SOME HISTORY AND THE “COMPETITION”
The examples below show the previous logo for World Access For The Blind (WAFTB), as well as previous and current logos of other blindness organizations for comparison sake.
From left to right:
WAFTB: This logo, used prior to 2010 shows a blind person, presumably male, with their arms outstretched holding a white cane in one hand, surrounded by a gold circle. So they look like they’re celebrating something, or as someone remarked, look like a blind person falling into a hole.
Junior Blind of America: A chalk stick-figure sketch of a teen with arms also outstretched jumping for joy or also jumping into a hole as their bent knees and legs form the bottom curve of a J and the chalk underline indicates the ground or a hole, depending on the viewer’s perspective and sense of humor.
Beacon Centre For The Blind: Now the blind people (again with outstretched arms) have become colorful flying entities with a single pointy bottom, meaning perhaps that they are either bats, or mermaids/mermen.
CNIB: Lower case lettering next to a green tree with Braille dots in the foliage, and the slogan “seeing beyond vision loss” underneath.
THE “COMPETITION” Part 2
Again for comparison sake and context.
From left to right:
Lighthouse For The Blind: We all respect the tremendous work of this organization, but the name and imagery have always seemed out of context with the people they serve. Don’t know that many blind people can see a lighthouse beacon. The first two panels show an image of a lighthouse, with the logo for Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind emitting three rays of light.
Foghorn For The Deaf: An example of someone’s not-too-subtle parody on the Lighthouse logo and the disconnect between image and service.
Lighthouse For The Blind: The current logo which consists of the word LIGHTHOUSE in all caps in orange and black with the Braille dots for L and H at the beginning and end with the words “For the blind and visually impaired” underneath.
THE “COMPETITION” Part 3
From left to right:
Foundation Fighting Blindness: Panel 1 shows an older version of the logo consisting of a monochrome dark blue combination of a curved eyelid with a split iris and pupil each half blue and half white emerging out of stacked horizontal lines to the left which would likely have caused on-screen “ringing” at smaller scale. This sits atop the name Foundation Fighting Blindness on two lines.
Panel 2: FFB logo consisting of the words Foundation Fighting Blindness in all caps, and segments of some letter missing, presumably representing macular degeneration.
Panel 3: A more colorful icon consists of an iris constructed of various sized dots in blue, green and orange, and the Foundation name in all caps stacked on four lines underneath against a grey marble-like background.
Panel 4: The current logo with the word Foundation spelled out vertically from bottom to top sitting to the left of Fighting Blindness in all caps on two lines. A beacon of light angles out from the left side and changes the dark blue lettering in its path to aqua.
THE “COMPETITION” Part 4
From left to right:
National Federation of the Blind: Panel 1 shows an older version of the logo consisting of a a blind person made up of different colored ribbons or swooshes attached to a grey white cane next to the bold black capital letters NFB, with National Federation of the blind in grey underneath on two lines against a white background.
Panel 2: NFB logo is now comprised of what looks like a flower at first glance, made up of 5 ribbon people in blue, green and orange with black white canes attached to each, with the words National Federation below in black capital letters on top of Of The Blind in much larger blue caps. The slogan “Live the life you want”is in smaller black script text underneath
Panel 3: Blind Inc. picks up the now, ‘out of work’ blind ribbon person from the first NFB panel, and places them over an embossed shape of the great state of Minnesota next to the text BLIND inc. over smaller text “Blindness: :earning in new dimensions.
THE “COMPETITION” Part 5
From left to right:
RNIB: Panel 1 shows an older version of the logo for the Royal National Institute of Blind People consisting of white chalk outline of a person walking with a white cane, (although it looks more like they’re running) over the white capital letters RNIB and the white lower case words “challenging blindness” underneath over a teal colored background.
RNIB: Panel 2 shows the next evolution in the logo as white capital letters RNIB in sans-serif inside a teal rectangle with rounded top left and bottom right edges. Underneath, the lower case words ” supporting blind and partially sighted people in the same teal color against a white background.
RNIB: Panel 3 shows the current logo as black capital sans-serif capital letters RNIB with wide spacing as they might appear on an eye test chart underlined with a thick pink line and the words “See differently” underneath in black upper and lower case lettering.
WORLD ACCESS FOR THE BLIND | VISIONEERS
We repeat the top page banner here to refresh your visual memory and tell the story of how, in, 2010, the blind man was rescued from the hole and reconfigured as a silhouette of WAFTB lead founder Daniel Kish set against two sets of expanding rings that we describe as sonar waves, to represent his method of teaching FlashSonar – a refined form of human echolocation. People have interpreted these in various ways, such as the taller grey rear wave being symbolic of the Earth, but designed to represent the outgoing “click” sonar wave, while the smaller, color foreground wave is meant to symbolize the more focused returning echo full of “colorful” acoustic imagery.
