Readers express their opinions on the country’s new logo

Nearly all readers who responded to the invitation Thursday to comment on the country’s new Esencial Costa Rica logo said they did not like it or understand it.

Many preferred the slap-dash logo created by A.M. Costa Rica editors. Although editors are confident that the creation of the national logo was a transparent process, some reader thought the final product hinted at corruption or misuse of funds. Considering other cases of corruption in the country, they can be forgiven their concern.

Some hit on what probably is the real difficulty in creating this logo or slogan to represent the country: It was the product of a committee.

Jorge Sequeira, the general manager of the country’s promotional organization, was the chairman if the inter-institutional committee that designed the logo. The organization is the non-profit  Promotora de Comercio Exterior.

Here are all the opinions of readers that were received by 5 p.m. Thursday roughly in the order they came in:

Thumbs down

This is just one more thing Costa Rica has screwed up and took 5 years to do. They take for ever to get anything done and almost always the decision they make turns out to be wrong. I have no idea what it says or what it means. I wonder how many people were employed to figure this out and who made money on it. Thanks for your comments. I would think fixing roads and helping there people would be more important than something like this.

Phillip Steward
Houston, Texas
and formerly of Costa Rica

Thumbs down

Cannot read the first word – bad design.

Del Trobak

Thumbs down

The new logo is ridiculous.  It shows, tells NOTHING about the country.  It looks like someone was trying to be slick and sophisticated, but falls completely flat.  Totally unimpressive.  The script is difficult to read, and the entire image so boring that most people probably will not even bother trying.

Your logo is eye-catching, interesting, and actually conveys a lot about the country.  (I’m not crazy about the big red “It’s Great” but that could easily be replaced with a different catch phrase, maybe something like “Pure and Natural” in rainbow colors (a 30-second idea.)  Altogether, your 5-minute mock-up far surpasses the lame 5-year project results of whoever or whatever committee put that logo together.

Glen Love
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

thumbs down

I’d hire you any day for a quick logo design that say something a person can understand.  My head swims with wonder over a 5-year effort to come up with what the professionals came up with.  Wonders never cease! Oh well, I’m pretty sure this logo will go over about as well as all the rest of the lead balloons.

Robert Russell
Santa Ana

Thumbs down

Truly, the new logo is unimaginative and fails to capture the unique natural attributes of Costa Rica. Whereas, “our humble effort” does exactly that! The new logo is a failure, IMHO!   Bien hecho!!

Michael Connolly
Santa Cecilia de San Isidro de Heredia

Thumbs down

I think your effort far surpasses the official  logo. The logic of the official one is very difficult  to understand and certainly doesn’t stir up any desire to visit Costa Rica. Is is true that this clumsy logo is really the result of  a long professional study ? It doesn’t illustrate anything about Costa Rica.

Richard Orr
Monroe, Connecticut

Thumbs down

The video is well done. The logo is crap. It means nothing, does not present any image or any feelings.

Martha Usztan
Playa Hermosa

Thumbs down

In regards to the logo: I have to think when it comes to logos, K.I.S.S. is best. Keep It Simple, Silly: so everyone gets it. It would seem, in typical fashion, the government hired someone with lots of education (¿a politicos relative?) and little to no tourism experience to design it. And more typically: misspent colones. Pura Vida.

Karl Van Horn

Thumbs down

I to thought the first letter was a “g.”  This slogan means nothing to me as an expat.  As a retired engineer, I may not be the most literate person, but I just don’t get anything from this.  I don’t think  that tourists will get anything either.  As for the other two target groups, good luck. Yours is much better.

Abigail Novoa


Thumbs down

The new logo dreamed up by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo and the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior, or their consultants, Esencial Costa Rica, or Essential Costa Rica in English, conveys very little to English-speaking people.  “Essential” primarily refers to something that is necessary in English, not a useful concept for attracting either tourists or investors.  I hate to think how much money these dysfunctional agencies wasted on the effort.  To be sure, friends of the jefes, or their relatives, made out well, in the essential Costa Rican manner.

