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Guest post by Michele Paolini. Michele has a passion for teaching and yearbooks.
So what does your logo mean to you? Is it a symbolic representation of spatial and nuanced convergence created by a graphic designer or the first clip art you found while slapping together your business card? Did you run seven prototypes through double-blind surveys to narrow down the choices or scan the one that didn’t get hit when you spilled your coffee? Ultimately, does a logo really matter?
Well, some citizens of Rome believe it does and many are waging a fight worthy of the Coliseum. City officials recently stripped the banner of its crown, replacing it with five bubbles, and swapped out the SPQR slogan (“Senātus Populusque Rōmānus) for “Rome & You.”
Enter Youth Front, a conservative group of protesters who gathered in front of the Roman capitol and gave Fascist salutes to city officials while shouting “mercenaries” and “SPQR.” Their claim is that the previous shield, crown and slogan represent their roots so much so that the new logo has “crippled the image of Rome in the world.”
Now how many of you can say that your logo actually hurt the image of an entire city? That’s a serious accusation. It might be easy for some of us to wave off the shouts and banners as silly or excessive, but given that the SPQR initials and crown have appeared on Roman coins since 1414, we can certainly appreciate the tradition and symbolism.
On the other hand, they are no longer riding horses and chariots to their business meetings. Is it time to “get with the times” and freshen up a little piece of art in the hopes of attracting more visitors? Look at the words themselves: “Rome & You” with the “Ro” in a softer gold and the final “ME & YOU” in contrasting white. Isn’t that what Rome prides itself on? The city of love and lovers; the eternal city; romance at its best. “The Senate and People of Rome” doesn’t exactly scream seduction.
I imagine that the protesters will lose their battle and this new logo will continue to greet people at the airport when they next land there. SPQR will be put on the antiquity shelves like all the other artifacts dug up because yes, it’s okay to have it both ways. You can spend time on developing a logo that is clever, witty, thoughtful, and appropriate and still be willing to scrap it and start over when something new is needed.
You (hopefully) keep your business ideas fresh and innovative, so why wouldn’t your logo do the same? Just try not to take down a city in the process.
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