Strange Harvest
Architecture / Design / Art
StrangeHarvest is written and collated by Sam Jacob.


New Tory Logo: A Hazy Shade of Politics



Conservativestempguidelines.jpg

Watching a political party try to reassemble itself is a fascinating spectacle. And over the last year we've been watching the Tory party attempting to recast itself as something approaching electabiliy after three poll-spankings at the hand of New Labour. Their first project has been the creation of a single personality: Dave. Big faced, swept hair, gurning smile, call-me-Dave David Cameron.

We've had Dave webcasting while doing the washing up, Dave cycling to work (car-load of luggage driven just out of sight), Dave checking out the melting ice caps, Dave remodelling his Notting Hill home with windmill-eco-ness, Dave listening to the Smiths "Queen is Dead' on his iPod. Essentially the Dave-project is an experiment in trying to make a Tory politician walk, talk and act like a human being. It has - quite rightly - been praised as quite an achievement (remember, all Next Gen Tories must have grown up idealising Thatcher, Tebbit, Keith Joseph et all.)

It interesting, but not suprising, to note: personality and identity now come before policy or ideology in the pecking order of political importance. Cameron's Nu-Tories managed to wriggle through their party conference without declaring a single policy or election pledge. The party (and perhaps politics generally) is running - like teenage love - on feelings and sentiment alone.

Designing an electable personality is one thing. Translating that personality to party and electorate is another. To this effect, the Tories brand communication has been overhauled by Perfect Day (also designers of Cameron's leadership campaign). This includes replacing the 'Torch of Freedom' logo.

Back story told, lets look at the new Tory logo: An oak tree, drawn as a scribble, with the word "Conservatives" in Lucida - a font that looks like Times in Helvetican drag (a perfect fontographic portrait of Dave-ian Conservatism)

The scribble contains a sence of action, the trace of the crayon moving across paper. It's saying 'exciting' and 'expression', perhaps like Pollock or Van Gough - even though this isn't really the trace of a hand, it's a manipulated vector graphic simulating action. It's also sketchy: that's to say suggestive, rather than definitive. Its child-like quality intends to suggest feelings of new-ness, hope and family-fridge informality.

The trunk leans to the right - but, significantly for a party trying to reclaim the middle ground - not too far right.

The Oak is, of course, a symbol of English-ness. Variations have been issued to Welsh and Scottish Conservatives (the Scottish Oak leans less to the right). The logo tells us that the Nu Conservatives have already conceded outside of England. And as there have been more Scottish goalkeeping heroes than there are Celtic Tories, one can understand why.

The Oak represents, according to a spokesman "Strength, Endurance, Renewal and Growth". However appropriating such a powerful and ancient symbol brings many other associations. Oak-ey Englishness flashes references to the material which built the Tudor Navy and thus England's wealth and power, Robin Hood, the National Trust, Charles the II hiding from Roundheads. It recalls attributes of tradition, nature, and countryside. Its possible that these associations stray from the positive message: Perhaps it's a soft focus version of a hanging tree, in the same way that the old torch logo looked like the hand of a villager out on a lynching spree.

Look further back, and the roots of Oak-myth lie in Celtic lore. That's right. The same Celtic-ness that won't vote Tory.

The Celts and their Druids believed the human race originally descended from the trees. Each tree had particular magical qualities.

Lets see how Nu-Tory brand values match Celtic mythology.

Oak is often associated with the summer solstice. It represents strength, endurance, fortitude, fatherhood, the God and loyalty. So far, so good.

However, the oak tree is also the "door" between the light and dark halves of the year. The oaken doorway is a gateway to the Otherworld. Hmm, not sure how that will play in to Mondeo Man, Soccer-Mom or whoever is the next elections swing target.

The oak was sacred to the Druids because of its tendency to attract lightening, survive the lightening strikes, and regenerate afterwards. It is also symbolic of male potency in the form of mistletoe. Even in the dormancy of winter, this new life sprouts from its branches with berries of white that symbolise the semen of the Lord of the Forest. Hmm, that's a bit mixed, and could see you splashed across the New of the World in some tree-based sex scandal.

