, I did a little competitive audit to see what other tourism brands were doing. I wanted to separate the good from the bad and to do that; I asked myself the following:
- Are they visually compelling?
- Is the essence of the country captured?
- Are the logo and brand versatile? Could the logo work consistently as a letterhead, on apparel or various social media platforms?
The good, the bad and ugly
The good: I love these logos, not only are they well executed and memorable, but they also represent the country. Although they do not have a logomark, the logos utilize a visual icon or pattern, making the logotype more approachable.
Looking at Peru’s logo, you quickly see Machu Picchu (the country’s most well known attraction) in the ‘P.’
Mexico uses a bold sans-serif logotype which is generic but includes some distinct markings and patterns within the letters. These represent different cultures and natural beauty.
The bad: USA’s logo is intriguing but in the wrong way for me. For a start, it reminds me of those color blindness tests and is just too busy. I know the USA is made up of different distinct states and many different cultures, but this approach fails in my opinion. We are all purple and blue dots that are converging — and what about the dots floating outside, are they not invited to the party?
The ugly: The Argentina logo is bland, plus I’m bewildered about that wavy icon and its relation to the country.
Anatomy of the Logo
The logo consists of a logomark and logotype. There is much chatter about the definition of logomarks and logotypes; summed up pretty well in this Fast Company article. Not all logos need both elements mentioned, but I felt a logomark, in this case, will tell a better story and could be used more widely within the brand.
I always knew I wanted the logotype to be bold, sans-serif, modern and clean, so I wanted to make the logomark a little bit more playful. I got out the trusty old tools, and started to sketch, as always the first were crappy from giraffes, dhow boats, and Masai. The more I went the direction of literal icons, the more things got busy and convoluted. Therefore, I decided to simplify the logomark while not straying from the original historical concept. You remember, Tanzania being the product of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Because I leaned heavily towards a bold and sans-serif type for the logo, I soon realized I could utilize the shapes from the logomark, and they could form the type. By using the rectangle and circle shapes, the two components of the logo became more cohesive. I also think the clean shapes relate to the everyday simplicity of life, lived by the majority of Tanzanians.
The updated fresh and modern logo, lets you in on Tanzania’s direction into the future. From the colors (taken from the flag) to the layout of the logotype which gives a nod to the union of Tanganyika and the Zanzibar Archipelago.
You may have noticed that the logo has not got a catchy ‘tagline’ to reinforce the message. Firstly, I think these slogans in this instance are cheesy; countries are more complex than products or services. Secondly, a couple of adjectives can’t accurately describe a complex country of over 120 tribes and languages. The tagline was left out intentionally, and you’ll see why in the follow-up post.
Although Tanzania is quickly becoming a traveler’s preferred Sub-Saharan African destination, the brand seems to be a forgotten element which can quickly amplify the countries qualities, helping attract a larger group of tourists. The logo in this post and ultimately the brand will showcase a badge we can wear proudly and will resonate with all types of traveler also help educate people on what side of the border Mount Kilimanjaro lies.