Busan City has unveiled its new city branding slogan and symbol for the first time in over two decades as the city prepares for the 2030 Busan Expo. However, the decision has sparked controversy, especially regarding the proposed changes to the city’s flag. While Busan officials assert that they have adequately gathered public input, local organizations claim that the process was unilateral and inconsistent with the city’s identity.
On the 21st of last month, Busan City disclosed the new city branding slogan and symbol at the “Big Dream, Future of Busan” event. The final decision was reached after conducting multiple online and offline surveys, as well as city branding committee meetings. The city’s new slogan, “Busan is Good,” is accompanied by a symbol featuring a 3D representation of the letters “B” and “S,” which signify Busan.
The “Busan is Good” slogan was designed to express pride in the city while emphasizing its suitability for hosting the Expo. According to city officials, the new symbol has garnered praise for its visual appeal, including dimensionality and color. Although related ordinances have not yet been finalized, the city has proactively employed the new slogan and symbol during visits by the International Exhibition Organization.
The city is now focusing on replacing existing symbols, including the flag displayed in front of Busan City Hall. Busan City introduced legislation on the 15th of last month to modify its flag and symbol, explaining that the changes would align with current standards. However, the announcement period drew criticism for being too brief, providing just six days for public feedback on the flag ordinance, in contrast to the 20-day posting period for the symbol ordinance.
Critics argue that the public consultation process was flawed and that the new symbol fails to accurately represent Busan’s identity. Some contend that the original “Dynamic Busan” slogan and symbols featuring Oryukdo and seagulls were more suitable. Additionally, concerns have arisen over the use of the capital letters “BS” in the symbol, which could lead to misinterpretation and negative connotations among foreign audiences.
Despite the progress made in updating the city’s slogan and symbol, citizen groups have voiced their opposition. On the 18th, these groups submitted a joint statement to the city council expressing their concerns.