Picturing Diversity: The Evolution of a Logo

“Designing a product is designing a relationship.” – Steve Rogers

From a public relations visual communication perspective, Rogers’ quote is particularly compelling – the word “product” can easily be replaced with “tactic.”

With this in mind, a team of students from Alpha PRoductions, the student-run public relations firm at the University of Florida, recently embarked upon a logo design project for an upcoming panel on diversity in public relations hosted by the College of Journalism and Communications’ Department of Public Relations.

“Diversity is an evolving issue in public relations because the variety of communities and their interests are expanding, placing our education and research mission front and center,” said Juan-Carlos Molleda, chair and professor of the UF Department of Public Relations.

“The richness of perspectives and voices make relationship cultivation between organizations and publics dynamic and our goal is to actively involve our students and partners in this conversation,” he said.

The Alpha PRoductions team, led by students Josh Ferrari and Sydney Dixon, wanted to visually represent these varied communities and interests in the logo design for the event. Authenticity in public relations is imperative, and the team wanted to avoid the common clichés that all too often pervade representations of diversity (think: multi-colored hands or people stretched skyward or interlocking). Three important steps yielded the final result.


Modified “Black Ink Fingerprint Mark Vector Graphic” from Freepik by Xoo, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

Find Inspiration

“Steal like an artist” is an oft-repeated mantra by creatives. While it is clearly unethical to swipe another’s design, identifying appealing and relevant visuals to serve as inspiration is a useful step in the creative process. The students used a logo by Luna & Kit as a starting point: The interlocking circles are evocative of a Venn diagram, each circle its own entity, yet overlapping areas represent those things we have in common.

Consider Visual Theory

With a general idea of where the logo layout was headed, Dixon began to look for objects and a color scheme that would represent the richness of perspectives mentioned by Molleda.

“It just immediately popped into my head,” Dixon said of the thumbprint idea.

Dixon’s gut reaction resulted in the perfect metaphor: a thumbprint is an immediately recognizable symbol of humanity, yet it is common knowledge that each individual has a unique set of fingerprints.

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