And here is a Celtic oak ritual that might be useful to the shadow cabinet in its election strategy:

Use the power of the Oak Moon to renew your commitment to your deities and spiritual path. For this ritual, you will need three acorns and six candles. Under the moonlight, charge the acorns to represent your body, mind and spirit. Light each candle to represent the six remaining moons of the lunar year call out to your deities and rededicate yourself to them and their service. Ask for the strength you need to continue on their path throughout this year, or to change the direction of your path to correct and error in your ways. Bury the acorns to symbolise the planting of your rediscovered commitment.

Dave? Is that you under that white hood, coming through the mists holding a knarled staff? Dave?

The Oak logo is double-speak in EPS form: vague despite its apparent significance, suggesting strength without the responsibility of naming source or intention. Usually, the purpose of a logo is to assert and express the core values of its brand. Here, the logo is a way of avoiding answering the question. In an increasingly narrow political landscape lead by focus groups the ability to sway, like branches, with the prevailing wind is essential.



Posted by anothersam at October 18, 2006 2:57 PM.

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Contents:

More Scenes In Cartoon Deserta

Eiffel X-Rays

Beyond: Values and Symptoms

Sub Plan

Shenzhen: Window of the World

White Power

Generic Powerpoint Template: Delivering Bad News

Duplicate Array

The Best New Building In London

Book Review: The Infrastructural City

A Balloon in the Pantheon

Letters From The Pantheon

Henry Moore in Motion

On My Steel Horse I Ride

The Michael Jackson Monument Design Competition

Now Showing: John Baldessari Sings Sol LeWitt

Obscure Design Typologies: Life Guard Chairs

Osama bin Laden Cigarette Lighter: Novelty Products as Congealed Culture

Absurd Car Crashes: A Eulogy for J.G. Ballard

Candy Pistol

Now Showing: Dan Grahams 'Rock My Religion'

This Concrete 'O': On Serotonin, the M25, and the Motorik Picturesque

Church of the Literal Narrative

Philadelphias Floating Architecture

Now Viewing: Married To The Eiffel Tower

Le Corbusiers Image Hoard: Poeme Electronique

Giant American Signs: Original Learning from Las Vegas Footage

Giant Soviet Signs Cut Into Forests

Bricks Melted Into Icicles: Napalm Decorative

C-Labs 'Unfriendly Skies' & 'Bootleg' Volume

2 The Lighthouse: Self Storage & Architectural Hallucinations

Ceci N'Est Pas Une Pipe: Infrastructure as Architectural Subconcious.

Viva Sectional Cinematography!

Now Showing: The Installation of an Irreversible Axis on a Dynamic Timeline

Plug: Junk Jet

Sim Seasons Greetings! The Rise of Neo-Winter

Geography in Bad, Festive Drag.

The Ruins of the Future

High Tech As Steampunk ...

On The Retro Infrastructural

Simulations of Industry: High Tech Architecture and Thatcherism

David Greene: The Big Nothing

From The Factory to the Allotment: Tony Wilson, Urbanist

Koolhaas HouseLife / Gan Eden: The Revenge of Architectural Media

Ruburb-ric: The Ecologies of the Farnsworth House

The Architecture of Divorce

Flagrant Delit: The Movie

Landscape as Clothing

Telly Savalas Looks At Birmingham Redux

Acts of Un-Building: Timelapse Demolitions

Yard Filth: Next Years Hot Look

Stonehenge: A Black Hole At The Heart Of British Architecture

The Popemobile: Mechanised Robes & Motorised Architecture

Tarmac Adam, Tarmac Eden

The Secret Language of Surface

Some Housekeeping

Information Fields: Agriculture as Media

My Bloody Valentine: Sound as Substance

A Cubist Copse: Gehrys Serpentine Pavilion

Olympic Model Protest

Spouting Off: Some Thoughts On The Fountainhead

Form Follows Dysfunction: Bad Construction & The Morality of Detail

Floating Homes

Vintage Tradeshow Surrealism: International Grune Woche

Moving Houses: Buildings In Motion

Desktop Study: The Strange World of Sports Studio Design

Married to the Eiffel Tower: More Objectum Sexuals

60 Years of The Crazy Horse Memorial

Married to the Berlin Wall: "The Best and Sexiest Wall Ever Existed!"

