Sanjeev Kotnala: Whose logo is it anyway?

13 Jan,2016

By Sanjeev Kotnala


The theme for Adfest Pattaya 2016 to be held  from February 16-20  is ‘Creative Intelligence’. Its logo has been designed by  Washington DC-based  award-winning studio Design Army.


The new logo shape personifies the human brain, and represents the infrastructure base for our creativity. In illustrated concepts, the logo is surrounded by impossible shapes and eternal stairwells, which represent the information that swarms around us day after day; before embedding into our minds, changing, transforming and leaving as the start of an idea.



Is it too much of an explanation for a simple event with a simple focused theme?

The design is the outcome of theme interpretation by Design Army. As per Pum Lefebure, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Design Army, “‘Creative Intelligence’ is the ability to connect the dots in the information overload we receive on a daily basis. It is the way you sort through masses of text and visuals to pick and choose what is important and authentic, and translate that into an idea.”


Additionally, a tiny red ball appears in each design execution, tying the concept together and embodying the idea of ‘Creative Intelligence’ – the ball represents ideas moving throughout our brains.


Now Lefebure must know her business. She is an award-winning creative director and business leader. She was recently named by Graphic Design USA as one of the Top 50 People to Watch and singled out as a Rising Star by the Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business. Her work has won countless awards at shows including D&AD, One Show and AIGA. I am no one to question her design or her interpretation.


I am a consumer of such events. A delegate.  I speak from a consumer/ audience point of view.


Design for such a simple 3-4-day event with a focused  simplified theme has led to such an complicated logo that someone needs to take pains to explain the over-graphic elements.


The process-led approach and interpretation has led to the complex design. Creative Intelligence on the other side could be considered as a positive productive output orientation that simplifies things, connect the dots and is able to produce relevant-easy to transmit message codes. In that case simplicity would remain the dominant guiding force.


It is a point of view, which may not be shared by many. To me, the last year logo was an experience in simplified communication.



The elements from were easy to adapt in every communication and they left their mark figuratively and literally.  It spoke in a very young colloquial way the language  ‘Be Bad’.


Look at 2014 ‘co-creating the future’ and 2013 – ‘connecting the dots’ and I would rest my case.


Just to take the argument further. Look at Adasia


Look at Goafest


All of these are almost self-explanatory. There are elements that are unobtrusive and easy to handle in multiple situations. There is no need to explain to the august industry representative what and why of the logo design.


I personally believe that in the name of graphic elements, Design Army has over-complicated the logo. That’s a point of view I have. Maybe I am old fashioned in my approach.


Then I checked the Cannes logo through the year. The biggest brand in Industry led global festival. It is so simple. It is well established and understood for what it will deliver. The respect exist and the only thing that changes is the number and the year.



It does not even needs to specify its theme loudly, as it is understood that it will be at the current frontier of thinking.


At the end I am not biased toward thematic and non-thematic direction for Industry event. I think themes do add a functional focus and defines expectations. What I promote is simplicity and real functionality in visualization.


Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the Founder of Intradia World. A Brand, Marketing & Management Advisor, he focuses on IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and INNOVATION (InNoWait) process and workshops. He is also a certified Life & ‘Mid life transition’ coach.Email tweet @s_kotnala web:


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