Sunday, February 22, 2009

Logo Design: KALISS

I remember years ago when I was just fresh out of college and enjoying my hard-earned salary, when friends of my parents who were very active in our local parish invited me to donate money monthly to the seminary in support of priests in the making. They said it doesn't have to be that big, so I thought I can shell out P200 every month. I thought this was enough and since I myself intended of going to the seminary before, I was in full zealous support of these kinds of charitable activities. But there were months when I would fail to commit to the pledged donation, and I can't help but imagine the poor seminarist who depended on that meager support, shivering cold and hungry in a dark corner of his room.

Of course, it doesn't happen that way. Organizations who manage these donations are usually composed of individuals, groups, companies and businesses who want to share their means by pledging an amount in monthly/semi-annually/annually to raise funds in support for religious vocation. So I'm just a small fish in a sea of whales whose contributions are being gathered together to support the activities, facilities and training required in producing priests. Recently, I was asked by Fr. Boni Chavez, through Kuya Onjie to help out a similar organization in a manner I am quite happy to oblige. Their group is called KALISS which is actually an acronym for "Kabalikat At Lingap sa mga Seminarista ng Sto. Rosario-Montalban, Rizal" needed a new logo.

The logo must bear the rosary as icon of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, a bible, a chalice, a priest or nun icon, and an open arm or crossed hands as "balikatan" symbol. Now, these are standard religious symbols that one often sees in religious seals. I thought that the way to go with this logo is through heraldry.

As a kid, I have always been a fan of heraldry, and now I realize why I am so fascinated with logos and creating them: it's because I have been creating armorial designs since I was a kid. We had these "New Book of Knowledge" (not so new really, as they are now more than 30 years old!) and the pages of the "H" volume that was so worn out were the pages about heraldry. I scan them here, and you would see that I even had some pencil marks on it, and even ballpen tracing where I thought lines should be. I think I was around 5 years old then when I studied this, and you could imagine how fascinated I was to learn that these shield designs had some real meaning behind them and were actually meant to identify the people behind the armor. What's also fascinating is how the artist tried to depict it here, some quite morbidly… and as a kid, I enjoyed it.

I remember since then, I have been making shields and insignias for imaginary armies that my brothers and I used to play in our invented board games. You would find it weird, but I make it a point to study the coat of arms of parishes and dioceses. I even went to the point of casually interviewing a bishop abut the symbolisms in his coat of arms. When Pope Benedict XVI was ordained, one of the things I was excited about was his new coat of arms, as this will be the graphical representation of his past and upbringing, and most often would bear the theme of his reign as pope. It's really quite interesting!

Hmmm, back to the KALISS logo. The symbolisms were clearly requested and it was up to me how to arrange them. I thought of using the rosary as a framing element and all the remaining four symbols would conveniently go to each quarter of the shield. As I was sketching for possibilities, I discovered that the cross of the rosary can be the centerpiece, and be the instrument in dividing the shield into its four areas.

As I went on digitizing the design, I sought for a more special treatment of the rosary – something to give the whole logo a unique shape. Since the rosary included 5 segments (mysteries), I thought of creating a semi-circular curve for the 10 beads of each segment. When combined, it sort of suggests a subtle flower… or even a star (especially if you focus on the major beads). The icons were created in a manner following the "law of tincture" in heraldry.

With regards to color, I started with giving it a generally a Marian blue color.

However, it somehow looked dull. The KALISS group suggested using the liturgical colors, particularly gold, red, green and violet. I was quite excited that they suggested these 4 unique colors as this providentially supplied the colors for each quarter of the shield.

Finally, I added the text and provided them with the vertical and horizontal options. I wanted this logo to look respectful and dignified for it to represent a group with a good cause, as this will aid them raise the funds they need. Also, since this is a parochial movement, I wanted it the logo to be something that seems to belong among ecclesiastic heraldry. I hope this logo will serve them well. And perhaps then, I can redeem myself from letting my poor priest go hungry for months…