How will the world know us? As illiterate, maybe?

Our provincial government unveiled the new logo for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador today:
New NL&Lab Logo

I have no real complaints about it. It’s a little bland, perhaps, and lacks a conjunction (the word “and” is missing), but apart from those minor details, it doesn’t really bother me at all. In some sense, the graphic has a weird sci-fi feel to it, which should appeal to my husband.

What truly knocked my socks off (in the totally negative sense of the word) was the press release on the government web page.

How will the world know us? My guess is as unable to construct a complete sentence and possessing a complete absence of an ability to properly use incorrect sentence construction for dramatic effect. Using fractured sentences sporadically and for effect is one thing, but if every second sentence of your writing is incomplete, the effect is entirely lost. When you further throw in a sentence that begins with a conjunction and then demonstrate an utter lack of knowledge of how to use punctuation (semi-colons are useful things, boys and girls), the overall effect is seriously diminished.

Really, folks. Put the money into the education system, if that’s how we will be known to write.

Addendum: RJ over at Product of Newfoundland has his say.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m not fond of the logo. The lack of an “and” is one thing, but no one else in the world will know what those alien-heads actually are. The leaves that give the plant its name aren’t shown, and the flowers don’t generally face forward like that.

    Official site: thanks for providing the link, since the CBC item didn’t. (Stunned.) Scripts for videos should never be shown in print. ( I assume it’s for the video – I can’t view it at work.) “Why Use the Pitcher Plant?” is just as bad.

    Finally… here are 26 Newfoundland Pitcher Plants, real ones. Much better looking.

    Flores no jardim
  2. VickyTH says:

    I thought the flower heads looked like alien eyeballs out of some sort of a science fiction movie. I’m sure there were creatures in Star Wars with similar optical organs.
    I applaud them for at least keeping the provincial flower in some form, although I agree that they could have done a better job. Think of it this way, MUN gave us a red brick…. Anything else is bound to look good by comparison. Come to think of it, maybe that was MUN’s point?

  3. sarai says:

    I like how it looks, and agree with you both on the “what’s that a pitcher of?” strangeness.

    As for the grammar, that’s quite spectacular, isn’t it?!

  4. rexton says:

    CBC added the link. Maybe they heard you, Heather.

    Regarding the artwork itself, the three bulbs look like they are cocked and ready to fire some weapon; maybe they are being blown back by the wind? They don’t actually look that much like pitcher plants, but they’re okay. I don’t know why they removed the “and”, but it’s not that important.

    I won’t deny that a pitcher plant is something we can identify with, but aren’t there stronger symbols of Newfoundland? For strength in adversity, and as a reflection of how we are acted upon but adapt to harsh conditions, something like tuckamore is an interesting possibility. It is also commonly found near the coast, like us for most of our history. It would also be nice if the symbol had more to do with the ocean, the main source of our survival for so much of our history.
    Maybe a humpback whale, or something based on a ship or boat?

    I think the video is excellent, especially the voice singing. It feels like the best of the Canadian Vignettes that were on TV when I was a kid, like the changing faces one. It’s interesting that the main bird was the puffin, for some reason, :-). I think they could have added a couple of moose.

    The text in the press release sounds like a bad, punchy style commercial. One thing that bothered me were a few mis-statements of fact buried in their flowery paeon. I’d be reading along and enduring their prose, and a blooper would pop up and distract me from the message (but maybe that wasn’t a bad thing).

    These items bothered me:

    “Because who can’t help but smile at something that lives on a rock, where nothing else grows?” They grow in boggy ground, the last time I looked.

    “And its roots go deep into the rock it calls home.” See above.

    “Generations have looked upon it, and smiled, knowing that it’s ours, and ours alone.” They’re not just in Newfoundland and Labrador, and while they are special to us, I’m uncomfortable with the message here.

    Overall, the brand art doesn’t bother me much, and bad writing style during the launch is annoying but doesn’t detract from my appreciation of the symbolism and art. Hopefully they’ll write better for the ad campaign, and maybe they’ll consult people who know more about Newfoundland and Labrador, including our plant life.

  5. Doug says:

    Another thought.

    The company who developed this is Target Marketing and Communications, Inc., and is based out of Massechusetts. One could argue that bad English reflects more on them than on us, except insofar as our government hired them.

    However, I’m not that impressed by the language of some of our representatives, so I’m not actually going to aim any canards at Target.

    BTW, back to the press release. There was significant attention focussed on the creativity of Pitcher Plants. If true, this is a definite breakthrough, and may indicate vegetable sentience. Maybe Roses are sharper than we thought. Or maybe the term couch potato may produce libel suits by a misunderstood group; whole new fields of endeveavor may prove very fruitful.

  6. Doug says:

    Massachusetts, not Massechusetts. Sorry about the slip of my finger. It would be nice if I could edit my comments once I’m finished writing, and can see the message in it’s entirety. Maybe next year (sigh).

  7. Rj says:

    Here’s a little idea/challenge that might be of some interest to readers.

  8. Mike says:

    Doug, FYI, Target is based in St. John’s. It has only one office – and that is in St. John’s. There may well be another Target Marketing in Massachusetts, but it is not affiliated. I know a few people who work there, so I know. Try

  9. rexton says:

    Thanks Mike. I guess I can’t blame American commercial advertising for the writing style in the press release. I do find the video very good, and I have no problems with the actual logo, so overall I’d call it a good job.

  10. I finally got to see the video, which I agree is the nicest thing about this whole affair. (I don’t recognise the singer – does anyone know who it is?) Won’t be doing a logo, since I have the artistic ability of a lump of green putty. I like the submissions so far, though.

    By the way: Not only does the single page of appear completely useless with annoying embedded sound, but Doug’s justified in his mistake – I couldn’t find Target Marketing, the Newfoundland version, ANYWHERE on Google. Try it. Weird.

  11. sarai says:

    The singer, it appears, is Melissa Murphy, a 15-year-old from St. John’s. I am taking this information from the premier’s speaking notes for the logo release:

  12. rexton says:

    I saw the same reference. I hope we hear more of her; that voice is wonderful, and the video works nicely.

    Heather, thanks for that. I waited for five minutes for that jellyfish to do something; no luck.

    Regarding Target Marketing, I did get some info at The Independant.
    They have a “miniscule” $8,000,000 budget! They have won at least one prestigious international award. And I just found another. From a quick search I get the impression they are pretty effective and well known.

    Here are the commercials to be aired in Ontario. I have to say I’m impressed with the cinematography, and the script isn’t too bad. I think they may be doing a good job (It makes me want to come back :-)). However, I didn’t see our “brand” in any of the commercials. Hmmm.

  13. I ADORE the commercials at . I saw them on YouTube some time ago, so they were released before this branding thing came along.

    Re: Target Marketing: yes, they’re a fairly common byline around here. What I meant re: Google was, I went looking for another “real” webpage, hoping was either old and defunct or new and in beta. I couldn’t find any other, and I couldn’t find, either.

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