The best and worst of the world’s tourism logos

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In 2013, the Economic Development Board of South Australia introduced a new brand identity to more or less unanimous mockery and derision. “A folded milk carton. A monopoly hotel. Hideously disappointing. Conservative and boring” declared one reporter.

154110-sa-brand-logo

South Australia’s new logo drew derisive remarks like, “Last one out, please shut the door”

The debacle got us interested in the whole world of “destination branding” and holy smoke, it is a weird, weird niche. Beyond the inherent strangeness in treating a location as a product to be branded (sometimes with its own tagline!—“Texas: It’s like a whole other country”), we found the existing logos for the world’s countries and cities to completely run the gamut in terms of “cool” factor and basic quality.

For example, Amsterdam’s logo with the 3 X’s (found all around the city) is way too cool for school. We wouldn’t expect to find a logo this severely minimal outside the world of indie pop music, let alone in tourism. But it is balanced with the city’s “I AMsterdam” branding, which is a pleasing logo for any tourist:
amsterdamnew
The Amsterdam tourism logo is stark and sleek.
 
 
The logo for the US state of Wisconsin, by contrast, is one of the dorkiest things we’ve ever seen:
wisconsin
Nothing says “fun” like the silhouette of an upside-down child
 
And this abstract design for the English town of Burnley? Truly beyond words:
burnley
It is hard to imagine this computer-generated rubberband ball-type-thing represents the character of small town Burnley
 
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Without further adieu, the best and worst of the world’s destination logos.

The Best

victoria2

A striking, versatile mark for London’s central Victoria district

phl

The US city of Philadelphia takes a minimal approach, the beauty of which shines in its endless implementations

melbourne

The crystalline, mathematical look of Melbourne’s logo has become the holy grail of destination branding

spturis_logo_detail

São Paolo’s logo is bright, inviting and legible without being generic

egypt

Egypt’s logo is youthful, relaxed and seamlessly works in some traditional symbolism

Print

Peru’s logo likewise incorporates a cultural motif to produce a distinctive brand mark

url

This rich mining area on the border of Germany and the Czech Republic selected a fantastic logo that is anything but provincial

url-1

Finland’s logo is memorably abstract and incorporates gorgeous color

odessa

Odessa’s simple anchor logo references its defining location on the coast of the Black Sea and is paired with a beautiful typeface

georgetown

A star and playful brogue pattern nicely convey the character of this trendy district within the US capitol

The Worst

czech

Hard to imagine it getting more basic than this. 

italia

That “T” looks like a number of things, none of which are the Italian peninsula. Add some awful upper/lower case mixing and you get a real disaster

url

That abstract mark in the national colors just doesn’t quite say inviting

hague

The Hague, one of Holland’s most beautiful areas, is not well represented by this crude kite design

korea_logo

Korea may be sparkling. This logo certainly is not

switzerland_logo

Switzerland’s logo might just take the cake, with its combination of that weird golden starfish and the mystifying phrase “get natural”

url-3

I need Spain’s logo is a mix of too many different styles and fonts, making it hard to know where to focus.

Need a logo?

Try our free Logomaker and bring your brand to life today!

Author: Alex Bigman