The Peer Educators Program Logo Development
Commissioned by the Indian River State College Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL) Department, 2021
When the Director of SEAL came to me about developing a logo/crest for a new Peer Educator Program, I was immediately onboard. In the past, I developed two other logos for leadership related programs under the SEAL Department; the Emerging Leaders and Student Leadership Development programs. The symbols associated with leadership are interesting and unique, and my incorporation of other symbols makes these projects fun and exciting. With this logo, I’ll have developed 3/4 of the program family.
To start with, I researched (Googled) what was current for other peer educator programs, I found the same motif over and over again. If the logo wasn’t purely typographic, then it included some form of visual group action; a sort of stereotypical group huddle or “hooray jump”. There were a few outliers of course, but nothing that triggered inspiration. As I searched online, an object on my desk drew my attention – an antique key.
I looked up key logos online and felt a greater inspiration for the use of such a symbol in this logo. To be sure, I decided to read more about keys as a symbol.
The key, or clavicle, is symbolic of access to something that has been hitherto kept hidden or which is secret… A key need not be a physical object… A code, for example, may hold the key to understanding a secret language or cipher.”Adele Nozedar, The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook.
A “secret language” deciphered… This was exactly what the peer educators were providing, so I knew that this was the symbol. Thus I traced the antique key and started elaborating on the handle. I was injecting more meaning and interest into the key form, creating something uniquely IRSC. However, the more I designed it, the more I debated with myself…
Was this too majestic for this particular program?
Early sketches of the initial key and ribbon hand concepts. The majesty of the keys I feel would be better suited for the Legacy Leaders logo.
Additionally, the key alone neglected the importance of the action or service of the peer educators. So I brainstormed, what is a visual symbol of assistance or help? I concluded: a hand! With this in mind, I tried to extract the ethereal ribbons from the Emerging Leaders logo and form them into a winding and twisting hand holding a key. I badly wanted it to work, but every iteration just didn’t. The hand was too fat and out of proportion or it resembled Casper the Friendly Ghost, as my husband put it. Also, it read as “PETER” Educators when it was inserted into the wordmark.
Therefore I had to let the ribbon hand concept go, and focused on making the hand a legitimate hand. Yet, I tried to incorporate a ribbon anyway. I was just addicted to the flow-like feel of it. Eventually, I realized it was just now working. So, I restricted the key design to being as basic as possible, and I needed one last shape to bring it together. Something to emphasize the power of the action… Ah – yes, laurels! A classic symbol of leadership and victory. Finally, I had all the elements together that would tell a visual symbolic story…
The ribbon concept resembles a snake here. Perhaps leading into the symbols found in the Student Leadership Development emblem.
To sum it up, the leadership programs give a student access to experiences and knowledge that they will internalize and form into wisdom. That wisdom is hollow if held within themselves, rather to materialize it they must pass it on. In so doing, they pass on the keys to victory at IRSC. That’s the intended visual story behind the Peer Educators logo.