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Guest editorial by Maggie Macnab, continued from previous page

The Apple of Our Eye

Maggie Macnab

Apple bridged the gap between man and machine. Steve Jobs' choice to follow what attracted him emotionally led to the first aesthetic computer and opened up an entirely new world to designers. Today, the Apple logo is easily identified worldwide. Its symbol is based in myth and shape.

Historical and current versions of the Apple logo can be viewed here.
* wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer

In the creation myth in the Book of Genesis, God instructs Adam and Eve not to eat from the apple tree in the garden. A serpent taunts Eve when she shies away from the fruit for fear of death. He says that the real reason God forbids the apple is because once she takes a bite of it, her eyes will be opened and she will be "...as the gods, knowing good and evil... "

From the roots of our civilization, the apple has been symbolic of knowledge. As we know, Adam and Eve eat the apple, are expelled from the garden, and life, as we know it, begins -- a life of evolution through knowledge and the expanding consciousness. So the apple with the bite out of it symbolizes the acquisition of awareness.

The Christian story implies that knowledge is corruptive in itself. But there is another side to the story. If Eve didn't eat the apple, life as we know it would not exist. There would be no evolution of humanity. It might be argued that with the advent of user-friendly computers, knowledge was brought to the masses. The Apple brand suggests it is nothing short of the beginning of creation itself.

In shape terms, the apple is essentially round. The circle is the symbol of unity in every culture throughout time. We are separated out from the wholeness of the universe, literally at the cellular level as we transform into humanness, and then during birth. We strive in love and life to recreate that unity. Marriage is an example of the return to unity: two opposites reunited to create the archetypal whole. The Apple logo also connects with the concept of this return with the active participation of eating the apple or ingesting knowledge by taking a bite out of the all-knowing. The reinforcement of myth with shape symbols creates a very powerful logo indeed. The story and the visual match the intent of transforming the world through the evolution of knowledge, encapsulated in a momentary glance.

Using Intuitive Connections in Logo Design

In our information-laden world, it is absolutely crucial that a designer employ critical thinking through understanding intuitive connection when making use of visual imagery. Access informs response: What we intuit lays the groundwork of our actions. If you don't make the connection, that relationship is lost. Conscious study of the symbolics of number, shape, and myth tells our minds what our intuition already knows. It completes the synaptic cycle by producing work that is at once effective, aesthetic and ethical. It is effective because an intuitive match leads to greater understanding through initial recognition of a larger concept and is the shortest route between two points; aesthetic because appropriateness leads to elegance; and ethical because when unnecessary or inappropriate content is eliminated, the truth is revealed and something in the larger scope is to be learned.

One of the greatest services we can provide as a designers is to employ these simple principles to further human response-ability. What if everyday advertising was a venue of education? How novel it would be to actually receive value from a company's advertising and identity message that benefits the overall quality of our lives, just through the simple action of making sense.

Maggie Macnab

About the Author
      Specializing in symbol and logo design for 25 years, Maggie Macnab is known for her corporate identity design and graphics. She has been in business since 1981, is an instructor of logo design and symbolism as visual literacy for designers at the University of New Mexico, and is past president of the Communication Artists of New Mexico.
      Do not miss a visit to Maggie's web site, macnabdesign.com -- and you must NOT miss her "Symbol Maker Logos and Symbols applied to products" website, in itself is an education in logo and symbol design...

Maggie writes articles on critical thinking in design and her work has been published in many magazines and books. She is currently developing a visual literacy resource with a focus on the origin, development and appropriate use of symbols in visual communication (www.eyeku.com) to enhance advertising by creating more value with effective graphics.

This article reprinted with permission, Copyright Maggie Macnab 2005

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