Irfanvertising | Enchanting… Disenchanting…

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Has Tamil Nadu Tourism changed its branding, or is about to? For I came across a new logo and new baseline for the state-run enterprise.

The earlier/present logo is a lower-case ‘t’ forming a type of ornamental umbrella typical in South India, with the baseline ‘Enchanting Tamil Nadu’.

Present/Earlier Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

But this morning, while on my way back from my walk, came across a taxi with a new logo and baseline. Caught my eye, walked back to look at it properly.

New Tamil Nadu Tourism logo

Love the new logo, for its clever use of this letter and sound exclusive to the Tamil script/language (or at the most shared with one other language, Malayalam). In fact, it’s the last letter of ‘Tamil’, and the ‘l’ is actually not an ‘l’, or rather, a very palate-filled ‘l’. In English, it’s written as ‘zh’ and pronounced like a very heavy ‘l’.

Tamil/Tamizh written in Tamil/Tamizh script Illustration of how to pronounce the three 'ls' in the Tamil/Tamizh script/language

The closest sound I can think of in another Indian language is the infinity-looking ‘l’ in Marathi.

The rolling 'l' in Marathi

So, the ‘l’ of ‘tamil’ and the ‘n’ of ‘nadu’ form this letter in the logo. Very tamilian, or rather, very tamizhian. And very clever.

The baseline seems to have changed too, or rather, there seems to be a baseline now. But pity. It’s similar to the Kerala Tourism baseline (‘God’s Own Country’): ‘God’s Living Country’. Waters down the efforts of the clever logo. Why base your promise on that of some other brand/state? You had built a promise – enchanting. Why not use it, for something like ‘Enchant Your Soul’? Works perfectly for a place where people come for things spiritual (temples and Auroville), artsy (Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music), and relaxation by the sea (from Marina to Kanyakumari).

Hope this is a test run then. For that gives them time to fix this.

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