Loren B. Ford

Thumbs down

I agree, the lettering on the new logo is misleading . I, myself, thought when I first read it that it was a ” j “. The video put out by Cardona is nice very effective for the citizenry of Costa Rica but I do not think for tourism.

Jaime Fernandez
New Orleans

Thumbs down

I can’t believe it. I would give it a c- and that is being kind. The toucan logo is far better.

Esteban Acedo.


Thumbs down

It’s confusing and really doesn’t say anything. Looks like a logo that came out of a committee instead of a good designer. With to many opinions comes a logo that gets so watered down it really doesn’t say anything. Plus, I had to read your text to even know what the word was. Bad font choice. Never, ever use a hard-to-read script font in a logo. They will need to either use a word in English or a recognizable word in Spanish.  Some would immediately object to an English word, and I understand why, but who is your audience? Where will this logo be shown? It should evoke a longing. Stir your soul. And bring a sense of I need Costa Rica and now.

Options in English: Let go, Experience letting go, Experience true richness.  Enhance your life, Join nature. It’s time for wild.

Options in Spanish: Vida rica, Mejora tu vida, Es el momento, Encontrar su pura vida, Naturaleza está llamando

Costa Rica should be on the top of the logo with the tagline following. The font should be simple and classy. The tagline could even be the same or similar font only italicized. The images should be additions and used only when it makes sense. Illustrations as opposed to photos would be my recommendation.

Scott Dinsmore

Thumbs down

To me this says nothing.  Essential is difficult to read.  Where is the ocean, animals, plants.  Anything that would invite me to visit. Essential for what?

Margo Ackerman


Thumbs down

They spend years on research, investigating and interviewing people internationally, spend tons of money and THIS is what they came up with??? What a complete waste of time and money, that logo. I’m no marketing pro, but if you have to explain a logo, you’re doing something wrong. A logo should be instantly recognizable and appeal to people. They immediately have to know what it is about. The costly Esencial logo misses the mark by, oh, only by about a couple of miles or so. Yours is a lot more appealing.

Rudi & Odette Koster
Playas del Coco,
Thumbs down

The swirling cursive reminds me of an ad for an aesthetic clinic.  Rejuvenation spas and plastic surgeons should love it.

Jim Saxon
Thumbs down

I personally like the logo with the Toucan with Costa Rica written below. I don’t care for “It’s Great”  Everyone knows that at this point.  If anything, it should be “Pura Vida” instead. The first logo is absolutely awful.  No birds, flowers, rainforest.
Nothing to denote the natural beauty of Costa Rica. I have been to Costa Rica 12 times in the past 9 years, and this logo
should be thrown out.

Sylvia Mastandrea
New York City.
Thumbs down

Well really, what do you expect? I mean, here we are in a place that fosters self esteem, pride and self-worth without attendant accomplishment, the solution to providing jobs for a population with a 50 percent high school drop-out rate is a bloated, indifferent and inefficient bureaucracy that is famously corrupt, and punctuality consists of “cinco minutos” that makes mañana look like it’s in a hurry. Congratulations on a fine and truly communicative logo.

San Ramon de Alajuela

Thumbs down
Very disheartening.  It has  put back the “meh ”  in  “mediocre.”  Unbelievable;  it has so little charm and actual expression about anything. It seem as if there is an aggressive campaign to destroy what little is left of Costa Rican tourism. What a complete lack of talent and creativity. Love the Toucan!

Michael Moncarz
vita de Osa, Puntarenas
Thumbs down

The word  esencial . . .  I have a master degree and, I had to think what the meaning of esencial means. I think the logo is loco. important Costa Rica, wow????

J. Britt Henry
San José
Thumbs down

The new logo is a perfect example of Tico thinking. “Let’s have endless meetings and all voice our opinions for five years and still come up with something that doesn’t work.” Did someone’s uncle get paid to produce this? Maybe one hours work with a world class ad agency or graphic designer could have been money better spent.

