A golden wattle-inspired logo created to spruik Australian products at international trade shows is being reworked after it was widely mocked for looking like a coronavirus cell.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham confirmed on Thursday the star burst-like logo, with the letters AU at the centre, was being carefully looked at.
“Obviously, COVID means there’s a need to have a look at that piece of work, particularly the logo element, given some of the associations people were drawing,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.
“A careful look will be had before anything else is done with that in the future.”
The logo was developed – at a cost of $10 million – as part of an overall branding exercise conducted by a business advisory group appointed by the federal government a couple of years ago.
The National Brand Advisory Council is made up of national business leaders, including mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, Glenn Cooper of Coopers brewery (and The Australia Made Campaign) and Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate.
It finished its work on the replacement logo at the end of 2019.
But when the new design was revealed in all its golden glory in July, there was widespread confusion about its role.
Many wrongly assumed it was intended to replace the green and gold Australian Made logo – and reacted angrily to what they considered an inferior replacement.
Even China weighed in, with government media mouthpiece the Global Times suggesting the change was a sign of Australia’s growing anxiety over its prospects amid an increasingly fractious relationship with its biggest trading partner.
“To a certain extent, the use of the controversial new logo may underscore [the] Australian government’s eagerness to promote its profile in the global marketplace,” the tabloid wrote.
Senator Birmingham said on Thursday the wattle-inspired design had never been intended to replace the famous kangaroo, which has been in use since the 1980s.