Sunday, November 22, 2009

Comment on suggestions for DMISA's new corporate identity

An opinion survey among members attending the AGM’s of DMISA Regions supported the creation of a new corporate identity or logo for DMISA which can be used more informally than the DMISA Coat of Arms to represent the Institute. The Coat of Arms of the Institute will remain in place as the formal symbol of the Institute and will be used in conjunction with any newly designed logo.

Figure 1: The DMISA Coat of Arms

Even though DMISA was responsible for its development under the mandate of the SA National Disaster Management Centre, the Disaster Management Emblem represents the Disaster Management profession as a whole and is therefore not the exclusive symbol for DMISA. Both DMISA and the SA National Disaster Management Centre encourages the use of the Emblem by all Disaster Management bodies and professionals.

Figure 2: The SA Disaster Management Emblem

Quotations for the design of a logo was obtained from three companies. Woema was appointed and given a brief for the design according to the following decision by EXCO dated 14 Aug 09:

7.8 DMISA Corporate Identity – Logo

The Executive Committee accepted a quote for the development of the corporate identity (informal logo) by WOEMA on 14 May 2009. A site visit was arranged to coincide with the Conference Co-ordinating Committee Meeting on 13 August 2009. However, the meeting could not be held as it was cancelled on the request of WOEMA.

It was resolved that WOEMA be requested to start with the designing of possible logo’s. It was resolved that once the suggested logo’s is received it will be submitted to the next Council Meeting and then to the Annual General Meeting for approval.

The following brief was provided to the designer:

In a brain-storming session of the Executive Committee, the following words or feelings were raised as pointers to what members would like to see in the logo or associate with the logo.

Rejuvenation – Protective – Dynamic - Risk avoidance - Fresh outlook - Extract from coat of arms - Rural & Urban - Transformation (Faded to clear, black & white to rainbow) – Evolutionary – Nurturing - Disaster Risk Reduction – Compassion – Elegant – Refined – Safe – Resilient - Link to old coat of arms and the DM emblem - Natural elements - Balance between humans & environment -Partnerships, linkages, networks - Southern Africa - Modern – where / what we are aiming towards

The proposed designs received from Woema are attached to this document. The rationale of the designer is given verbatim for the benefit of DMISA members:

Rationale - Logo for the Disaster Management Institute of South Africa

Option 1:

The disaster management emblem lies at the heart of this design. As it was important to you that this be incorporated you will see it making an appearance in more of the designs to follow. What is good about using this symbol is that it will be widely recognised and it bears with it all the connotations you described in the documents sent. It is therefore a symbol rich with meaning.

What was added to this logo however was the idea gathered from the emblem regarding links? In this case it was personified and graphic images of people were added all around the emblem. Their positioning signifies community, collaboration and comfort.

There are 2 different colour options presented. I included green people in option 1a in and amongst the red so as to portray the effect of aid (green) on those in distress (red).

You mentioned that it was important to portray South Africa through the image so I used the colours of our flag for inspiration throughout.

The circular lines in the background represent movement, a dynamic approach as well as a continuous cycle of management.

Option 2:

Option 2 draws the triangle from the emblem and leaves it red so as to connote danger and disaster. I saw in the notes a reference to 3 main areas in which disaster is managed, namely: the environment, the built environment/infrastructure and people. These 3 key aspects are highlighted through the use of colour: Blue for the green for the environment, blue for the man made infrastructure and yellow for the community. The design is simple yet striking.

In 2b the hard edged triangle is replaced with a pyramid of people, adding the human element to the design without losing the strength of the triangular symbol. The pyramid also indicates a well structured and co-ordinated group effort.

Option 3:

Option 3 took a modern approach to design with a glossy and polished finish – indicative of the way the institute is/could be run. The angle and shadow imply depth and movement. The core icon is the emblem with a crescent shape encapsulating it. The disaster (the centre) is controlled and contained by this shape. Each crescent also bears 3 shades of the colour used alluding to the 3 areas in which action needs to be taken.

Option 4:

Option 4 is a strong graphic solution representing the 3 areas affected by disaster through the use of toppling structures. The collaboration of the people pushing against these forces of disaster restores stability and relief in spite of how monumental the task.

Option 5:

Option 5 is strongly based on an element from the coat of arms – the Eagles wings. An eagle represents rising above adversity, renewal, strength, greatness, dignity, in the bible it is seen as comfort (under the shadow of its wings). The green used in 5a also represents new growth.


The following general recommendations can be made regarding the choice of a logo:

  • Complex designs are difficult to reproduce on clothing and other corporate image items, the design chosen should therefore be simple and clean.

  • Fine detailing should be avoided to ensure that the logo would be recognizable even if very small

  • The use of too many colours could increase printing or embroidering costs significantly.

  • The Disaster Management Emblem is now a well-established and recognized symbol and DMISA should build on this foundation.

The portfolio holder has no specific recommendation on a logo choice. It is suggested that members discuss the available options and make comments and suggestions.

At the Annual General Meeting of the Institute on 9 October 2009 it was decided that a decision must be taken by March 2010.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DMISA Remembers the victims of disasters

The annual DMISA conference always includes a candle-lighting ceremony where those who suffered through disasters and those who assisted them are remembered and honoured. In this picture Pat Adams, the President of DMISA, begins the ceremony by lighting his individual candle from the central candle.

The candles of guests of honour, DMISA Councillors and conference delegates are then lit in sequence. When all candles are lit, a message is read which communicates the intention of these sombre moments, and a minute of silence is observed.

Candle-lighting ceremony at DMISA Conference 2009

DMISA annually remembers those who perished in disasters, who were affected by disasters, and those who give selflessly to help the victims of disaster.

These pictures were taken at the 2009 annual disaster reduction conference which was held in Durban, South Africa, in October 2009.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DMISA blog up an running

We started with our website many years ago, recently created a group on, and now we are moving into the blogging zone, hoping to be able to better serve our members with news, learning and networking opportunities.

The Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa (DMISA) is a non-profit association for disaster management professionals in Southern Africa. DMISA aims to create learning and networking opportunities for its members - furthering the interests of the disaster management profession in Southern Africa and ultimately reducing Southern African vulnerability to disasters.

Watch this space.