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Logo Challenge, Day 6: Alanna Morris-Van Tassel

As you'll hear all about, Day 6 was a big contrast with Day 5's logo. Only one more to go.
 
Catch up here if you're new to the #logochallenge:

Meet the Client

Name: Alanna Morris-Van Tassel
Work: I am a contemporary dancer, teaching artist and choreographer whose work utilizes a multitude of classical European, American and African movement styles and philosophy.  My creative work often engages in social justice issues with a focus on honoring our shared humanity.  As an educator I enjoy exploring the art and history of the African Diaspora, along with a multitude of other perspectives.
Previous logo: None
Where do you want to use the logo: My current project is an evening of art and community dialogue exploring peace between religions, chiefly the great monotheistic faiths: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.  I would like a logo describing the confluence of these great entities in an evening called, "Arabah: a prayer for peace."  The logo will be used in print items, on a website for the project, on merchandise, and digitally.  Arabah translates to dry, desolate place in Hebrew, and is the rift valley between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, bordering Jordan and Israel.  It is located in a hotbed of political conflict and violence.  
 
Arabah: a prayer for peace is a collaborative evening of original dance, music, visual and spoken art, and community dialogue that seeks to challenge and engage our community to inspire social change around peace amongst religions. The evening features the self-titled collaboration of solo dance and live music between curators and creators, Alanna Morris-Van Tassel (dancer and choreographer) and Brian Van Tassel (percussionist and composer).  Initially a response to the Gulf War and to the deep-seated ethno-religious conflicts that continue to our day within the world's three great religions, this project seeks to stimulate thought and conversation about humanity's inter-connectedness; honor the forgotten among us; challenge our view of the "Other" and build community with our neighbors across ethnic and religious lines.
 
Premieres this Fall in The Twin Cities.
Partnering with The Minnesota Council Of Churches and The Islamic Center of Minnesota.
Also featuring work by: John Nolter and  Hend-Al Mansour.
 
It must be red, white, black and gold.
What three words do you want associated with the project? Design/people/peace
What three words do you NOT want associated with the project? Cheap/corporate/ignorant
 

The Project

There's a lot going on here: three major world religions, peace, conflict, humanity, history, future, and more.  Which is great and necessary; it's an art event about a really complex situation.  But I just started where I started with the others: Research. I looked up logos for events around religious tolerance. I researched peace symbols in Christianity, Judaism, and Islams. I didn't want to use any of the most common images of peace: Doves, olive branches, or the peace sign.  Mostly because I'm contrary.
 
I noticed the word confluence in Alanna's description.  It's a powerful word and put me in mind of great rivers converging.  You can see a number of images based on this on the Pinterest board. The rivers coming together bring to mind the comminging and connectedness of humanity, but rivers are also often used as borders.  
 
I sketched a number of logos involving rivers converging (including one that looked basically like a water-y version of the peace sign). I played with the idea of three religions and the appearance of three letter As in the word Arabah. I added a circle, because circles are so symbolic of inclusion, completion, cycles, unity and Earth. 
 
After a number of drafts, I realized the color palette provided by Alanna meant the swirls really didn't read as water.  So, rather than pushing towards that interpretation, I began to see them as smoke swirling upward.  Smoke evokes many things, from religious ceremony to war and destruction--an apt image for this event.  One color for each religion, intertwining and blending as they rise:
My usual typefaces (slab serifs forever!) weren't going to work. This show's theme is ancient. It's deeply rooted. It's distressed. It cannot be mistaken for yet-another-corporate-logo. It is not somebody's elegantly scripted note. It must be from a human hand. So I looked around and found a few options; I like that this typeface is handmade but not casual or silly. The black circle is slightly imperfect for the same reason.
 
p.s. Tomorrow's the last day of the logo challenge! If you want to talk about a logo for your upcoming performance, your bodywork business, your book series, or whatever, drop me a line

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