9 May 2018  |  

Chapter 1, by Loren Seibold

Awhile back I was attending a General Conference Executive Committee meeting in  Silver Spring. It was mid-afternoon, about an hour after lunch. The discussion on the dais was a matter of considerable pith and moment to our work: Mark Finley on the opportunities to evangelize people with small groups.

While there was much enthusiasm on stage, I detected little in the room. Most people were fighting to stay awake. Like I said, it was about an hour after lunch.

Then the GC communications department got up to make a presentation. Theirs was about unifying design visually for our products. While no one from the floor had said a word during the discussion of small group evangelism, many had an opinion on logos, fonts and design! People were lined up at the microphone.

Is it the computer graphics revolution, by which we’ve all been encouraged to discover our own inner designer? Or (as I sometimes suspect) has our interest in surface identity taken over from substance? In any case, we’ve become a culture of brands and branders. We’re all experts now—or at least we all assume that our opinions on these things are worth speaking. A recognizable brand—three angels, a stylized flame wrapped around a globe, a uniform typeface (“Advent Sans”, anyone?)—seems important to a lot of people. Sometimes maybe more important than what it represents.

One of our several Adventist Today logos, a little “a” with a “t “formed on the tail of the “a,” puttered along quite successfully for years, with hardly anyone noticing it. One of our staff members referred to it (affectionately, I think) as the Adventist Today amoeba.

Personally, I like it. But nowadays, everyone’s a critic.

In response to a change in our Facebook header, I used Photoshop to change the color of the AT amoeba. Suddenly someone noticed it, and it turns out some readers have an opinion about. Some people liked it. Others thought it vague, or useless, or even ugly.

I don’t remember such discussions in decades past. People got upset about the taste of Coca Cola, not so much the colors and designs on its cans

In response to the questions raised on the website Dr. Ervin Taylor, one of the founders of Adventist Today, wrote, “It’s a soft postmodernist “a” and “t,” thought up 20 years ago when we Adventist Today patriarchs had some imagination. As I recall, we had a brainstorming session in the early years and someone came with this. Regretfully, at this point I do not recall who it was, although I have a vague memory that it went through two iterations. I personally like it. What’s not to like? You can read into it anything you like.”  

About this time our contributor Sam Chen started seeing things of his own in it.

Over to you, Sam.

Chapter 2, by S.M. Chen

Do you see what I see?” (from Christmas song: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Baker/Regney 1962)

Having been a follower of  (and sometime contributor to) Adventist Today for some time, I’ve yet given little thought to its logo. I never thought to inquire about it—its origin, its why and wherefore.

I did think it somewhat clever.

What I saw was a stylized small ‘a’ and small ‘t,’ presumably standing for Adventist Today.

Fair enough.

However,  a recent query by some readers on AT’s website led me to take another look.

In doing so, I saw a bit more. (Sometimes things are that way.)

This time I saw a dove.  It is right side up, head pointing north, tail south.   Its elongated right wing points west, its foreshortened left wing east. An enduring symbol of peace, a reminder of mankind’s barely escaping the destruction of Earth by water, and an emblem of the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist.

The right portion of the logo could be construed to be a cross, such as that erected on Golgotha almost 2 millennia ago. Which has a symbolism all its own, heavy with import, for, with it, we Earthlings hope for life beyond our vale of tears. Without it, we may as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die, and that is all there is.

I submit for your consideration:

Exhibit A:  the logo itself—see above.

Exhibit B:  a picture of a dove, in which the dove’s left wing is foreshortened.

I wish to commend the person who sketched the AT logo, and the staff of Adventist Today for sharing it with readers.

I am at variance with any who might think the logo reminds them of a lower life form, such as an amoeba.

Au contraire, I am inspired and uplifted by it.

Viva el logotipo!

S.M. Chen writes from California. 

Loren Seibold is the Executive Editor of Adventist Today

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