Symbolic gesture

The Barclays eagle symbol has been removed from its offices in Poole in Dorset – according to the company because it reflected “out of date branding”. 

The eagle has been the bank’s logo for 317 years, but there has been media speculation that the company is responding to concerns from its proposed Dutch partner, , about the symbol’s Nazi connotations.

Symbols and their associations can be very powerful.  It is inevitable that these connotations carry more weight than the beauty of the eagle as a natural symbol, indeed one that has a genuine heritage for Barclays.

But do that many people really care about changing it?  From a PR perspective, changing the symbol might generate some short term criticism regarding “political correctness”, but we have become used to meaningless global logos – which are undoubtedly a safer option.

Indeed, the ABN Amro logo has little heritage, hence the usual design agency nonsense associated with it:

In 1990, the logo plus typography and typeface was designed by Landor Associates. The shield symbolises reliability, tradition, protection and security, the colour combination green (turquoise), yellow and grey sets it apart from logos of predecessors and rivals while at the same time being very modern, distinguished and clear.

In reality, such logos carry little actual symbolism – that is their virtue.  It is hard to imagine anyone feeling any loyalty or positive emotion in connection to such bland creations.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “Symbolic gesture”

  1. This blandness is precisely the morally equivalent, offend no one nonsense which is consuming all countries now. Light aqua and diffuse yellow – it’s appalling.

  2. I agree entirely – even worse is the fact that organisations pay a fortune to designers and then insist on such bland outputs, whilst “selling” them in the most ridiculous language as having some meaning.

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