Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Semiotics & the City:: Toronto's Heraldry & Berkeley's Logo

In 2002, I was in Vanvoucer, BC and was in a B&B that had a copy of a book on city coats-of-arms. Coats of arms were one of those things that stuck out as a difference between the US and Canada. The US having a tendency to have seals or logos. Only recently have I seen the Toronto coat-of-arms. The Torontoist even explains it {above}. More detail is on the city website.

Given my battles on the balcony, I sometimes wonder if #1 {the eagle representing strength, bravery, and power} should be a pigeon. I think it's great how much thought and effort went into the heraldry. Online, I recently saw a commenter on a newspaper site or blog who was resisting the identity of Toronto as a diverse city, questioning the value of such a claim and wondering where it was from. Interestingly, when you look at the city website, it explains that the "diversity" in the "Diversity our strength" motto refers to geography, not culture::

"This is the motto which describes our new city – the joining of seven municipalities which creates added strength."

The Berkeley, CA logo is adapted from a portion of a Romare Bearden mural, "Berkeley- the City and Its People" {1973} {link}::

When I was in Berkeley in 1996-97, I knew about the logo's history but promptly forgot about it. I like the idea of how the logo was taken from artwork and represents an idealized civic identity.

I've always thought the album art for The English Beat's "I Just Can't Stop It," bears a striking resemblance to Bearden's work::

Twitterversion:: Toronto & Berkeley logos & representations of civic identity. @Prof_K

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