A Parade of Logos
Branding the nation’s annual birthday bash
The National Day Parade (NDP) is an annual state celebration to mark Singapore becoming an independent nation on 9 August 1965. It brings together military displays, cultural shows and a fireworks performance that is watched by thousands on-site and broadcasted nationwide.
What began as a military-heavy affair gradually evolved in the mid-1980s into an entertainment spectacle headlined by local pop music acts. The shift has been accompanied by the introduction of marketing ideas such as a theme and logo to differentiate each year’s parade. The logo is used on various National Day collaterals, such as parade souvenirs and advertisements produced by corporate sponsors.
Early examples of NDP logos were based on the “National Lion” symbol created in 1986 by Michael Lee, then a senior art director with the Gartshore Kerr & Lim/BBDO advertising agency. The design came out of a public competition to create a symbol Singaporeans could used to express their patriotism other than the state flag which can only be used under strict regulations.
Beginning in 1998, a new logo was commissioned for every year’s NDP. The design was originally selected from student competitions to encourage community participation, although professional agencies have become involved in recent years to meet the expanded branding needs.
NDP logos have generally been based around the state flag, which is personalised with human figures or incorporating the heart shape. The year of the celebration is also incorporated in the design. Finally, the colourful fireworks—a main draw of the parade—is also a common reference.