June 06, 2005

Horse 349 - I Hate Flowers

The BP in Cammeray as the last standpost of the green shield has finally succumbed to corporate whims and has relented and replaced its signage with that flower.
From 1915 BP had as its logo a shield in black and white super-imposed over the Union Flag. There could not be a more formal statement of British Petroleum than this.
In 1932 it changed to reflect Britain's rise as what would eventually become Formula One's only superpower and the black and white became British Racing Green and yellow.

The shield always gave me the impression that BP was a reliable company. Italicising the lettering and changing the shape of the shield slightly in the late 80's retained the strength but gave something of a forward-looking image and, combined with the very rapid recolouring of stations, signage and pumps to a warm, friendly shade of green, made the stations attractive without descending into faux-friendly all lowercase childishness as we have now (Wild Bean café? Why?)
Pre-90s the stations were mostly white with green & yellow (and some red) highlighting - closer, in fact, to the present colour scheme. Indeed, the sans-serif lowercase font used on the pumps and canopies in the 80s was particularly nice, and I'm thinking if I have a photo of them somewhere...

Now even the last bastian of the shield has fallen to that flower and I find myself lamenting a world of what once was. The new flower is supposed to represent la-dee-da enviro-hug-a-rainbow values but ends up just looking like someone in a suit in a board room must have been smoking one of the refractory products of the crude which the company sells.

Also, it would appear that there was a name change that snuck under the radar, for they are no longer British Petroleum but now Beyond Petroleum. What are you too good for petroleum, now that you're beyond it? Petrol is sooooo last century, I'm off to play the grand piano. La-dee-flower-da! It reminds me of hippies trying to save the world by using less off "mother nature's" precious resources and then driving a clapped out 1967 Kombi.

I still hate the flower.

1 comment:

Fernando said...

I haven't seen any of the BP logos but what bothers me more than ugly logos is visual identity inconsistency within the same given time. At the Plaza Blvd. exit of 805 in South Bay San Diego is this old Jimmy's Family Restaurant cater-corner to the light I have to wait at for about 10 minutes. To avoid making eye-contact with the begging homeless on my left, I look at the restaurant.
I have noticed that on the building itself is a yellow sign with slab-serifed, chunky, all-cap black type which reminds me of fake wood wall paneling and Bonanza.
At the parking lot entrance is a small sign shaped like a rounded triangle in red and white with "Jimmy's" in a "friendly" fat script. I like this one best because it looks undated.
Then there's this atrociously massive sign off to the side which is big enough to be seen from passing airplanes on which it looks as if someone attempted to "update" the 2nd logo.It's fatter, rounder, and they reduced any last hint of embellishment. It looks like it was created from toothpaste.
What's going on here? Their food is not to be trusted if they can't honestly identify themselves. But in a ghetto like National City (alias, Nasty City) I suppose good design is not a priority.
I say, if people have higher standards in design, maybe the locals will take pride in themselves and put trash in the trash can instead of the street, and get a job, and be a responsible contributor to society, and love their neighbor, and crime rates will go down, and the world will be a happier place!