Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Theme and Variation

“Give me the same thing… only different!”


Blurted from the lips of a studio executive and committed to paper by Blake Snyder in his screenwriting text, Save the Cat, this conundrum has faced artists for millennia. Some brave souls commit themselves to beating new paths through uncharted forests of creativity, exalting originality and the authenticity of personal expression above other virtues. Except in rare instances, they also restrict themselves to niche or non-existent markets. Acid jazz, anyone? While this does not diminish the validity of their art, it can make it difficult to earn a living.

To the other extreme, we enter the cringe-worthy territory of cliché. These expressions were original once but were so effective that everyone jumped on the band wagon (see what I did there?). Some clichés have been around so long that we've forgotten where they came from. They make little sense to our modern ear and can generate confusion rather than impact. Does anyone really cry over spilt milk? And when has a cat ever stolen a tongue to keep someone from speaking?

Even more concerning is the grey area between “inspired by” and plagiarism. Coldplay were famously sued when their hit, “Viva la Vida”, sounded suspiciously like Joe Satriani’s “If I Could Fly”. Noel Gallagher from Oasis voiced his ire over the similarities he saw between his hit, “Wonderwall”, and Greenday’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. It may not be possible to patent chord progressions but law suits have been won over four bars of music (Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree versus Down Under).

My current creative dilemma involves choosing a new logo for Omega Writers. We want a logo that pops its head above the crowd and cries, “Pick me!” while not being so avant guarde for a writers’ group that it’s standing in the wrong crowd. It needs to be instantly recognisable and representative of writers without being drenched in the familiarity, or visual cliché, that breeds contempt.

And so I turn to you, dear reader. Here are a number of mock ups suggested by our graphic designer. Voting for your favourite and disparaging your least preferred are fine but explanatory comments will be even more helpful. “It took me three minutes to figure out what this one was,” hints at excessive originality (or possibly that a trip to the optometrist is in order?). “Isn't that the same quill used by NZ Christian Writers?” sends us to the other end of the spectrum. Please let us know of any other ideas you may have.

If it's not too greedy, I'd also welcome any comments on where you have struggled to capture the elusive combination of originality and familiarity, theme and variation, same... but different.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.


I’ll finish with Omega Writers’ mission statement and a few of its activities so that you can evaluate which (if any) proposed logo concepts best reflect who we are and what we do.

Omega Writers exists to educate, support and inspire Australasian Christian writers towards excellence, impacting society with grace and truth. We want our words to change the world.

Omega Writers:

·         Runs and promotes both our own and other Christian writing groups throughout Australia and New Zealand
·         Aims to facilitate regular writing workshops, webinars and retreats
·         From 2016 will sponsors the Australian Christian Writers Conference
·         Administers a growing Directory of Christian Writers and Writing Services
·         Offers discounts on manuscript assessments
·         Plans to relaunch the Caleb Prize in 2016


PS Thanks to the team who made this year’s Christian Writers Conference the success that it was. Look forward to working with you to make 2016's conference in Sydney even better!

Simon Kennedy is President of Omega Writers. He has won national competitions in both short story and poetry and recently signed his first contract with an international production company to develop one of his original concepts into a television show. His YouTube channel, Songs with Simon, has over 2 million hits.

33 comments:

  1. Hi Simon, I like 1 (because of the colour) and 7. Both use the tagline which adds to the image. If I had to choose I'd pick 7. How would it look if the tagline was in that blue of 1?

    Thanks for seeking out our opinions.

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    1. Thanks Ian. Continuing with 7, do you think that a computer as opposed to typewriter might work? I wonder if it would modernise the image but at the risk of generalising, since so many jobs use computers.

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    2. while not a writer I like the typewriter as it does make you think writer more so than a computer. (I think Jessica Fletcher). But then younger people may think differently.

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    3. Thanks Jenny. If we're thinking young people maybe we should put a smart phone or tablet? :)

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  2. I agree that I like the colour in 1, and the use of the tagline in 1 and 7.

    I see the symbolism in 3, but I think it's redundant: it repeats the text. And some people might wonder what it was.

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    1. Thanks Iola. What about a pen that's drawing an Omega symbol in blue?

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    2. That might work. I think the pencil is a little chunky, but I like the colour and the tagline. If there is an image, it needs to be contemporary - some of the others are a little old-fashioned, IMO.

