ArtZone Co-Op

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Raising the Co-op Rainbow and Doves

ArtZone Co-operative has produced more Co-op flags to be flown by London’s local councils. This year, in London, Enfield Council joined with Lambeth, Camden and Tower Hamlets to fly the Rainbow and Doves Co-op flag which ArtZone designed and produced. ArtZone Co-operative’s “Fly the flag” project formed part of our aim to highlight the “UN International year of co-operatives” which took place last year. The project took off when co-op friendly councils requested coop rainbow flags from us to fly from their town halls. The first flag was raised in our home borough of Tower Hamlets. Of course it would be good to see Co-op Rainbows flying over all town halls throughout the country.

Peace and prosperity

The image composition we use for the Co-op flags and banners was originated in 2010 in collaboration with the London Co-op Council under the leadership of the then chair Colin Bastin. The ‘rainbow and doves’ motif echoes the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) emblem which in turn refers to the historic 7 coloured rainbow adopted by the Co-op Movement in 1925. The Doves were an additional motif added into a six coloured rainbow in 2001 to reflect peace as well as to distinguish the Co-op movement from the many organisations who began to use the popular rainbow motif. The seventh colour was not lost in the new design as it was incorporated into the text. The Rainbow motif therefore acknowledges both the long history of the Co-operative movement and reflects the co-operative principles - the very essence of Co-operativism.

A local Identity

Added to the core rainbow motif a slogan and specific image is added to identify the organisation (such as a place ikon). For example the banner produced for the LCC selected ‘Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster’ as the ‘placement’ and the agreed words “peace, socialism, co-operation”. Likewise Camden kept the slogan but chose Camden Town Hall as its brand. Northampton Co-op Party selected their iconic Northampton Guildhall building and Tower Hamlets council added a ‘Fair Trade Town’ and the council’s new ‘TH Energy Co-op’ amongst its logos. Most local councils have used their corporate logo alongside the preferred wording - ‘a co-operative council’.

Banners too

The flags varied in size as well as shape - rectangular to be flown from upright flag poles or angled to be hung from wall mountings - (all app 2.5m x 1.5m). Most incorporated standard rope and toggle fittings with securing fastenings. For the banners ArtZone also manufactured banner poles which could break down into carriable sizes. The banner poles are an ongoing project to find the lightest, strongest, and easily constructed with loss free components - which all combine into a most economical solution. We are aware that most of our customers for the banners are committed groups of big hearted volunteers with small budgets.

The Co-operative Flag

The ICA’s familiar ‘rainbow and doves’ emblem which is made up of 7 colours not only links us to the long history of the Co-operative movement it is a powerful reminder that the Co-op movement is truly international with a bright future in the making. It just needs more co-operators to raise the “rainbow and doves” flag to ensure that the pot of gold is equitably distributed rather than undersell the philosophy of co-operation.

Rainbow colours

Red stands for courage
Orange offers the vision of possibilities
Yellow represents the challenge that green has kindled
Green indicates a challenge to strive for membership growth
Sky blue suggests far horizons, the need to provide education and help the less fortunate and unity with all peoples of the world
Dark blue represents the less fortunate who can learn to help themselves through co-operation
Violet represents warmth, beauty, and friendship