Idealists List

The Meaning of Our Logo

A couple of days ago, Kay wrote to ask about the meaning of our logo. One thing I love about it is that it seems to lend itself to many meanings and interpretations, but here’s how it came about. We started Idealist.org in 1995, and went through several logos in a few years. I kept obsessing about it because I believe that logos matter, and I was sure that sooner or later we’d find a good one.

So one night I was home doodling with crayons, and looking at my bookshelf I noticed the National Geographic logo, which is simply a yellow rectangle. Without really thinking, I picked up a yellow crayon and made a circle, and then I filled it in. And then I just kept going. Sun, sky, water, greenery… And there it was! And so the first layer of meaning was simply that: the colors of nature, the roundness of the world, and the joyful brushstrokes of a child.

Later, when we came up with “Imagine, connect, act,” someone pointed out that “imagine” goes well with yellow (light bulb, etc.), that green goes with “act” (green light), and that the blue could be seen as water, which connects everything… Since then I’ve heard many more interpretations, and I love them all.

And behind all this has been a dream—which may have seemed crazy until so many of you started making it a reality—that *idealism* should have a logo. That freedom and dignity and generosity and respect should have a symbol that anyone can use and recognize. That what the recycling logo and the LGBT flag did for their respective causes, our logo can do for ours.

That’s the story, and that’s the dream.

See the facebook post