The Youth and Sports Ministry has decided to change the logo and mascot of the 2018 Asian Games after the designs drew widespread criticism from the public.
The official logo and mascot were unveiled by Vice President Jusuf Kalla last week.
The mascot depicts a cendrawasih (bird of paradise), a rare species in Indonesia, found exclusively in Papua. Named Drawa, the mascot was depicted as a green bird with yellow wings and legs and a colorful tail, shown in an outfit used by pencak silat (traditional martial arts) athletes.
Shortly after it went public, however, people criticized the design of the mascot, with some calling it old-fashioned and uncreative.
'Although we have launched the logo and mascot of the Asian Games, we've listened to input from residents, who recommended improving the design,' Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi told a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.
He said the ministry in cooperation with the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) would hold a contest to come up with a new logo and mascot for the 2018 quadrennial event. The ministry, he said, would inform the Olympics Council of Asia (OCA) on the change of the logo and mascot.
Bekraf head Triawan Munaf said he had established a team that would evaluate and eventually choose the new mascot and logo. He added the team consisted of officials from the Indonesian Graphic Design Association, advertising agency Leo Burnett and strategic communication experts.
Triawan highlighted that the Asian Games was an international event that would put Indonesia, as the host country, in the spotlight. As a result, everything would be scrutinized, including the logo and mascot.
'The contest will be open for professional graphic designers. The team will be given a maximum of three months starting today [Wednesday] to choose a new logo and mascot,' he said.
Contest participants, Triawan explained, had to take into account Indonesia's identity and characteristics in creating the logo and mascot.
'The team will not judge participants based on creativity only, but also on how well they are able to represent Indonesia and the Games through their designs,' he said.
Ministry spokesman Gatot S. Dewa Broto said the previous mascot and logo had been designed by an independent artist chosen by the government and not through a contest.
After the previous logo and mascot were revealed, negative comments flooded the ministry's Twitter account @Kemenpora_RI. Twitter user Fata Madima, through his handle @ftmdn, offered his two cents on the efforts.
'The logo and mascot of the 2018 Asian Games are honestly unappealing and old-fashioned [...] Whoever designed them should be punished,' he wrote.
Another user, @andrewpratama, asked that the ministry consider changing the logo and mascot. 'Hopefully you [listen to] our input. Prove our nation's design can compete with the previous [games' design],' he said.
Some communities have even started independent contests to design a better logo and mascot, such as animation and creativity community HelloMotion.
In 2014, Indonesia was chosen to host the 2018 games after Vietnam retracted its bid. The event was originally scheduled to take place in 2019 but was brought forward to 2018 because of the presidential election scheduled for the following year.
The event is now slated to be held from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2, 2018, with the opening ceremony to be staged in Jakarta and the closing ceremony in Palembang, South Sumatra.
Jakarta will host 29 out of a total 37 sports disciplines to be featured in the 18th edition of the quadrennial sports event, while Palembang is set to host 11 disciplines. West Java and Banten will provide supporting venues to host five and nine disciplines, respectively. The distribution of the events, however, is subject to change.
It will be the second time for Jakarta to host the Asian Games, after the first time in 1962.
The organizing committee is speeding up preparations, especially to provide infrastructure such as the athletes' village, to meet the required time line set by the OCA. At least nine venues must be ready by 2017 to host the Youth Asian Games and at the same time test the country's preparedness.