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  3. As I scanned through, I felt that No. 1 was the only one that didn't seem 'old-fashioned' - perhaps they would call it 'oldschool' today. If, as Christian writers, we truly want our words to impact and change the world, having a logo that looks back to the way it was, seems counter-intuitive. However, the pencil made me think of visual art, more than writing. Not altogether unrelated - where would we be without picture books. What about the first logo, with a modern writing implement (either pencil or pen) crossed with a feather quill writing implement? It would represent a coming together of writing's heritage with a forward-thinking outlook?

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    1. Thanks for your insightful feedback, Cathie.

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  4. Top one. It grabbed my attention immediately and is the least dated. It feels fresh and integrated. Flowing.

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    1. Thanks Deb. I'm starting to pick up a trend.

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  5. 1 immediately, as Ian said, because of the colour and tag line, and it's chunky. AND we do still scribble notes on pieces of paper to remind us what we were thinking.
    7 maybe, but it lacks colour, and nobody really uses an old typewriter anymore - it's a cliche that writer's use typewriters. Though they are interesting machines. No quills, please.
    To sum up - tag line definitely, colour please, and the chunkier, the better, from my way of thinking

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    1. Thanks Meredith. A splash of colour seems to be the way to go. Blue is what we're currently using on the website so that works for me.

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  6. Also, the circle in No. 1 reminds me of a lens - perfect for representing the idea of the Christian Worldview which underpins our lives and our writing. I like the blue colour as well.

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  7. I like the pen in 5. But like the tagline in 1 and 7. Could the 'O' in 5 be an 'omega' symbol?

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    1. Hi Christine. Did you mean the pen in 4? Or the quill in 5?

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    2. Hi Christine. Did you mean the pen in 4? Or the quill in 5?

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  8. Colour draws me in every time. No. 1.

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  9. No.1 is the only one I like.

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    1. Thanks Adele and Susan. Number one seems to be emerging as the favourite!

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  10. Hi Simon, I prefer #1 because it has colour. The coloured pencil pops and the logo has a more contemporary look than the others. But, how does it look as a smaller sized avatar? I'm guessing the tag line may blur if the logo was smaller.

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    1. Good point, Narelle. I'll discuss that with the designer. I'm sure he knows how to convert it to vectors so it should be fine when enlarged too.

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  11. Thanks for asking Simon. Only 1 got a YES from me. :) The others made me think 'ancient'! I do love the circle (eternity, infinite, God, totality, wholeness, perfection?) and the fact that it is yet unfinished. I wonder if the omega sign could be managed inside it somewhere?

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    1. Thanks Anusha. I think it might be possible but the added advantage of the circle is the "O" for Omega is already there, albeit without the Greek symbol.

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  12. Hi Simon, these look great! I too like the first one the best, for the same reasons already stated. My only comment would be, although I like the chunkiness of the pencil, it looks a little child-like to me. Could the pencil become a pen, or a thin pencil, perhaps?

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    1. Hi Cate,

      I agree. This appeals to some (child-like) and is off-putting to others (childish). The chunkiness seems to fit with the font?

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    2. Yes, it does, and I hadn't noticed the heart which is sweet.

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  13. Has anyone noticed the heart in number one? It could also be perceived as a butterfly.

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    1. I didn't, but I see it now. That's rather nice. The heart of writing.

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  14. I'm probably weighing in too late here but I like the first one. It has colour and it has a modern contemporary look.

    I think the ink wells, fountain pens and typewriters potentially give a very dated look which might make us look out of touch with the modern world.

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  15. Hi all - for what they're worth here are my thoughts...

    The colour of number 1 has proved eye-catching. You definitely need some colour. (Is there a reason all the other options are monochrome?). For that reason alone it's probably the best option.

    That said, number 1 is a little... Officeworks?

    Apart from the tag-line (which is good), the only thing in the mix to indicate a Christian emphasis is 'omega' itself (the word and the symbol), and perhaps the circle (both indicative I suppose of God's eternal nature, alpha to omega). The heart in the pencil adds some warm sentiment, but may be a ambiguous. My point is, the symbolism is all very understated - is that deliberate?

    I reckon trying to appear hip and up to speed with the latest media is almost as bad as appearing 'outdated'. At least a pencil or a quill conveys some sense of connection with the past, rather than a narrow preoccupation with whatever's current. And pens and pencils etc serve as a much clearer (universal) emblem for substantive writing than, say, an iphone or a tablet. Why not a book?

    If anything, I'd like to see a logo that could somehow convey the twin focus of Omega on a. writing, and b. Christian faith. I'm not sure any of the above options quite accomplish this as well as could be done. But if these are the only options, it looks like 1 is the winner!

    :)

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