This week the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) celebrated its 40th year by splurging P3 million on a brand new logo that unfortunately, was instantly met with almost unanimous jeers from netizens as soon as it was unveiled to the public.
While the old Pagcor logo which depicts a pair go green hands holding the sun, is admittedly a bit dated, this new P3M refresh which is supposed to resemble flames to supposedly symbolize the agency igniting change and progress, just looks cheap, ugly and not worth 3 million Pesos.
Some said it looked like a wavy logo of gas company Petron. Others said it looked like a diving, two-toned cockfighting rooster. I’ve probably just been hearing too much Diablo 4 talk, but I saw a pointy-bearded demon with two blue horns.
According to the notice of award posted on the Pagcor website, which showed that the logo redesign was worth over P3M, the job was given to Francisco “Dopy” Doplon of Printplus Graphics Services, who has done work for the Cultural Center of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, Metrobank Foundation, and All Day Supermarket. So at least, the Filipino public can take comfort that our precious P3M wasn’t given to a ghost graphic artist that needs to be Scooby Doo’d.
However, the fact remains that Pagcor unnecessarily spent P3M on a new logo that is generally regarded as pretty damn ugly, which if you come to think of it, seems to be a recent trend among government agencies.
The other recent rebranding fiasco we taxpayers have been obliviously funding is the “Love the Philippines” of the Department of Tourism, which aside from not being that much better than previous iterations, even managed to garner international shame for piss-poor execution when its promotional video was discovered to have used stock video clips of places that weren’t even in the country, to depict places that were supposed to be in the Philippines. It doesn’t get more messed up than that, but that’s what a nation gets when its people start to lower their standards I guess.
Also remember the new Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas logo that changed a 10-year-old one, which also bombed the reviews section? Nobody knows how much that one cost, because after a website reported that it spent P52.5 million on it, the BSP denied such frivolous spending, counter claiming that their baduy gold eagle logo was developed by in-house talent. That logo refresh was also bashed by graphic artists on social media who preferred the current logo, which was modern and minimalist, compared to the new one, which was aptly described as “fascist.”
However, when I did some googling over this logo issue, the ultimate king of bad logos turned out to be that of the 2019 SEA Games, which the Philippines hosted. That horrible example of graphic design, which the Filipino taxpayer must’ve paid for, featured 11 rings of different shapes and colors that were grouped together to roughly resemble a map of the country. If the Pagcor 40th anniversary logo looked like it was done by a high schooler, that one looked like it came straight out of preschool.
What makes this logomania or urge to rebrand frustrating is that it not only that the poor taste of final output makes Filipino graphic designers look bad, but it is also an unnecessary cost that is shouldered by the Filipino taxpayer. Of all the things that need to be done in this poor country, new logos should be ranked among the last, especially if those turn out to be ugly anyway.
The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should apply to the logos of our government. Nobody expects cool logos from the different departments that grade school children are forced to memorize, so why spend millions on logos that nobody cares about anyway? The Pagcor logo may have been boring and dated, but it was, by definition never broken, and whoever made the decision to spend P3M and choose the ugliest from the lot is just bollocks.
Maybe one day, if good governance somehow allows our nation to be rich and our magical Maharlika Investment Fund is actually funded from so much real surplus money that we can chuck away millions for logos and rebranding, we can have all the ugly logos we want, even change it every month if that is our wish. But for now, in this poor country that continues to struggle with corruption and mediocrity, it might make sense for government officials to be mandated to stay away from messing with logos.
Commenting on silly P3M logos might be considered nitpicking by some, but if a government agency can’t even get a simple logo right, how are we to expect them to do their jobs properly when it comes to issues that matter?*