It eliminates the national symbols and puts a white or red flag in their place

The errors of the new logo of the Senate of Spain from the perspective of a designer

This Wednesday the new brand image of the Spanish Senate was released. And as it could not be less, the new image has brought controversy.

Cross of Burgundy: origin and history of the oldest of the flags of Spain
When the infantry of Spain and Poland fought under the same Cross of Burgundy

A makeover at the worst possible time

In my case, I could add a few more to the objections that many people are making to the new image. As I indicate in the profile of Counting Stars, I am a graphic designer with almost two decades of experience , and an important part of my work is dedicated to designing logos. The new image of the Senate has negatively surprised me for several reasons that I will explain below.

First, we should not isolate this new image from the political moment. The success of a new image often has a great relationship with its timing, and this could not be more inopportune, its presentation coinciding with one of the most serious institutional crises that our democracy has experienced, due to the pact between socialists and separatists that undermines the separation of powers and equality before the law, as numerous institutions have already denounced, including the vast majority of the judiciary.

The Senate logo is an important part of the identity of the upper house of the Spanish Parliament, and a worse time could not have been chosen for its presentation than now, when precisely the logo itself is being questioned. pillars of our constitutional regime. A moment like this is not the right time for image changes and even less so for such a radical change.

A designer is not limited to making a design, but must also advise and convey to his client the importance of a brand's values, and at the current moment what the image of the Senate should convey is seriousness, neutrality and stability, in order to promote - even in the visual aspect - confidence, already quite diminished, in our institutions. The new image does just the opposite.

The heraldic logo of the Senate in force until now

The coat of arms of the Senate of Spain, approved in 2009, was the following (I put here the excellent version of Heralder):

The new logo of the Senate

Instead of this shield, the Senate Board has approved the following logo (I put the positive vertical version here):

The institutional image manual (see PDF) includes this preferred negative vertical version, on a red background:

An unfortunate choice of red, the characteristic color of the PSOE

The most striking feature of the new logo is the color. I am not referring, obviously, to the use of white, but to the choice of red. The institutional image manual justifies this color choice: "The institutional colors maintain the historical tones of the institutional image of the Senate. Gules (Pantone 186) will be the main ink of the image institutional. The shades of gold and black are established as secondary to give continuity to the traditional image of the Senate."

To begin with, in the manual there is considerable confusion between design and heraldry: "gules" is what red is called in Spanish heraldry, but it is a term that is not used in graphic design, unless that they want to hide the fact that they have chosen the color red for the new logo. However, if you want to use heraldic names, you should say "sable" and not black.

The justification that the institutional image manual (that is, the creators of the new image) makes of the choice of "gules", alleging that they are "the historical tones of the institutional image of the Senate", It doesn't hold up. This is what the Senate website has looked like for at least 9 years. In the menu and other elements of the website the dominant color is blue, not red. Red as such only appears in the Flag of Spain that appears to the left of the logo, as well as in the presentation of the new image and in the YouTube icon.

Taking into account that the Senate as an institution must be neutral, the appropriate thing would have been to choose more neutral colors, such as black or gray, or maintain the current cobalt blue of the main menu of the website. Instead, the new Senate logo adopts the identifying color of one of the majority parties, the PSOE, something that visually conveys anything but neutrality. That this image has been approved by a Senate Board with an absolute majority of the Popular Party is something incomprehensible. It is like allowing yourself to concede an own goal.

It eliminates national symbols and put a building in their place

To the color problem we can add the error of the logo concept itself, which shows the Senate as a building. This would make sense if we were talking about the logo of a museum with a building as characteristic as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, but we are talking about one of the chambers that represent the Spanish people and exercise legislative power of the State, according to the Article 66 of the Spanish Constitution. The Senate is not a simple building: it is part of the political power that emanates from the people, and what should be reflected in its logo is the Nation it represents (represented by its shield, as it was until now), and not the building in which he carries out his work.

It must be said that making institutional logos with the image of a building is already too cliché and should be as penalized as designing flags that include the name of the territory they represent, as any expert in vexillology will recognize.

The white or red flag that sneaks into the new logo

To the clumsy choice of a building as the Senate logo we could add a specific detail of that design: the flag that appears in the logo.

As we see, in the positive logo what appears waving next to the Senate is a white flag, an international symbol of surrender. They have not even had the good sense to put something that in any way resembles the Flag of Spain.

The negative version of the logo is even worse, because a red flag appears, an international symbol of socialism and communism. I find it hard to believe that the Popular Party has approved a logo like this, without subjecting it to minimal scrutiny. What we see is a logo that seems determined to empty the image of the Senate of all historical meaning related to Spain, to put a white flag or a red flag in its place. And no one can criticize that this is an excess of criticism: it is the image of one of the cameras of the Spanish Cortes and should not include errors like these.

The manual does not banish the old shield but it corners it

It must be said that the institutional image manual does not simply banish the old Senate shield, but it corners it, leaving it for very specific uses, such as letterheads or cards. Here we can see the positive black and white version of the traditional shield that appears on page 24 of the manual:

The manual also includes a color version of the shieldon page 21:

The heraldic errors of the shield that appears in the manual

As a fan of heraldry, this color version has left me stunned. Azur (blue, in heraldry) ornaments appear in the rosettes of the crown, something that does not appear in the rosettes of the official design of the Royal Crown of Spain. Likewise, the flames on the necklace of the Order of the Golden Fleece appear in yellow. And I say yellow and not "gold", because the heraldic error is made of including those two colors in the coat of arms, as also happens with the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Granada. The flames of the Golden Fleece necklace are usually made the same gold color as the rest of the necklace, but when choosing another color, the logical thing would be to use gules (red), and not yellow .

In short, the design approved by the Senate Board is not only inappropriate from the point of view of brand design, contributing to detaching the Senate from the national symbols of Spain at a time of serious institutional crisis (and putting a white flag or a red flag in its place), but also the shield that appears in the manual includes heraldic errors. I wonder what those who commissioned this design were thinking, and if the Popular Party or the Socialist Party did it in the last legislature, since developing a new corporate image is not something that can be done in a short time.

Don't miss the news and content that interest you. Receive the free daily newsletter in your email:

Opina sobre esta entrada:

Debes iniciar sesión para comentar. Pulsa aquí para iniciar sesión. Si aún no te has registrado, pulsa aquí para registrarte.