Monday, May 5, 2008

That's better. A 60th birthday logo that doesn't tear Israel apart

Without fanfare, a cleaned-up version of Israel's official 60th anniversary logo has started turning up.

The revised logo appeared in a government advertisement in the Haaretz newspaper's May 2 Hebrew weekend magazine. What's new about it is that the country's name --- ישראל --- no longer is torn apart. It now appears as one unbroken word.

The original logo, which won a prize from a committee that picked it, ripped Israel into two unequal pieces, leaving "el" floating by itself, separated from the rest of the country's name. This typographic atrocity appeared in both the English and the Hebrew versions. There was no apparent reason for it, unless perhaps the committee that chose this logo thought it looked more original than competing designs which spelled the country's name the same old way that everyone else spells it.

The revised logo already decorates the website of the official 60th Anniversary Administration. The old design continues to appear in many other places. At this writing, these include the websites of the Prime Minister's office and a public relations firm which is promoting the birthday events.

Thousands of visitors to this blog have seen our September 2007 article finding fault with the old logo. We kvetched, "At first glance, the winning logo seems to express the confusion that afflicts Israel in many ways today. Even the country's name is typographically ripped apart."

It would be nice to think that our criticism helped bring about the change, but we could not have been alone in complaining. You don't have to be a design genius to see that the old logo didn't look good. The new logo is a big improvement.

-- Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv

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