A symbol in time: The shape that remembers a city’s complicity

Nowadays when we think of Munich, images of beer houses overspilling with tourists drinking Weissbier or the world-famous football team come to mind. On my recent visit, the former stereotype was certainly met, but what I was surprised to discover was a city still reeling from the Second World War.

The profound impact the past has had upon the city is immeasurable, but to get a glimpse into the severity, you can look around and discover the ways in which it is still affected by the past. 

Over 80 years ago, the Nazi party coined Munich as the “capital of the movement” due to its pivotal role in the Nazis’ rise to power. This, in turn, led to one of the most recognisable and visually powerful symbols of all times being branded around the city. 

On my visit to Munich I was not only surprised to still discover the swastika’s presence, but also shocked at finding it in the most unlikely of places. The world famous beer house, the Hofbrauhaus, still had the logo on its roof, albeit covered up.

I also saw it in slightly less surprising places. The Haus der Kunst (house of art), which was built in 1937 to showcase Nazi propaganda, still had the swastika adorning its walls.

As an agency we recognise that logos and symbols don’t just visually represent an organisation, they instead embody their ideology. Although some might not shape cities, they will certainly shape perceptions and it’s important that this vessel of information is steering the viewer in the right direction.