Pharyngula

Norwegianity has put out a request to design an appropriate logo for all of us godless heathen bloggers. There’s a certain religious deathcult that uses an instrument of torture as its immediately recognizable logo—it’s very simple, clean, easy to draw, and they’ve made it their own. You see one of those things on a website or on a necklace and you instantly know to a very rough approximation the predilections of the owner. Why can’t we have something like that?

You might be thinking the very idea is ridiculous, since freethinkers are such a diverse group, but you know, Christians also encompass a very wide spectrum of beliefs on so many issues, and that hasn’t stopped them. It would be great to see somebody with some graphic talent come up with something we could all use.

i-eabaecb6d1203ad98d5c66e48b37b1a6-ipu.png

There is a tradition of using the pansy (pensée) as a symbol, but it isn’t exactly easy to render. The Invisible Pink Unicorn is cool, I think, but really just mocks silly beliefs. American Atheists has a trademarked symbol, a stylized atom, which really ought to be the symbol for Scientism or something, and I’d rather see a symbol that isn’t specific to just atheism. I ran across one site with a simple idea, which might work; I’d have to think about it. It’s an asterisk, which looks a tiny bit like a pansy, and has that open wildcard vibe to it.

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Anyway, the kind of thing I would be looking for is something simple, fairly abstract, easy to render, and that wouldn’t antagonize deists, agnostics, or atheists. It should be positive: no crucifixes with a slash through them, for instance. It shouldn’t be weird—no flying spaghetti monsters, please—it shouldn’t be ugly, it shouldn’t be in-your-face and gloating, it should be unobtrusive. It ought to be the kind of symbol that if it were done up as a piece of jewelry, it would be tasteful. Remember, even if you do come up with a nice logo, the hard part is going to be getting a critical mass of unbelievers to adopt it and build a recognizable association with it (and be warned, no matter how gorgeous and elegant and clever an idea you come up with, there will be a solid cadre of the godless who will resolutely refuse to have anything to do with it, on general principles and intrinsic cussedness…which is OK.)

Talk about it in the comments, doodle up stuff and send it to me, and if there is any response at all, I’ll put up a gallery of ideas later. If we’ve got something good, I’ll use it on my site, maybe Mark will join in, and we can get the ball rolling.


We’ve already got lots of suggestions in the comments. Here are some that are easy to render with html:

Book Antiqua : * ? Ω ? π ∅ ? ? ? ? σ α Φ

Bookman Old Style : * ? Ω ? π ∅ ? ? ? ? σ α Φ

Century Schoolbook : * ? Ω ? π ∅ ? ? ? ? σ α Φ

Goudy Old Style : * ? Ω ? π ∅ ? ? ? ? σ α Φ

Lucida Grande : * ? Ω ? π ∅ ? ? ? ? σ α Φ

Times New Roman : * ∞ Ω ? π ∅ ? ? ? ? σ α Φ

There are also suggestions for combinations (an asterisk inside a circle, for instance—the default renders as a 6-lobed asterisk, unfortunately), or others that would need a professional artist to do—a spiral or a nautilus shell or a torch, for instance. We’ve also got one suggestion for an upraised middle finger, which is rather sweet, but since it’s from a Christian we have to ignore it. Keep ‘em coming!


And now a suggestion from Carl:

i-1667b427d947467500322c08673f7387-carls_idea.gif

No fair! Carl could draw a swirly dog turd for us, and it would look good.


Two more suggestions from Manxome One:

Attached are what popped into my head upon reading your post about a godless logo.

The first is a stylized lowercase a with a period ( A, period!), which happens to look somewhat like a question mark on its side.

The second is the same idea, only the a is a highlighted portion of a stylized infinity symbol.

i-d1f42dbb87809315a1f447f3ac096650-a_period.gifi-3419da44b66c972d4d3fa08350f9d065-a8.gif

Here are some nice renderings of the asterisk in a circle idea from Lucas:

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There’s something I like about this. They remind me of echinoderms!

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Oh, how I would love to subvert this stupid story you can find in every cheap beach trinket store along the Washington coast.


And another design from Nick:

i-bdf3e09a300056c444606d9710428a8b-dnalogo.gif

More suggestions have come in overnight. I’ve added alpha and phi to the line of text symbols above, and here are some more graphical ideas:

John Pieret sends us a pansy:

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Node_3 submits a rough draft of a galaxy:

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A natural symbol:

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Here’s an interesting design:

i-f3b4c4a680435737771683c2c7ec7ace-lightbulb.gif

Just for laughs (no way is this appropriate!), here’s a
cute suggestion:

i-0e4073a4af93c95cadff10487254124c-creation_flip.jpg

What next? Hank Fox has a few suggestions in the comments. I’m going to be a bit elitist and say I don’t like the idea of a poll; clicking a button doesn’t require much thought or commitment, and is also easily abused. What I propose is to let the discussion here go on a few more days, and then I’ll pull out the ones that get the most interest (the asterisk, the circle, the natural symbol, pi, something with DNA, the empty set are all strong contenders right now), and I’ll ask their defenders to send me a summary of their support. I’ll put up one more post on it, and ask for comments yay or nay, and I think what I’ll do is weight the ones from people with weblogs who’d put the symbol in some prominent place more heavily. That’s what we need to get this to work, is people who will use the symbol.


Another volley of entries…from GodfreyTemple:

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Pencils with erasers:

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And how about atheos?

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Comments

  1. #3 Technorino
    January 2, 2009

    That michaelangelo pic made me lol :D

  2. #4 niyan
    January 7, 2009

    i suggest to use a “alpha enclosed in a circle”,if the sugestion still holds,…

  3. #5 Anton
    April 28, 2009

    Hi,why dont we use a stylised version of the hidrogen atom like the one that uses Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.

    It’s a clean, easy to draw symbol and the primordial element of the universe because it’s the most simple of them all and all the other elements of the periodic table are created from it through nuclear fusion reactions that take place in the interior of the stars.

    I put an stylised version of it in the next link:

    http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/5251/hidrogeno.png

  4. #6 Anton
    April 28, 2009

    Hi,why dont we use a stylised version of the hidrogen atom like the one that uses Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.

    It’s a clean, easy to draw symbol and the primordial element of the universe because it’s the most simple of them all and all the other elements of the periodic table are created from it through nuclear fusion reactions that take place in the interior of the stars.

    I put an stylised version of it in the next link:

    http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/5251/hidrogeno.png

  5. #7 F. Bacon
    April 30, 2009

    #393′s “Only Sky” above, is head and shoulders above all the rest…it even includes the * symbol.

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    January 2, 2010

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