Australia Day logo before and after

Australia Day logo before and after

Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. In present-day Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation, and are marked by community and family events such as outdoor concerts, barbecues, sports competitions, festivals, fireworks, as well as citizenship ceremonies and community awards. (Wikipedia)

The National Australia Day Council, which coordinates the day’s events and celebrations with organisations and committees in every state, recently revealed a new logo to represent the overarching identity of the national holiday.

Old Australia Day logo detail

Old Australia Day logo detail

The old logo was said to represent “togetherness while respecting the diversity and distinctive nature of Australia’s people and landscape”, while the ribbons conveyed “dynamism of pride, spirit and celebration.” It’s a solid rationale. The flowing ribbons certainly felt festive and energetic, and the colours spoke to the country’s unequivocal diversity. That the ribbons were drawn to reflect the shape of the actual country was fine. It’s very easy for a logo design to feel contrived when it’s made to fit a certain shape, but if any logo deserves to go down the shape-of-Australia route, it would be this one. The typeface, being TheSans in Semi Light, was a no-nonsense accompaniment to the ribbons; its generous apertures in letters like s and a complemented their airiness. A satisfactory design overall.

New Australia Day logo detail

New Australia Day logo detail

The new logo presents a different take on the ribbon motif, featuring three main swathes of colour which come together once again in the shape of the country. This time, though, the shape is more abstract, and pleasingly so. The contrast of thick and thin sections creates drama, and the butting up of gradients produces an eye-catching impression of depth.

The choice of colours is quite nice too; the move away from primary colours to these purple, orange and teal tones feels really mature and dynamic. In my mind, I’m drawing stronger meanings from the colours which I didn’t previously – orange for the Australian outback, blue for the sea and our coastal lifestyles, and purple for pride and our diverse people.

The typeface, a geometric sans, complements the graphic well with its low contrast strokes, plus its bold weight helps counterbalance the salience of the graphic. (Update, Feb. 2018: the typeface is Poppins by Indian Type Foundry.) I feel that the two words could be ever so slightly closer together, though, but maybe I’ve been staring at them for too long.

Overall, the new logo successfully captures the essence of Australia and I’d be proud to see it represent our national day.