My last post was about Peterborough itself, in this post I want to look at the existing symbols. There isn’t a flag already in use in Peterborough but there are logos and symbols that are connected to the city that a lot of Peterborians will recognise, I’m going to look at the three most prevalent ones.
Coat of Arms
Like most cities Peterborough has a coat of arms, which is full of symbolism (for more info visit Heraldry of the World). It depicts two winged lions (“Lion Ermine winged Argent charged on the wing with three Estoiles Sable” in heraldry circles) which is in reference to a local house of peerage. Between them they are holding a blue shield that has a set of golden crossed keys upon it (the crossed keys are a symbol of Saint Peter) and the motto “upon this rock’ (a biblical passage and another reference to Saint Peter). On top of the shield is a depiction of a towers ramparts, signifying the Peterborough was once a walled city. A stylised version of the coat of arms is also used for the badge of the football team Peterborough United.
City Council Logo
The city council has its own logo (the coat of arms was probably too detailed to reproduce in a variety of sizes and treatments the council would need it for), it appears on all communications from the city council. You know the kind of thing, parking permits, pamphlets telling you the Christmas bin collection schedule, council tax etc. So far I’ve been unable to find any rationale for its design, but I would surmise that ‘the green represents the fertile land that surrounds Peterborough, while the swoosh signifies the River Nene running through the city.’ Now the I’ve done cringing . . . and possibly mis-post-rationalising (that is to say I’ve completely screwed up my made up rational for the logo), I’ll move on.
Visit Peterborough / Invest in Peterborough
This logo is very apparent around the city centre, it’s on the gift shop, appears on all new signage, basically anywhere something new is being built. Yet until looking it up, I had no idea what it was for. It turns out it is for the organisation that is charged with trying to bring more money (via tourism and/or corporate investment) into the area. With my post-rationalising hat on it’s clear that the lines and colours are obviously meant convey what a fun, bright, energetic, forward-thinking place that Peterborough is.
I can’t post this logo without doing a little commenting on it. While it catches they eye, the busy logo does feel quite generic it could easily be a community college or even another city (I’d suggest a place beginning with an O sit better on the colours). Because of the nature of the font chosen it is hard to tell if the p on the colours is upper or lowercase because of the height at which it sits. This doesn’t strictly matter, and it would be easier to ignore if it was a particularly pretty letter form, but as it is it just looking a lonely p blowing a load of party whistles for itself. The type layout isn’t bad, but I do find the typeface challenging. The angles on the crossbar of the t and r are a little awkward while the descender on the g seems unfinished and looks very sharp at small scales and because of the less rounded joints added to letters with a bowl (p,b,g) the b looks liable to roll over.
In terms of identifiable icons the latter two don’t provide much to consider, both of them could just as easily be a logos for Newcastle or Oldham if you replaced the text. They don’t contain anything quintessential Peterborough. It is interesting to note that there isn’t any consistency in the colour scheme, with the coat of arms being blue, the council’s green and the invest in Peterborough logo well it has all of them. Unsurprisingly the city seems intrinsically linked with Saint Peter and if you did look at the Heraldry of the World link it would appear that has been a consistent theme for a long time.