The Story Behind the Renn Designs Logo Posted on 16 Jun 09:00
Coming up with a logo to represent your business can present a number of issues - do you try to convey what it is you do, or create? Do you choose something personal, or something that encapsulates your ethos? Fortunately, this task was made a lot easier for me owing to the fact that a Renn family logo already exists, although the family business is no more.
My paternal Grandad, Harold Arthur Renn, from Croydon in London, borrowed £100 from his mother-in-law (my Grandma, Irene's mother) to start his London-based business Renn's Shaped Ply, and used the image of the little Wren bird as his logo. I was lucky enough to find the above original 1949 advert online, from a vintage print shop, and bought it for £4 - not a bad price to pay for a bit of family history!
Before my grandad's business came to be, his father, a piano-maker, owned and ran Temple Pianos in Stoke Newington, Hackney, and during both World Wars his expertise in shaped wood was called upon to help develop wooden parts for fighter aircraft, using new plywood technology. His factory switched from making pianos to making propellors in WWI, and parts for the Mosquito aircraft in WWII - there was not such a call for new pianos during the wars anyhow! It was this new plywood technology - producing very light yet strong pieces - that led to Renn's Shaped Ply; furniture made in this way was an innovative product and the business grew quickly, with a factory just off Brick Lane in East London. Harold was able to pay back the £100 within a year.
My Dad tells me that my Grandad was well liked as a boss, a sociable character, who happily employed people from all backgrounds, religions and ethnicities, at a time when this was often not the case. I found out recently that one of the Kray twins worked for him for a brief period, before they embarked on a life of crime...The factory experienced fluctuating fortunes over the years, like many businesses, and when the building itself was eventually condemned in the 1970s, Renn's Shaped Ply was sold.
My Grandad died two years before I was born, and so I have only known him through stories and photographs. It was a simple decision for me to use the little Wren bird for Renn Designs' logo, and the Renn family name, and I am happy that through this I can keep a little of the family history alive.