A Sign Of The Times?

I walked across the railway bridge over the Rhine in Cologne earlier this week. It’s a big green, metal affair that stretches from the Cathedral to the city’s exhibition ground with six railway tracks and a pedestrian walkway.

I do this walk once a year or so and last February noticed a few hundred metal padlocks locked on to the metal fence that protects walkers from the trains. They were what the Italians call – love locks.Each one engraved with the initials of the owners who use the lock as a demonstration of their love – throwing the key into the river below.

Anyway this week, I counted the locks and guess what, the number has grown in twelve months from a few hundred to something close to nine thousand. That’s right, nine thousand.

It makes a wonderful sight. The austere, drab green bridge adorned with a necklace of sparkling metal glitter, representing the passion and romance of eighteen thousand Germans.

Aren’t we humans ingenious? In this increasingly cold, depersonalised world, we never stop finding new ways of expressing metaphorically our love for one another.

This is the art of the designer. The skill to invent new metaphors to summarise a feeling or a style. A rainbow for flavoured sweets. A mountain for a chocolate bar. A sapphire for a Gin.

And this art of the metaphor is what we consumers are looking for -that shorthand way of getting an understanding of something. So can you express your brand metaphorically?