Inflatable Icebergs: Sublimated Guilt Has Never Been So Fun

The Cinderella Effect: Phantom Architectures of Illumination

Two Deaths and a Retirement: The Strange Shape of British Architecture

If London Were Like New York: Antique Schizo-Manhattanism

If London Were Like Venice: Antique Geo-Poetic Speculations and Hydro-Fantasy

41 Hours in an Elevator: The Movie

NASA: Mapping the Moon with Sport

Lemon Squeezy: Design Tendencies after the Juicy Salif

Stadium Seat Mosaics

The Nihilistic Beauty of Weapons Arranged in Patterns

Light Vessel Automata

Dogs: Britains Greatest Design Obsession

Madison Avenue Modern

Detroit Sucks: The Motor Shows Last Gasp

Mies' Grave: Cut Out Model

All You Can Eat

Valentine Machine

The Tools of Re-Geography

Floating in a New Town Sky

Authentic Replicas: Football and the Franchising of Place

Folk Football: Landscape, Space and Abstraction

Haystack House

A Wishing Well with a Fat Up Pipe

The Camoufluers and the Day-Glo Battleship

Pseudoccino: Instant Coffee Foam

Yesterdays Technology, Today

Blown Up: More Inflatable Military Stuff

On Christmas Trees, Folk Forests and Staples Office Supplies

Hampton Courts Shrouded Sculptures

Named Fabric: 20 Sponsored Pieces of Architecture at the New Museum

Form Follows Felony: The Secret Home of the Un-Dead Canoeist.

Architectural Magazines: Paranoid Beliefs, Public Autotheraphy - More on Clip/Stamp/Fold

Little Magazines Seen Today

James Bond Lives Next Door: Suburban Imagery as Industry

The Ghost of Christmas Futurism

Petrified War Machine

Military Deceptions

Chapters for an Imaginary Book About Architecture

Shrouded Plinth - Urban Striptease

In the Night Garden - Surreal Landscape of Nostalgia

Kim Jong II, The Great Architect

Pill Box Picturesque

Un Clear Monument

Place Faking: Instant Heritage for the Thames Gateway

The Marc Bolan Memorial Crash Barrier.

Warped Domesticity

The Nuclear Heritage Coast

Enjoy The Silence: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Story of O (2)

Telly Savalas Looks At Birmingham

X100: A Design Exercise

How to Plan A New Town

Carpet Bomber

In Search of Britains Vehicular History

Scenes in Cartoon Deserta

Scary Suburbanism: Why Horror is at Home in the Suburbs

Re-Make Re-Model

I Like Your Manifesto, Lets Put it to the Test-o

How to Become a Famous Architect

Northampton - Sci-fi Pop Planning Promotion

Advertising Central Milton Keynes

Baltic Exchanged

Festival of Nostalgia

The Clapham Trainwash

Airports as Music

Test Card Dummies

The Velvet Underground at the Glass House

Duplikate: Kate Moss on the Production Line of Individuality

The Museum that Ate Itself

Hollow Inside: Starbucks Foam and the Rise of Ambiguous Materials

Revisions to the Architecture of Hell

Crufts: Dogs, Design and Aesthetic Genetics

Eos Airlines: Executive Bubbles over the Atlantic

London's Ugliest Buildings

1.51 Miles Of String

Google Earths Vertiginous Mapping

Church of the Ascension and Descension

Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles

Replica Bombs

The Invisible Bungalow

House / Boat

Reading Lines: Skateboarding and Public Space

Mountain Sculpting

Sint Lucas in BD

Bat House Competition

Old Walton Bridge

Kiruna: The Town That Moved

Spray On Magnetic Defense

Chris Cornish: Prototyping History

The Jubilee Gestalt Vase

The Most Visited Location in the UK

Anything to Feel Weightless Again: The Cargo Lifter and the Tropical Island Resort

'Its beauty will know no season'

