As someone with family ties to the original co-operative movement, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, I have mixed feelings about the resuscitation of The Co-op’s ‘clover leaf’ logo…
“There’s no way I would have resurrected that dinosaur’” – that’s me as the MD of a design studio that designs for supermarkets talking.
“I would have brought that baby right back outta retirement” – that’s the ex-graphic designer in me who used to design logos.
And as someone whose Gran used to tell me about my Co-op heritage in the Rochdale Co-op as a kid, I’m reminded of her, and emotional.
As always, there will be some naysayers. Cue comments like, “All that money just for bringing back a logo?” Meanwhile, I can almost hear the tittering of typographers bitching about the typeface, ‘Univers’, on Twitter.
But do you know what? The new blue is brilliant – a huge improvement on that old insipid blue that was reminiscent of Gran’s 70s cookbooks; grey, dirty and dull. Or is it just my new retina screen that makes it look better?
I don’t usually subscribe to the mantra that, ‘Everything old is good, (like Gran), everything new is shit’, as I believe in progress. But actually, on this occasion, it’s probably true.
I’m not a romanticist for the past, but given the recent turbulent history of The Co-op, and the blunders that lost it a lot of money, then frankly, give me the past anytime.
I also like that the logo fits neatly onto the corner of an apron pocket, or a Co-op lorry for that matter…
Sean Perkins, partner at North, the design studio that worked with The Co-op on bringing back the logo was quoted in The Creative Review as saying, “It’s a symbol and a wordmark and that’s impossible to beat for a graphic designer. It’s never dated.” As a rusty graphic designer, I fully get that. But giving the impression that it’s OK for the relaunch of a company’s identity to be based on the whim of a graphic designer might be a bad move.
The only burning question I have is, if the designers simply jumped into an old box file at Co-op head office, pulled out an old bromide and re-presented it to the client saying, “OK, so you need to go back to your past… we have a great idea. Ta-da!”, did they get a discount? Gran could have done that.