Sign of the times

New Democracy’s new logo was like a pebble tossed in a lake, creating a ripple of comments, interpretations and historical accounts. Can a pebble create so many waves? Why, yes, because society likes to assign so much significance to things like the design, the image, the brand; so much so that the image overshadows, outshines and overpowers the content. Or, put in other words, the signifier takes precedence over the signified. In the case of the conservative party’s new logo, the discourse rested too heavily on the signifier, the form, the aesthetic, and a lot less on the signified, on what the change means in itself. More importantly, it failed to address the significance of the new concept. In our opinion, the new logo was launched too hastily and drew too much from the standard design toolbar; it is nothing more than run-of-the-mill. The underscore at the end of the party’s name, for example, betrays a longing to be modern, to be in tune with the spirit of the Internet generation: It betrays the swift but superficial instincts of a spin doctor. The font itself, sans serif, of the DIN family, is also trendy and much-used. Here too we see anxiety to appear hip, as well as a lack of research. All of this frivolity does have an upside, however. In New Democracy’s new logo we see no trace of sonorous monumentalism, no loud symbolism, no axes, torches, phoenixes, crosses, stars and lamps, no one- or two-headed eagles and the usual array of symbols celebrating the remnants of empires, fiefdoms and fascist powers. New Democracy’s new logo has succeeded in achieving the opposite effect of the confusing and bombastic escutcheon of the City of Athens, fashioned under former Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, if memory serves correctly. In this sense, New Democracy’s new logo as it is – fleeting, trendy-ish and superficial – reflects these fluid times, these times of low expectations, of introversion and of transformation. There are no flaming torches and drunken suns. Just two brushstrokes, three colors, neutral sans serif letters, no tails and curlicues. Abstract and floating on the crest of the times, the new emblem expresses trepidation for the new world that is emerging, while at the same time flirting with an idealized, chimerical new generation.