Heraldry has recently been in world news because of the U.K. royal wedding and the creation of a new coat of arms for the bride, Meghan Markle. Here is a quick overview of what went into the creation of the Humane Herald logo. This logo, in keeping with the name of the publication itself, draws upon the thousand-year-old traditions of heraldry, a system for communicating through iconography, color, and shape.
The Humane Herald logo was designed in 2016-17 by Chris Censullo with input from the staff of the Humane Herald and the Humane Party, publisher of the Humane Herald. Censullo’s work has become widely recognized in the animal liberation and social justice movements, for which he has also designed the main promotional images for the Abolition Amendment and the Equal Rights Amendment II, among others.
Allusion to heraldry
The logo alludes, with a light and modern touch, to the ancient tradition and visual “language” of heraldry. Though few people “speak” the language of heraldry anymore, heraldic iconography remains ubiquitous in our culture, from governmental insignia to sports teams. Since the word “herald” is part of the HH’s name, this reference is particularly appropriate.
The logo as a whole was created in square form so as to maximally occupy the space that is typically available for logos in websites (such as the “favicon” in a web browser toolbar) and social media.
While a traditional setting, such as a shield, was considered, a more flexible and modern approach, alluding lightly to the tradition while using leaf-shaped fields, was used; the freshness of this approach—particularly because the leaves seem to evoke veganism and the environmental movement—fits well with the mission and style of the publication.
The background (“field”) colors—what heralds would call “tinctures”—seek to evoke a sense of harmony with nature and to be appropriate for all four seasons by using a series of natural, earth-tone colors.
The top row of icons—what heralds would call “charges”—concisely encapsulates the Humane Party’s two-fold position as the party of “science and ethics.” Ethics is represented in the icon of a dove, and science in the icon of an atom. It’s also fortuitous that the dove icon—as opposed to, say, a heart icon which was also considered—speaks to the HP’s unique mission as the U.S.’s animal liberation party. Note that all members of the HH staff, like those of the HP, are required to make a public commitment that they are vegan and abolitionist through execution of the Humane Party Oath.
The bottom row speaks to the main medium of the HH and the “intersection” which brings together the HH’s specific niche vis-a-vis the top-row concepts. Specifically, the HH will primarily be distributed through computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices; thus, the computer monitor icon. Use of an old-school paper book icon was temporarily explored, but this icon appeared too old-fashioned and antiquated for the HH. The intersection of science and ethics on which the HH focuses is that of politics, i.e., the HH provides a voice for ethics- and science-based views on contemporary political issues; thus, the “city hall” or “courthouse” icon in the bottom right of the logo.
An enduring and inspiring symbol
As with other heraldic emblems, the hope is that the Humane Herald logo can serve as a symbol around which science- and ethics-minded individuals can rally for years to come. It also concisely communicates, like heraldry in general, information content regarding the entity for which the logo was created.