Trimtag launches Insignia Insights a new Brandspotting series

Insignia Insights a new Brandspotting series from Trimtag

Announcing the launch of our newest Brandspotting series: Insignia Insights.

As Remembrance Day 2020 approaches in a year no one expected, Trimtag Trading Inc. was inspired to create Insignia Insights. Featuring notable visual identities, our blog will profile the makers, craft and meaning behind centuries of symbolism.

Decoding visual shorthand is what Insigina Insights is all about.

Follow us along this journey of discovery and subscribe to Brandspotting. After pausing on November 11 to honour what our veterans fought for, our first Insignia Insights topic will be the peace symbol created in 1958.

But first, some background:

Making a Mark

Humans have long felt a need to mark territory, property and affiliations. Branding, you could say, has evolved over millennia. Storytelling with pictures was used by ancient and indigenous civilizations the world over. Pinpointing a single origin is not possible, but there are plenty of examples that give us Insignia Insights.

Appearing in many cultures and different materials, early humans painted pictures on Paleolithic caves. Indigenous peoples carved trees into totems. To identify royalty, ancient Egyptians used oval cartouches. Signifying eternity, the two symbols of a King or Queen’s throne and personal names were inside. Understanding these visual symbols helped us to decipher the language of hieroglyphics.

Nike winged goddess, Ephesus, Turkey, 2nd century BC

Civilizations like the Aztecs, to ancient Greece and the Orient painstakingly chiseled designs by hand into stone. Because they were made to be long lasting and impressive, early symbols of power were usually reserved for rulers or royalty.

So that is why it is still possible to see some of them today.

This Greek winged goddess of victory, Nike, was carved in marble in the second century BCE. She remains in Ephesus, left in the rubble when the Romans retreated.

Nike’s stylized image continues to be used as a visual identity today. Personifying speed and victory, she appears on coins, sneakers and motorcycles.

That is the first of many Insiginia Insights: staying power!

Insignia Insights: Mass Communication

Replicating symbols to signify quality began on a mass scale in the medieval era. Stamping unique hallmarks into precious coins and metals, silversmiths could reassure their royal or wealthy patrons of their wares. Hallmarks were similar to Egyptian cartouches. Because English craft guilds organized and began recording the maker each hallmark belonged to, we can trace them.

Registering a standardized symbol is the second of our Insignia Insights.

Becoming a mass communication tool also happened by moving on from caves, rocks and trees. That is insight number three. Stamping gold and silver coins and metal expanded circulation. Dipping signet rings in wax sealed many letters. Printing presses put mastheads on newspapers read by more people.

Weaving designs into tapestries and cloth, and hand-stitched embroidery, brass buttons and appliques appeared on flags and fashion. Adorning buildings, doorways, and decor, crests were created in metal, wood, bronze and plaster.

Modernizing and expanding the reach of insignia happened over centuries of creativity. Being made in all sorts of materials is part of the success of insignia as a mass communication tool.

Insignia Insights: Motivating

Insignia Insights detail Coldstream Guard uniform Tower of LondonInsignia Insights will reveal how symbols were used in military ways.

Motivating for millennia, clans and countries created their own for uniforms to rally troops, and flags for all citizens to identify with and salute. Using insignia visually identified members of organizations and the hierarchy of roles within.

Distinguishing one from another is how insignia brings trust, prestige and clarity of purpose wherever it is used. And that is Insignia Insights number four.

Visible insignia continue to be used to identify regiment, rank and service on lapels, chests and shoulder flashes of virtually every kind of uniform you might encounter. Like the Order of the Garter regimental badge on the collar of this Coldstream Guard uniform at the Tower of London.

And this is why we still refer to the boss as ‘top brass’, even if they don’t wear any.

Insignia Insights: Honouring

Insignia Insights will celebrate how excellence is honoured.

Awards of merit are often stamped in metal, attached to ribbons or plaques. They are given as commemorative or service medals for military, law enforcement and citizen bravery. Recognizing exceptional achievements in public service, artistic, academic, sporting and cultural contributions is a role insignia continues to play.

We see remnants of old forms of insignia everywhere: chiseled on buildings, sewn on flags and carved in family crests. Such symbols and hallmarks remain in high demand at antique shows and auction houses for authentication, dating and valuation.

Recognition is Insignia Insights five.

Insignia Insights: Branding

Insignia Insights will show how we see brands today.

Royal Coat of Arms Buckingham Palace Gates created 1908 by Bromsgrove GuildThe gates to Buckingham Palace were forged in 1908 by The Bromsgrove Guild, known for their Arts & Crafts style ironwork. Holding the gilded Royal Coat of Arms are a symbolic lion (England) and unicorn (Scotland). At the bottom St. George the Dragon is a mythology reference to the monarch at the time, George V.

In your own home, you probably have a little less fancy branded insignia in plain sight. See that badge on the fridge? Find hallmarks in china cabinets and jewelry boxes. There are brands in your closet on the elastic on your underwear, a button, baseball cap or the imprint of your sneaker tread.