2000 Years of Non Stop Nostalgia. Or How Half Timbering Made Me Whole Again.

Inside-out Aldwych

Backpeddling into the Future: The Historical-Futurism of British Architecture

Miss Selfridges' Feeling for Fake Snow. The Oxford St. Lights and Why We Need Artificial Winter

Nelsons Cavern

Foam Gargoyle

New Tory Logo: A Hazy Shade of Politics

Jeff Koons, Rem Koolhaas, Hans Ulrich Obrist at the Serpentine

Souvenir Empire

Celebrity Scents: The Bittersweet Smell of Success

Imperfect Pitch - Football, Space and Landscape

Product Placement: Making the Impossible Possible

Suburban Growth: Matthew Moores Field of Dreams

Perfect Sound Forever: The Secret Function of High End Stereos

Picture of the Week 1

A Little Light Product Placement

Some Advice To A Young Designer

London and on and on

In the Gallery of Ice Creams

Useless Proclamations for a Beautiful City

Mini Mies Chair

Topsy Turvy VSBA: Inverted Heros of an Upside Down Avant Guard

Harvest III: Buried Things

The Harvest II

The Harvest I

Estuary Urbanism

The Royal Families Trees

Everything Flows: ideological cartography

How Geostationary Was My Valley?

The Psychotic Utopia of the Suburbs and the Suburbanisation of War.

LegoLand London Cluster

In a Lonely Place - Under Construction

Design Will Eat Itself

Mach 3 Nitro Gel - Design that's foaming at the mouth.

Marchitecture. Architectural things to do in London this March

Metallic Jet Powered Cloud

"When we got married I had no idea he would do something like this, he just said he was going to do some decorating."

The Electric Cenotaph

Russian Rok

Commitment ...

Dinner in the Iguanadon

Trace

What happens when you cross a pen with a car?

Leg Table Leg

Florentine Building Sites

Good Morning Britain

Football Pitch: Best of British

The Sad Photographer

The First Cut is the Cheapest - Blenheim Palace: pop architecture that goes for the jugular

Book Now For Christmas

Requiem for a Toilet Seat

Architecture that Destroys

TomTom Mobile 5 / GO 700

Winning Design

Another Croydon

Holiday Snap II : Giant Glowing French Balls

Holiday Snap: Canadian War Memorial, Vimy, France

Pecha Kucha London

Anatomy of an Architectural News Story

Big Bens

First Cut - Case Closed

The Texas Tower

Its All About the Big Benjamins

G8 Security Tower

White Cubed Blues

Poundbury, unexpectedly, in the rain

The Exploding Concrete Inevitable. Lou Reed and the Casa da Musica

Swingball

Untitled (Plastic Sack and Timber)

Berlin 1945 - The Obscene Picturesque

Pizza Planet

Goal Sculptures

Interview: Jeremy Deller & Alan Kane

Previewing Cedric Price

The Mardas Touch

Building a Lionel Richie Head

Ornament is Grime 2

An Incredible Smell of Roasting Coffee

Flatpack Frenzy at New IKEA

Langlands & Bell - The House of Osama Bin Laden

Labour is kind of working

Happy Death Men

Build to Let

Architectural Criticism gets Sharp

Niagara Falls

Ornament is Grime

FA(ke) Cup

Q&A: Wouter Vanstiphout

X-treme urinals

Unigate Cowscape

Spray-on Snow

From the Baffler ...

One in a Taxi

The Queen Machine

The Knork

Venturi, Scott Brown and my love that dare not speak its name.

Polictical Placards

The Ketchup Conumdrum

Douglas Coupland: Design and Fiction

It's a Small World

Images de Parfums

Soft Carcass

Christopher Dresser at the V&A

Blow up Pub

Municipal Mummification

The Matt and Ron Show

Semi - detached

Half Timbered Van

Feltham Future

Favorite Things

Fugitives and Refugees' - Chuck Palahniuk

The Pop Vernacular

Design by Chefs

Just What is it That Makes Yesterdays Homes So Different, So Appealing?

Archigrams Pastoral Futurism

Sorry Mies

The Flaming Lips - Live.

Everything Counts - The Sound of Geography Collapsing.

Carlton Terrace Extension

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