By now it's pretty clear that you all hated that SEA Games logo, and we don't blame you.
The supposed logo for the 30th SEA Games set to take place in the country in 2019 was recently presented by the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee at the Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly in Jakarta, and as soon as the image leaked online, netizens (and even brands!) dragged it through the mud with jokes, memes, and scathing commentary on its rubber band-recalling look. While Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general Patrick Gregorio has assured everyone that the logo is not yet final and the released image is just a "peg," until a final logo is unveiled, it’s safe to assume that those rubber band jokes will keep coming.
Enter Davao-based freelance logo and brand designer R. Gary Bautista, who goes by "RGB Designs" in his work. Instead of adding his voice to the chorus of rants that was reaching fever pitch on social media, Gary decided to reimagine the SEA Games logo.
In a Facebook post published on August 20, Gary wrote: "So the official logo for the 30th SEA Games has been released and the reactions have been...interesting. So many have expressed their feelings toward the approved design. I too have many thoughts about it but instead of blurting them out, I thought I'd rather just show how I personally would've executed the same concept."
The image in Gary's Facebook post retains the unveiled logo's colored rings concept but ditches the Philippine archipelago shape in favor of another Philippine symbol: the Phillippine eagle. He admits that he got the number of rings wrong in the image he uploaded to Facebook—it shows 12 rings instead of 11 that stands for the number of participating countries—but he has since made a revision of it.
As of this writing, Gary's post has garnered over 22,000 reactions and over 7,600 shares, even catching the attention of the media—his work has been featured in news and lifestyle websites and appeared briefly in GMA's 24 Oras.
Gary tells us how he felt when he first saw that SEA Games logo, and TBH, it's what a lot of us felt: "It did not excite me and I thought it didn’t feel like the event that it was supposed to represent." He continues, "In my view, the unveiled design didn't seem like it was representing a massive, intercontinental athletic event. The design is soft and lifeless, but when you think of the SEA Games, you think of it as firm and active."
Gary then got busy making his own design—but not just any design. "I had to make sure that my revision would be parallel to the unveiled design. That way, my logo could possibly still be in line with the client brief that the original designer followed," he says.
He was on board with the original idea of using 11 rings to represent the participating countries, but in his view, what was problematic was the shape of the Philippine archipelago, so he sought to find another way to symbolize the host country. "I still couldn't find that symbol at first so I just experimented with the rings until I realized that putting them in a circle gifts me with a negative space in the middle that I can play with," he reveals. "It dawned on me that the way that the rings curve together resembles feathers; therefore, the obvious choice for the symbol was the Philippine eagle."
Gary says that the whole execution process took around 20 minutes, after which he posted it on Facebook and Instagram, and BAM! VIRAL GOLD.
A self-taught professional designer for 11 years now, Gary's clients come mostly from abroad, and they cover different industries. Interestingly, here's an international client of his you might have heard of: the family from that viral YouTube video "Charlie bit my finger – again!" He designed the logo for their online identity called Charlie Bit Me—you can see his work on their YouTube channel.
Growing up, Gary had always been fascinated by logos and their power over consumers, so it's no wonder that as a professional, he likes to put his own spin on famous logos just for his own amusement and as a way to sharpen his skills.
"As a logo designer, I naturally notice local branding designs that I feel could be improved, so I often take note of those brands and keep a list of them," he shares. "When I feel creatively drained, I go to this list and try and redesign one of them."
Gary is quick to clarify that these redesigns are creative exercises and not meant to attack any designer or brand. For the SEA Games redesign in particular, he says, "I want the people behind it to know that I meant no offense and I recognize their right to craft design proposals exactly the way they want to. They are the ones in the appropriate position, not me."
Below, Gary shares some other redesigns he's done.
On his Palawan Express redesign: "I just wanted their logo to look as valuable as they truly are, but still keep the fun."
On his Zest-O redesign: "This one is a total rebrand, which the company probably doesn't need. I just wanted to see if I could make it look premium and exclusive."
On his Jollibee redesign: "This I probably took the most serious among my redesigns since it's such a recognizable brand. I just believe that if our local brand would compete with international competitors, it should have a logo with the same international feel. I also tried to see if I could insert a fast food element in the logo, which is what I did with the burger on Jollibee's bee-hind."
Now, before you go up in arms—how dare anyone touch Jollibee's bee-hind?!?—Gary assures everyone that this is all for fun. "I'm sure a lot of these are not in line with the company's intended brand image, but if they happen to want them, they can always get in touch with me," he says.
You heard the man, Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee prospective clients.