In this blog, I’m going to focus on the meaning behind our logo. I’ll briefly touch on a brief history of logos, the importance of a logo in the first place, and then I’ll go into why, in particular, ours is most important to us.
It will hopefully give you some insight into just how powerful it is and why it’s a rose and thistle.
What is a logo?
Definition of a Logo
A logo is, in its simplest form, is a pictorial representation of a group. Whether that group is a family, a business, or a group of people. You could call flags of a country that countries logo for instance but also in recent years it has become synonymous with business and commerce.
What does the word logo mean?
The word logo in its longest form is ‘Language Of Graphics Orientated’. This is maybe why the oxford dictionary definition only relates to a modern company and business uses rather than the general idea behind the reasoning.
History of Logo (Branding)
Although coined by many different names (flags, family crests/coat of arms, even hieroglyphics are a form of a logo), I will, for this blog refer to all as a logo.
In ancient times, Egyptian hieroglyphics are probably the most renowned starting point for organised communication of thought.
And, as most people couldn’t read, a fair explanation was to use pictures as communication that had a meaning.
Simply put, if you wanted to know who someone was or what they did, you’d look at the image and without being told you’d know what it meant. Funny as it may seem, we are now back to basics and communicate using emojis. Same same.
This was a form of communication without the requirement of words. Moving on it became more important where it was a matter of life and death, War.
Coat of arms, family crests and flags, are, what I would class as, the starting point for the modern logo. Born from the simple necessity of comminating who each side was quickly and obviously was of the utmost importance so that you knew whose side you were on.
It would also lend to being able to distinguish social hierarchy. Again, as most people could not read, pictures were the next best thing. (in modern branding it is generally accepted that you have 2 seconds for customer brand recognition. Nothing much changes)
On the battlefield, simple colourful and powerful logos were the priority, such as flags. The basic coat of arms, commonly seen on a mounted knights shield, was a knight’s ‘personal logo’ basically telling the story of how important they were and thus valuable to be ransomed. Better alive than dead I suppose. In most cases, this was individual to the knight and not passed down.
The more extravagant family crest would be an amalgamation of the coat of arms, accolades, importance and general proximity to the head of state (King/Queen).
These logos can also act as powerful symbols, especially in a battle scenario. If you see the kings’ flag charging in, your morale will be instantly lifted, similarly, if the flag falls, it’s more than likely going to cause a rout.
The importance of a logo for business?
We’ve covered the history of a logo, so now I’m going to cover the modern logo and why it’s important for every business to have one.
Catching up to more modern use of a logo as branding, but still in ye olden days when people couldn’t read. The logo was an essential part of the business. Need your hair cut, barbers had a red and white pole. (Note. Back in these times they also acted as surgeons and dentists hence the red and white pole for the bloody rags used).
Or maybe you were meeting friends for a drink, where did they go, The Swan? Just look for a Swan sign and you’ll find it. The horse needs shoeing, look for the horseshoe symbol.
I could go on but you get the idea. Without knowing much about the place you’d recognise the branding first and t would be the defining feature to explain about a place and give recommendations by word of mouth.
In modern times, much like before, if you’re in business, you need a logo. The common census is that people’s attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter (roughly 2 seconds for brand recognition) and in that time you need your customers to understand a few things
Who you are, what you do, that you’re professional, honest, trustworthy, that you can deliver on your brand promise, and it has to be timeless, sounds a lot but that’s not all the considerations.
In addition to this you need your logo to be simple, easily printed (a mistake I made as ours is more than 3 colours so it’s more expensive to print), can be shrunken down to a favicon (the little icon on the internet tabs).
It should be able to stand out in the millions of other brands out there on social media and the internet.
However, as the times have changed and the logo needs to be more versatile for a huge range of applications in the digital space, but like before, the rules haven’t changed all that much for thousands of years.
- Recognisable in a second on the battlefield by tired men.
- Simple easily described to others.
- Memorable from a first glance when giving orders to peasants.
- Have meaning behind it. And explain who you are.
- Invoke emotion. Hungry, tired, thirsty, status, adrenalin.
- A powerful symbol that can rally the troops.
In summary, a logo must, in all languages, be memorable and convey your brand and be recognised at a glance for who you are and what you stand for.
Why the Rose and Thistle for the Logo?
As the company bears the name of my Grandparents Nanna (Hilda) and Grandad (Jack), it seemed only befitting that we chose something that would bring feeling and passion every time we saw it.
Much like flags of old, rallying the troops, I knew it had to be something so sentimental that just by merely looking at it would re-ignite the passion and the ‘why’ that will only naturally, wane from time to time as the road seems unclear or the momentary setbacks become too much.
After careful consideration and a few other ideas, the Rose and Thistle, once seen, became the only possible option for us. Grandad (Jack) was a true-blooded Scotsman, and my Nanna (Hilda) was English thru and thru. And as such their headstone depicts the rose and thistle where they are both laid to rest.
The Scottish Thistle.
It is sometimes strange how a national symbol can originate and none more than the Scottish thistle. The importance of this can be dated back to 2nd October 1263 and the battle of Largs between Norway and Scotland.
Legend has it that during the night, the sleeping Scottish Clansmen were about to be set upon from a raid by the Norsemen. As all raids should be, they were trying to be quiet and thus had removed their shoes.
Unfortunately, the route they had taken was not the best and they found themselves covering a field of thistles. I imagine it must have been like walking on Lego and one of the raiders yelped out in pain, alerting the Scots to their presence.
And thus immortalising the Scottish Thistle as a symbol of good luck and fortune for all Scotland.
The English Rose
Without going into too much of the details of the symbolism of the rose, in general, which can date all the way back from Egyptian times and Cleopatra to Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the Bible, I’m going to cover the importance and why the English rose is the national flower.
It is generally agreed that the rose is the English national flower. But most would think of a red rose and we’ve used the red one in our logo.
The Tudor Rose
However, the actual nation symbol is red and white or the Tudor Rose which was founded by King Henry VII as a symbol of peace after the bloody civil war or the roses in 1485. Depicting the two houses of the house of York (white) and the house of Lancaster (red).
Why is the logo so important to us?
Personal emotional attachment
I’ve touched on the more logical thought process of why a logo is great, but I just want to talk about the personal and emotional reasons.
For us it’s not just a rose and thistle, it’s not just a brand logo, it’s the embodiment of our Nanna and Grandad who were much loved.
It’s the strength whenever we gaze upon it to remember the why and where we came from. No matter what the situation it brings comfort to look at.
The Logo is a memory device for all experiences and moments cherished. It’s better than any picture as it forces memories to be at the forefront so we don’t forget the most important moments.
Importance of a logo in the darkest moments
Personally speaking, I have used this logo in so many more ways than just a logo of a company. Up late working on some problem and I feel tired, take 15 seconds and remember what I stand for and gather strength from it. Challenges in business.
I can always count on them being there ready to give motivation and advice. Life questions, I look up and think what they would do, how can I act with the poise and dignity they had.
I’m more than proud of what we have and even though our physical location has since closed (I’m writing this in August 2021). I can honestly say I still feel so lifted to have this and you’ll even see me walking around in our shop T-Shirt displaying my Nanna and Grandad wherever I go.
We couldn’t have had better grandparents and I don’t think we could have chosen a more fitting logo to embody all that they were and all that we hope to achieve.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog on our logo. I will go further into the process of creating it in a later blog.
In Loving Memory
John Kellock Corbitt ‘Jack’
03/01/1914 – 05/03/1997
Hilda Mary Corbitt
09/09/1921 – 10/04/2019