What does your council’s logo say about your area? I was pondering this very question whilst walking down the street and looking at the street signs near home – their Merton Council logo blazing quietly in the corner, radiating out its waterwheel goodness. The entire of Merton is represented by a waterwheel for example. Why?
And so, with that on my mind, I headed on a journey of discovery, looking at places where I’d lived and visited, asking what each council logo said about the area it serves.
In part 5, it’s time for a slightly more arbitrary location, as I cover a place I went on holiday to in 2007. The Isle of Wight.
Isle of Wight Council
When I first started planning this series, I planned covering just the areas I’d lived in. However as I progressed with researching and writing, it became rather clear that just covering four areas – two of which are in London and three of which were very urban – wasn’t going to be quite enough.
It was time to cast the net a bit wider. I wanted to make sure I still had some knowledge, experience and and that would make an interesting case study. The Isle of Wight was the first to my lips.
The fact that it was an island would make it especially interesting. Whilst we’d been out there on holiday in 2007, imagery of the island was particularly dominant in signage for cycle and walking routes, and in tourist information literature. Would that play out also for the Isle of Wight council?
The answer was a resounding yes, of course it would. It’s an obvious choice because it reflects something that everyone on the island has an association with – that shape, that landmark, that mass of land situated just south of Portsmouth.
The logo is not purely geographical – it’s a stylised representation of the Isle of Wight’s distinctive diamond shape. The small “tail” on the left is also interesting, showing a representation of one of the island’s most distinctive features – the row of three chalk stacks that rise out of the sea, that is known as The Needles.
The orange line – almost shadow like – is an interesting addition, presumably representing the beaches of the island, whilst the whole thing also has the appearance of a kite, not flying very high in the sky. Leisure (and tourism) is one of the major industries on the island, although this kit looks more like it’s about to dive down and crash into the ground, and one obviously hopes that the tourism industry won’t be doing that any time soon.
The logo does have a slightly 1990s feel to it, although this not surprising as the Isle of Wight Council in its current form dates back only to 1995 when the old County Council was merged with two borough councils (the Medina and South Wight councils). As well as being the only island covered in this series, it also becomes the newest of the councils I’ve covered.
Mission statements were all the rage in the 1990s, although the opportunity to include one on the logo clearly wasn’t taken. The council website, oddly not available via isleofwight.gov.uk, but instead at the rather curious and nonsensical choice of iwight.com, does feature a tagline – the rather prosaic “Raising Standards, Creating Opportunities”. Although it does rather suggest that council standards are low in the first place…
Tomorrow it’s the last place on the list – and this time it’s not in England. It’s time to head to Scotland’s capital, the beautiful city of Edinburgh.