Everyone seemed to like the gradient orange foreground wave over the grey background wave the best, especially over a black background, but while this looked great online in RGB, it proved problematic for printing CMYK banners and T-Shirts for events around that time because the printers used then didn’t have digital printing capability, so the transition was made to blue against grey for white backgrounds, as you can see top center on the above banner.
Because of the width of the organization’s name, a version evolved that added icons of what set WAFTB apart from every other blindness organization: a cyclist, since many people first learned of the organization through TV programs that showed Daniel or other members of the early “Team Bat” cycling “while blind”. The other icon, a boy or girl playing soccer with a ball wrapped in a tied plastic bag to provide auditory clues which referenced the early adaptive recreation workshops provided by WAFTB. Another icon of a blind woman hiking with a white cane and a hiking stick was later dropped as was an additional cyclist when the name “Visioneers” evolved into the picture.
World Access For The Blind, because of its length and width became too cumbersome in the evolving world of online social media, as well as in everyday use, It wasn’t a name that stuck in people’s minds, and left us with social media urls that were also not distinctive or memorable. Upon learning that Visioneers.org had become available as a domain, we registered it and started evolving the logo and a new vocabulary around it.
“Visioneers” is a portmanteau made up of the words Vision or Visionary and Engineering. It’s similar to Walt Disney’s “Imagineers” and use of “Imagineering” for it’s Creative Department. Disney wasn’t the first company to use the name; Alcoa actually coined it in the 1940’s, and Union Carbide used it in the ’50’s. Disney trademarked it in 1989, claiming first use of it in 1962, and as a brand, it became known as part of Disney because it was featured in many Disney programs.
Similarly, Google searches turn up other sites using the name Visioneers, or the straight to DVD movie of the same name by Zach Galifianakis in 2008. Visioneers.net shows up as a domain search squatter, while, Visioneers.com is available for purchase at a premium price.
As we build out our Visioneers.org social media sites and web site, we’ll start to dominate more of the Google searches for Visioneers, as we do with searches for Visioneers.org. And it gives us a focused vocabulary that keeps up with the scientific studies that have validated Daniel’s methodology for teaching FlashSonar to people and how the whole “visioneering”process activates the brain to rewire over time to train the Visual Cortex to produce what we call Sonar.Vision, seeing with sound.
There isn’t a more perfectly descriptive term for the process that’s as simple, short, distinctive and descriptive of what we do. and as a brand, it’s also flexible enough to be applied to additional services beyond just the blindness community. Visionary Engineering can produce anything, so it comes with room to grow to apply to evolving projects. And it’s short and simple enough to be used in countries where English is a second language, much the same as Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, Nike and others use their brand names for their company, products and services in English worldwide, while the local websites use the local language for local descriptions and support. But an iPhone, or an X-Box and other products are know the world over by their English name that is established over time and with consistent brand use, much like individual franchises of large corporations are bound to the branding “bibles” of the parent corporations. And people are intelligent enough to be quick learners and “pick up the lingo” once they’ve been exposed to consistent branding and marketing campaigns over time. Educating the client or consumer is part of the process.
Same goes for the evolution of the logo’s design: The original construction of Visioneers with the 3 logo icons was framed by a large V made up of dots. The perspective of the name Visioneers was warped, as was the positioning of the sonar waves to provide perspective that you were looking up at something like a cinema marquee to give it dimension, and a drop shadow was added to give it more of a 3-D look. Over time, this proved to be too busy and too congested when used at a smaller size. When asked to provide the logo over a black background for an online magazine sidebar promotional ad, the drop shadow disappeared and space between elements like the sonar waves opened up more.
After some ideas presented from the project team in Austria, we started experimenting with a slightly different layout, dropped the foreground rings, and integrated the yellow we’ve always used into more of a central color role in the icons, and in a muted way with the V dots, which could be interpreted to be symbolic of the yellow tactile dot grids inserted at pavement transitions. The result is a logo that “pops” more vividly, is clearly visible at distance, and can be downsized to a smaller scale without losing the clarity of the name. The same Apple Myriad Pro font was used for the name, but returned to normal perspective for the benefit of the low-vision population, and ” A division of World Access For The Blind” which became invisible with downsizing was replaced with a larger version of “Our Vision Is Sound”.
There are several versions that follow the video below for comparison sake using the original single silhouette icon of Daniel as well as the 3 current silhouette icons. As you may have noticed across the Visioneers website, the logo has had multi-purpose configurations to suit the item it’s being used in. Sometimes the sonar waves have more transparency, sometimes they are more solid, and sometimes the core elements have been used without the V. Click on the images to see them in larger size.
It might be an enlightening experience that gives you new ways to think about the logo by watching this excerpt from a recent “The Futur” webcast with “logo legend” Sagi Haviv.
1st Row: BG Rings Left: 50% | Center: 60% | Right: 70% | Click on each box to see a larger image.