Under the acacias... the birth of Total's first logo
Here is the testimony of my grandfather, Claude Le Cœur, creator of Total's first logo.
A fellow architect had taken me unexpectedly to dinner at a friend's house in Saint Germain en Laye. There were several of us at the table. Our host was a director in a major oil company that was to take the name "Total" a few months later. At one point during the meal this gentleman said to my colleague: "You did not answer my request for a logo for my company! "I took out a pencil and a piece of paper from my pocket and scribbled a circle with a vertical line through it. "The circle, I said, would be blue (oil blue), the straight line would be red (red being the symbol of energy), in short an oil well from which a flame comes out, the bottom would remain white, and you would have our national tricolour! ». Smile of the master of the house who puts the paper in his pocket and the meal continues mixed with varied conversation.
The next morning at my office, surprise, it is by phone my host from the day before who asks me to come home at coffee time. At about half past one he arrives at rue de Vaugirard and, barely seated, before the coffee is even served, says to me: "I have the agreement of my CEO". I ask what this agreement is about. Answer: "On your proposal". - But what are you talking about? "And he takes out of his pocket two little pieces of paper and hands them to me, one of which I recognize my sketch, and the other is a cheque with a huge number on it. He said, "It's for you", and I protested, "Of course not! "but he insists; I reply that I would only accept reimbursement for the wear and tear on my pencil! It was then explained to me that in this field usage is king and that a specialist in advertising would not be satisfied with this sum, by far!
I had to give in, full of confusion...and deprived of a car for almost ten years, the next day I offered myself a nice "Chevrolet wagon" (used).
My blue-white-red work, modest though it was, has for many years pointed out the Total brand on tankers, on cans on volu-meters and pumps in city garages and service stations along motorways...
And since that time my key ring has always been adorned with this emblem of Total.