Designing logos can get pretty exciting epecially if the client requires a reinvention of established cultural, religious or political symbols. In my experience, this requires a huge amount of research work, even to the point of being able to explain the symbols as if you were from cultural, religious or political denomination. It is indeed challenging work, but at the end of the design process, not only were you able to satisfy the needs of the client, but you learned a lot more, knowledge and skill-wise. You also gain a different attitude... a certain oneness with your client, a sense of being a "man of the world."
Anyway, a few years back, I designed a logo for the Center of Jewish Values (CJV), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting Jewish values. CJV works with other groups, Congress, the White House and Governors to help support policies that are consistent with Jewish values. They hold events to educate the Jewish community about certain political ideas and they hold conferences for Jewish activists. Interestingly, they wanted to see a blend of Judiasm with American symbolism in their logo. In addition to this requirement, they wanted the logo to exude optimism, patriotism, strength and gravitas. I worked on 3 concepts, each one investing heavily on a particular Jewish (mezuzot or menorah) or American symbol (flag and eagle):
I utilized the blending of these ideologies through an arrangement of graphic elements (instead of the flag stars, the Magen David was used) and colors. The strongest most ingenious of the three, I think, is the Diyu Nesher, where the American eagle also effectively forms the shape of the menorah. The client enjoyed the third concept and even requested for a short essay describing the logo:
Throughout the history of America, since its founding, the American Jews have maintained a collective identity while actively participating in American society and public life. They have constantly assured the survival and echoing of their voice amidst America’s diversity and freedom. The Center for Jewish Values aims to educate the Jewish community on political ideals; to rally for support for policies consistent with Jewish values and to influence the general public in advocating these values.
The bald eagle, symbol of America’s sovereignty and strength is used as the centerpiece in the image of the Center for Jewish Values. The colors of the nation are integrated also, as red symbolizes hardiness and valour; blue, vigilance and white, purity. It is layered with the symbol of the Menorah, cleverly combined within the body of the eagle, representing the role of each American Jew to serve as a light unto others, an exemplification of true morals and good deeds. This eagle-menorah image further signifies the soaring need and swift resolve to maintain and uphold Jewish values in today’s harsh political climate. The eagle can be seen clasping in its beak a symbolic flame, evoking unity and oneness in endeavor. The Magen David reflects the original constellation (13 stars) depicted in the Great Seal.
Versatile and unique in design. May be presented in horizontal and vertical positions, in tiled and seal versions, depending on mode of use.
Recently, I was tasked with doing logo concept work for ModernTribe, a company that manufactures and sells Jewish household items such as menorahs, mezuzahs and seder plates. The client wanted a reinvention of the Star of David. The logo should represent a new generation of American female Jews: hip, fun, cool and modern. It does not necessarily have to be religious, but it should identify with the ethnicity, culture and history. The logo should be able to invoke feelings of happy surprise and excitement.
A modern twist on an otherwise traditional symbol is tough. I reviewed current logos of pop culture, and the logo I wanted to emulate for this concept was that of Hed Kandi. I came up with this:
I admit, the font required a little more work, but the symbol I created is simple, modern and powerful enough to stand on its own.
I hope to encounter more design challenges such as these. These examples goes to show that "traditional" does not necessarily mean "outdated"... "traditional" can also be "modern and contemporary".