David Dion
Boquete, Panama
thumbs down

For me, the people who benefit the most are those paid to create the logo.  If tourism increases significantly, not just the normal rate, maybe it will prove effective. It would be better to use the money paid for the logo for a more effective marketing plan.  The “s” in the script word is hard to decipher.  The point of Web sites, ads and logos is readability.

Helen Dunn Frame
San Rafael de Santa Ana.
Thumbs down

I like “It’s Great Costa Rica” better, but I don’t think either one has much value pulling tourists or selling products. They are just paja  that I would ignore. Do something real about all the waterways being polluted, criminal insecurity, pot holes in roads, drug trafficking, shark fins, failing health care and then talk about that, That would have some merit. Stop ICT wasting money in foolish advertising and corrupt projects,

Joseph Lassiter
Playa Hermosa, Guaancaste
Thumbs down

Being in the tourism business here in Costa Rica for more than 20 years, I am always happy to see efforts being made to promote tourism to Costa Rica.  The new logo is confusing. I agree with the reader who thought  the initial letter was a g, and  had trouble understanding what it meant.  I, too, had trouble understanding it.  Your new logo looks great.  It speaks  Costa Rica and everyone can understand it.   I would be proud to have it listed on my own promotional material.

Joanne Carter

It is esential to understand that the toucans are hard to find these days Better let school children come up with a new logo!

John Manners
Pavas Centro
Thumbs down

That new logo is a joke. To a Gringo, it means nothing. A logo should have a graphic that will stick in the minds of the reader. It’s almost impossible to believe that focus groups approved it.

Harley Toberman
Playa Dominicalito
Thumbs down

The new logo is pretty goofy if one has to create a video to explain it.  I like your version much better.

Deborah Gallagher
Silverton, Oregon
thumbs down

The chosen script is not clear, and if it IS “essential” then I get the impression that you can expect a room with a door and lock, a bed, a bath room and little else, “just the essentials, please.”  For the foreign investor, he will not get anything out of “esencial.” He will consult with his friends.  And if we are referring to product quality, then that must mean that this is the empire of “copies:” a rag made in Alajuela with a fancy name-brand ticket made in Aserri.  The essentials:  the rag and the ticket.   I must admit I like the toucan better.

O. Lamoree D.
thumbs down

Let’s see now, is that a “y,’ a “g,’ an “ej,’ possibly an “es’? No, it’s a stylized “s’ drawing too much attention to itself.

And what does “esencial’ have to do with tourism, eco-tourism, or a new country to move to, or what does it have to do with business?  It’s asking too much of me the reader to decipher what it says literally and then to interpret its significance—It should just reach out and grab me intuitively, not analytically. Your “humble effort’ is much more effective, but I would place “Costa Rica’ at the top of the logo rather than at the bottom.

Costa Rica
It’s Great!

I get it without effort in all its splendid glory.

Christen Lynn
Puerto Viejo de Limon
Thumbs up

In my opinion it’s a grown-up and elegant logo. The ‘esencial’ is easy to read, it has flair and energy. Without the usual tree frogs, toucans and tropical rainbow colors it goes beyond the backpackers and presents the country as a contemporary partner to a wide range of business interests. Different shades of green still represent diverse biotops, our mountains, coffee, rain forests, ect. The script echoes volcanic peaks as well as ocean waves. I like it. I haven’t seen the video yet, so I don’t know, what the designers intended message is. It doesn’t surprise me that it was a 5-year process, most of which gathering dust on one desk after another, no doubt!

Claudia MK Leon
Mountain Home, Texas
Thumbs down

A.M. Costa Rica wins by a mile!  Whoever designed the Esencial Costa Rica doesn’t connect with the world at all, although the video is quite interesting.

Linda Templeton
Playas del Coco


This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.