Outside, insignia are on the grill of your car, the uniform on the transit driver and on buildings you enter. Brands are on your phone or coffee cup. Logos are on street signs, store awnings, your shopping bag or delivery box, and on the card you used for payment.

If you are like us, you see, wear or carry around branding of some kind every day. Visibility is the sixth on the list of Insignia Insights.

Insignia Insights: Valuing

Insignia Insights will look into the value of branding, and how tradition and evolution both play a role in what an identity is worth. We are not historians or auction experts, but we know authenticity is becoming more important for any brand. Heraldry registries can do this for some insignia but new technology can now make many branded items digitally traceable.

Because more brands are invented daily, all six Insignia Insights elements contribute to the seventh: value. Nowadays, intellectual property rights adds durability, protection and value to any kind of insignia.

Join Us

Come along on this journey of discovery. Suggesting your ideas for future posts of Insignia Insights is welcome. Sharing is too!

Providing highest quality customized insignia for many of Canada’s most prestigious institutions is what we do. Trimtag Trading Inc. works with all levels of government, including public transit, military, front-line workers and first responders including fire, police and EMS services. As well, we create insignia for non-profit organizations and clubs, along with many companies and institutions which value their brand as an important asset.


Delivery done different

Delivery done different for online shopping

We see a need for delivery done different.  Shopping habits are shifting to e-commerce, especially since the spring shutdown. Buying things online has helped people avoid physical stores, while keeping retailers and restaurants in business.

That has lead to increases in delivery vehicles, particularly on residential streets.

While school was out, and many tried to work from home, vehicle couriers could make their deliveries quickly in normally congested cities. Now, some kids are back to unusual school with irregular schedules. Commuting has returned for some people. Giving up road space continues to allow alfresco dining in many communities. But as weather cools, and since some areas have just paused dining in, food delivery services will likely increase.

Adding to this, Amazon set new dates for member Prime Days in October, instead of the usual July. Expect other retailers to pile on promotions to capture some much-needed sales. A surge in October online shopping added to the usual Black Friday and holiday online shopping spree is setting up for delivery nightmares. During this time, we urge those doing all these deliveries to Be Alert, when daylight and visibility on the road is lowest, and things are far from ‘normal’ on our streets.

Avoiding shipping charges we know is important for customers shopping online. Yet we also know free shipping is costly for companies, and for the environment. Learning about these new programs from around the world showed us the possibilities of delivery done different.

Electric assist for delivery pedal power

The DHL Express ‘City Hub’ concept has done delivery different since in 2015.  Expanding to 17 cities in Europe and the Far East. A first North American pilot program happened last year in Manhattan with DOT, Amazon and UPS.  The concept uses Cubicycles – four wheel cargo ebikes which have electric pedal assistance for additional speed and help climbing hills. A fleet of them are dropped daily in secure containers with their delivery cargo into downtown urban centres.

Reef Technologies ebike for cargo delivery done different

courtesy Reef Technologies

Pursuing pedal power, DHL launched another pilot this May with the City of Miami in partnership with the Downtown Development Authority, Miami Parking Authority and Reef Technology. Their three-wheeled electric-assisted vehicles can carry about 180 kg of cargo.

We are excited to partner with DHL and the City of Miami to shape the future of last-block delivery –  Ari Ojalvo, CEO, Reef Technology.

Every morning, up to nine cargo containers are loaded into a DHL custom trailer and delivered to Reef Hub garages for last mile deliveries. Outbound shipments are re-loaded in the afternoon.

Eco-friendly road safety in one delivery

Deploying just four e-Cargo Cycles in Miami is expected to reduce 101,000 kg of CO2e annually.

DHL has an ongoing global program to use different pedal and alternative fuel-powered delivery vehicles to minimize its environmental footprint and support sustainable living initiatives by cities. Committing to reach net zero emissions from transport activities by 2050 they aim to use green energy solutions for 70 percent of deliveries by 2025.

We were equally happy to learn this eco-friendly innovation in delivering packages is also about better road safety.

Leveraging the REEF ecosystem and deploy these new environmentally-friendly vehicles not only to support our emissions-reduction efforts, but also significantly reduce the challenges associated with urban business deliveries, improving safety, productivity and costs – Greg Hewitt, CEO, DHL Express U.S.

Creative solutions found in parking lots

Interestingly, Reef is the largest operator of parking, mobility, and logistics hubs in North America. Repurposing underutilized parking facilities is their main business. Focusing on ‘last-block mobility’ and logistics they set up delivery depots in parking lots. This year they also built commercial kitchens, temporary testing and medical clinics by re-imagining parking facilities that serve the needs of cities, residents and businesses, not just parked cars.

Delivery done different is one of the inspired creative solutions to emerge from a parking lot in this crisis. We will look for more creative conversions of underutilized urban spaces into useful neighbourhood hubs that connect businesses with customers. Even better if they enhance road safety.

