I've been interested in the ideas behind logos and design for a while now without any formal reading or training in this area. How to create something that is visually pleasing (to my eyes at least) has fascinated me and playing around using tools like Paint Shop Pro and Adobe Photoshop Elements has had me making my first amateurish attempts at logo design. Back in 2002, my class completed a Resource Based Learning unit on youth culture and the influence that major companies had in trying to infiltrate that culture and then use that appeal to attract the teenage market to their products. We watched part of a really great documentary from Douglas Rushkoff called "The Merchants Of Cool". We also did some investigation into the impact of logos in making a message or particular brand memorable and easy to recall. Think the Coca-Cola logo and immediately anyone starts thinking the red and white colours, the stylised cursive lettering and the white "dynamic ribbon". I wondered if I could use this idea for my own benefit and so I designed my own logo. Without really knowing what I was doing, picking fonts that seemed to be compatible and a colour choice closely related to American professional sports logos, I created something that seemed appealing.
I decided to use my new obsession when I shifted to my new school as a small part of building a classroom identity. A yearly logo became one of my pre-start-of-school routines. This logo appeared on class newsletters, to identify class shared property and as part of my exercise book identification scheme. Every year I create colour coded covers for each subject area and the logo forms a part of that cover. The colour coding helps me make sure that when I grab a pile of handed in books for marking, they are all the same subject area! So here are the logos in order from 2003 to the new one I created the other night.
2005. Back to the segmented half design but a more casual comic style emerged in this effort.
2006. Wow. This was my lamest effort since starting this annual - it simply must have been that I was devoid of inspiration and "near enough was good enough".
2007. My first major shift away from my initial influences, and this design drew some inspiration from a surf style t-shirt my oldest son was wearing one day. I really liked the ink blot idea and it took a while to get the inkblot background looking random while using the brush tools in Photoshop. The Gothic looking words are actually two different fonts and the number has a outer glow applied. Maybe changing room numbers helped get the creativity going again.
2008. We've got a colour photocopier at school now and so for the first time I've got a design featuring colour - but that still translates well to a greyscale version. I saw a stylised number on a sign at a suburban shopping centre with a stylised star in the centre of an O that triggered this particular idea - looks a bit disco-y but it will be interesting to see if the kids take to it.
Last year's logo was particularly popular but with some students continuing on in my class from last year, it was important to have a new identity that gives the message that this is a new community-in-building. Now I know that there is way more to setting up a new classroom and getting a diverse group of kids who've had little say about being put together and having me as their appointed director of learning than just posting a colourful logo on the door and their exercise books. But it is a declaration of purpose for me - that this will be a special learning environment and it is a first small step in building that collaborative identity. I'll write a bit more in the near future about other ways I build a sense of student ownership in our classroom and blend their specific needs in our learning environment. So, just take this post and its contents as a small fragment of the 2008 picture.