During the election, I had a few conversations that went along the following lines:
Q: "What's that infantile scribble supposed to be?"
A: "A tree."
Q: "What's a tree got to do with the Tories?"
A: "I think it's supposed to say something about a greener agenda."
Q: "But why a tree? And why isn't the stump a darker blue?"
A: "Er ...."
Although I'm no expert on corporate imagery, I'd have thought that no such conversations would take place if the Tory 'tree' had been doing an effective job .
However, I did learn a bit about the subject at a fascinating meeting near Oxford in 1988, when the idea of the 'bird of liberty' was first mooted as a possible logo for the then recently formed Social and Liberal Democrats.
You may remember that, during the 1987 election, the SDP-Liberal Alliance had fought under a rather ugly diamond shaped logo that looked like one of those irritating 'Baby on Board' posters that some parents insist on sticking to their car windows.
New party: new logo
After the Liberals and SDP merged, Paddy Ashdown, the new leader, thought something more imaginative was needed - something that would be instantly associated with the party, like the Tory's former dark blue torch and Labour's (then) recently adopted red rose.
So he recruited a leading corporate image consultant who, as party member, was willing to provide his services free. A meeting was arranged, where he told us about how they went about doing such things and led a brainstorming session.
I vaguely remember words like 'liberty', 'freedom', 'taking off' and even 'phoenix rising from the ashes of the merger debates' (!) being bandied about.
I remember much more clearly that the idea of a bird came up very quickly, as too did fears that it might attract ridicule based on the Monty Python 'dead parrot' sketch - as indeed it did when Mrs Thatcher recited from it in her party conference speech just after the new logo had been launched (HERE).
But the eventual result was the very neat design of a bird flying upwards (that can be animated if required) that's served as the instantly recognisable symbol of the Liberal Democrats for more than twenty years since that original meeting in Oxford.
Fell the tree and plant a flower
Yesterday, while walking though a spectacular bluebell wood near Cheddar Gorge (and with complaints about the Tory tree lurking somewhere in the back of my mind) I had a 'Eureka moment':
Replace the tree with a bluebell.
Apart from eliminating the ambiguity of the scribbled tree, a bluebell logo would have at least five advantages:
- It's the right colour for the Conservative Party.
- Bluebells have a freshness and purity that any party would surely be glad to be associated with.
- If you want to emphasise your green credentials, what better way to do it than with such an attractive and popular wild flower
- As there's a well-known Scottish folk song called The Bluebells of Scotland, it might even help to broaden the party's appeal north of the border.
- Almost any picture of a bluebell is more aesthetically pleasing than the shoddy-looking scribbled tree.
So, for these reasons, and in the true spirit of a 'non-aligned' blog, I offer this free suggestion to the Conservative Party for a logo to replace today's trendy but tacky-looking 'tree' with an image of unequivocal and timeless beauty ....