Be Alert safety products for your road ahead

Unlike the delivery drivers out there, we are not sure where the rest of this year’s road will take us. But we do expect home delivery will continue to be in high demand. Whether you are a courier company, delivery driver, cubicyclist or retailer, we encourage you to consider road safety and the environment with every mile you are out there. And pedestrians, do your part to pay attention on the pavement.

Trimtag helps companies with custom uniform insignia, vehicle decals, and we can source and customize eco-friendly packaging. Designing with highly reflective materials helps children wearing our exclusive Be Alert road safety products be more visible. Get in touch if you would like a sample, or to know how we can create high-visibility branded items just for you.


Back to unusual school

Unusual back to school rules and blackboard fright for young student

We are facing a back to unusual school. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is the human species can adapt. That is good since children, teachers and parents are not the only ones who need to Be Alert this year.

Everyone in the community needs to adapt to this new normal. School this September will be different. Safety is key. For that reason, we respect some parents will decide to keep their children learning remotely from home for now.

Whatever you decide, we know you can do it. We have seen you social distance, wear a face covering and, well, basically change your entire life for the past few months. Our kids have also adapted to new routines, perhaps better than us. But we also know that may have slowed their academic achievements and social skills development.

What is coming next is going to be tough. There will be tests. Parents will juggle. Teachers will be planning and grading. Students will be studying. We know tests are essential to learning. The only thing which seems certain is that there will be new kinds of tests in this back to unusual school. Not just for students, for all of us.

School Traffic Safety Signals

A colour coded #RestartMB Pandemic Response System introduced by the Province of ManitobaManitoba just introduced this colour-coded #RestartMB Pandemic Response System.

Operating much like traffic lights: green, yellow, orange and red. Colouring signals when we need to stop, go, move with degrees of caution. Because they are familiar and simple to understand any changes that may happen, we think this is a useful tool.

Using this system allows each community to know what the pandemic traffic is like, helping us all navigate intersections as more people circulate in our communities.

Unusual School Lessons

Learning the new rules is the first lesson if they are heading back to unusual school, even before you or your child sets foot in one. Depending on the situation in your province and community. Spacing out desks is key in the classroom. Hand hygiene is something we learned to do really well this spring, but young children might need a refresher hand washing course after being away from school since March.

Unusual too is that face coverings are required inside, including most schools and for most grades. Hallways literally have traffic signs. Learning virtually will continue for some subjects, alternating with other students getting lessons in class. Weather permitting, there may be more ‘outdoor ed’ if teachers can take the learning outside.

From K-12 it will be very unusual school. Attendance taking is key for contact tracing. Absentees will be praised because it is safest to stay home if they are sick. Teachers, staff and parents will be on high alert, since things can change quickly, and this year children might have some extra angst.

We all know much learning happens outside the classroom. But this will be limited. Most likely absent for now are gym, band and after school clubs and teams. Restrictions on recess, lockers and lunchtime or after school hanging out will make this very unsocial unusual school indeed.

Unusual School Tests

young students, teachers, parents and the community will be tested for safety as kids get back to unusual school Going hand in hand with school is tests. This unusual school year will involve a whole new set of tests, not only for students, but also for teachers, staff and parents. Testing to ensure classroom setup is safe. Testing to provide assurance that those circulating in the halls are healthy.

Testing normally measures a student’s understanding of the curriculum. Testing this year is the way to know if returning to unusual school will not spread the coronavirus to others in the school or the broader community.

We all hope schools pass these critical tests with flying colours. And, if test results indicate there is a problem, the real test will be how quickly and effectively we deal with it. The whole community depends on this.

Unusual School Traffic Alert

As if this unusual school year isn’t trying enough. We continue to urge drivers to Be Alert, especially around school zones. Road safety is still important too. Those speed enforcement cameras we warned you about are now issuing tickets. Moving vehicles and small kids do not mix well.

Reopening schools means there will be even more kids traveling on foot, by bike or scooter on our streets every day. Routines may switch every other day or week. Allowing for safe distancing, means there will be even more school buses back on the road doing their daily double routes.

Commuting by car may be the choice more often than transit for schoolteachers and staff getting to work. School re-opening will allow some parents of school age kids to begin to actually get work done if their still working from home. And, if they work outside their home, many parents will also opt to walk, drive or bike to work.

Driving kids to school may happen even more than before out of parents’ concerns for safety. All of these new and unusual back-to-school and work routines may actually add to traffic congestion around school zones.

Be Alert safety products for an usual school year

Traveling safely back to unusual school still requires all road users to Be Alert. Maybe more than ever, we encourage parents to help young children know the safest routes to school. Teach them how to cross busy streets with the help of zebra crossings or crossing guards. If you do any back-to-school shopping, make your children more visible to motorists with reflective patches, zipper pulls or trims to attach to their clothing, bikes and scooters.

We partner with all types of companies and organizations to communicate about their brand. If you are a school administrator, teacher, parent volunteer, we can help customize your message, get in touch. Communicating new health and safety measures is key to making schools not only re-open, but continue your vital education mission.