The Santa Fe Complex
Santa Fe, New Mexico
September 19, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
"Join Maggie Macnab, Joel Nakamura and John Langdon for a half-day seminar that explores the fasinating relevance of symbols in visual communications. This experiential presentaition will educate attendees on symbolic influence in lettering, illustration and identity design — from three creative angles."
Maggie Macnab — author of Decoding Design
Specializes in symbolism and in logo design that is both universal and particular to the client.
"Trust that which gives you meaning and accept it as your guide."
— Carl Jung
Design: Taking something that does not yet exist and putting it into the practical world.
Five shapes drawn on paper: square, circle, spiral, triangle, cross
Which do you like most? The spiral
Least? The square
Neutral? the triangle
We sense connections between space and time through pattern, allowing us to grasp who and where we are.
- Branching: the pattern of trees, rivers, lightening, circulatory and neural system
A lot of branching patterns have a concentric circle built in.
ex. Trees also have tree rings
You start with the thing that is most common - it doesn't matter if it is trite or contrived.
- Meanders: the pattern of water, brain corral, brain, rolling and turning motion, maximum capacity in tight space
German designer: Homann - color management
- Symmetrically stacked and Breaking patterns: seen in spheres, cells, molecules, flies eye, honey comb. Its the shape of ultra-efficiency. Breaks in sidewalks occurring at 120º . Buckminister Fuller's geodesic dome
Patterns transcend scale. So that's why logos based on patterns work so well at various sizes.
A lot of financial institutions that want to say high efficiency use direct corners and points of intersection.
- Weaving and Helices Patterns: seen in galaxies - nebula, water spouts, tornadoes, its the basis of fabrics, opposite cultures working together
- Spirals: seen in seed heads, shells, ferns, tendrils, and galaxies
The symbols of Numbers:
1. The circle is the shape for one.
used cross-culturally to represent God
2. Duality and Division
the cross shape
Du + al = two + all
"Dividing is only half the story"
The Vestica Pisces
Jesus Fish shape, also a female shape
"One form informs the next step"
2 concentric circles/ripples in water
Mid-evil age was the Piscean era - pisces symbol
Symbols are self-evident. They are around us all the time.
In western culture, things are viewed very linearly, heaven or hell, black or white, consequentially, such as The mastercard symbol
Eastern symbol for duality is very different. The Yin Yang symbol.
Always design logos in black and white first. Maggie designed the gorgeous two arabian horse head yin/yang logo.
3. The step from two dimensions to 3 dimensions
The triangle shape
The top of the triangle is our interaction with what we don't know, God, inspired thought-process sits on top
3 is the # of turning under again for the process to start anew.
ex. recycled logo - it may have been a very intuitive design
Trial means Try-all
symbol for women, birth
The three stripes on the Obama logo - again may have been a very intuitive design
4. adding the 4th point adds depth
city grids, strategy games like chess and checkers
the idea/theory of money having value - its shape ads structure and the perception of value
5 fingers and toes
quality and quantity in the # 5
the pentagon, 5-pointed star
5 is inherent in the spiral shape
5 petaled flowers create food that is edible for humans, while 6 or 9 petaled plants are poison or medicine - poison and medicine are synonymous
the golden proposition, Fibinacci Theory - nature's favorite mathematical sequence
the golden rectangle
Love, the Heart shape, is based roughly on the spiral
Design for integrity. You have that power as a designer.
Now look back at the shapes you chose in the beginning.
Least Favorite: Square
The least favorite shape is something you are avoiding. The most favorite shape is something you are most in balance and most comfortable with in your life. The neutral shape is a balance point between the two for you. Try to work on the parts in your life that have to do with your least favorite shape and see if you can get that more in balance.
Symbolism and meaning behind the shapes you chose:
Growth and Evolution
Wholeness, unity and community
The connector of two points and the divider of two points. 2 opposites overlapping. Relationship
What we aspire to
The point above us
Stability and structure
It was an interactive excersize. We drew index cards with words on them and then we had to draw the words on post-it notes in black permanant marker and stick them on the front wall. The words got harder and harder to draw.
Can of Spam
"Monkey See, Monkey Do"
"Viral Marketing" which we had to do as a group
"Your future is full of success" we all had to open a fortune cookie and create a logo for a future business based on what we drew.
It was fun!
I missed part of his lecture because I went to the ATM to with-draw money to buy Maggie's Book, Decoding Design, and get it signed.
His talk and his work focuses on Ambiagrams
"Sometimes its not just about yin and yang, but also about the line that separates and connects the two"
Bell curves, sand bars, and tidal pools, wave length, slinky - helix form of spiral
The word OM spelled from a coil presented head on for the O and sideways for the M. Amazing! I recall my yoga mat on the scanner daily practice.
ambi - either/or + gram - something written graphically
A word that can be read from more than one point of view
He showed an awesome example of an abmbiagram made from the word Appophenia which means the perception of meeting where it doesn't actually exist
- can be rotational
- or mirror image
Caligraphy is a very spontaneous process. Mentioned the name Tom Bandwell to look up. John can't do caligraphy because he is left handed. He talks about his background. He got a BA in English, knew he always wanted to be an artist, but never got the support growing up. Got a job at a type setting factory out of college, and has taught typography classes for 21 years.
This was an incredible lecture and I love my new book!