As we begin a new phase in our growth, we wanted to build a visual representation of our identity, an identity that has developed over the last decade. We are known as St. Patrick’s Alumni International, or, more commonly, SPAI (pronounced like ‘spy’), but we wanted to develop a new graphic identity that better expresses alumni energy and aspirations. While that will involve a number of graphical elements such as colours, website design, font, stationery, templates, etc. – it starts with our crest.
One might ask why we didn’t use a variation on the school crest or use the school motto. We wanted to represent the alumni and not give the appearance that we represent the school administration itself, so we chose a distinct graphic identity, even though we signal our bond by depicting the SPS crest in some memorabilia and other collateral. If in the future alumni operations are an indistinguishable part of the school’s operations, there will be no need for a distinct identity. The SPAI crest is inspired in many parts by the school colours, the school motto and its Irish roots. It stands for what we believe the alumni aspire to be and achieve. We believe that graphic identities should evolve with the times, and this one will one day give way to a new one. An example of an exercise in graphic identity development: http://web.mit.edu/graphicidentity/
The content was researched and compiled by SPAI founder, Kingshuk Mallik '90 while Raja “Raj” Gope ’90, an artist and NIFT-trained designer, designed the crest around that content. This design was presented to the EC, which reviewed and discussed this in detail, agreeing on the overall design direction and submitted it to wider feedback.
Although designing by committee is not a good idea, feedback and fresh perspective always help. The EC suggested some changes after looking at the first few versions. We took the feedback of all members of the 35-member Alumni Council as well as the Christian Brothers, since they also went through a redesign of their logo. Based on the feedback, we decided to make the crest more balanced (and Indian) by including an 8-spoke variant of the dharma chakra (on which the Ashoka Chakra is based).
One of the variations of the last iteration was approved by the EC unanimously towards the end of 2010.
In addition to symbols that were given, the creative brief given to the designer: “Centuries old, celebrates history, believes nobility is earned and not conferred, focused on the future, and on holistic applied learning than simply acquiring knowledge….a nod to the green and gold/yellow tradition…..convey class, nobility, generosity, the greater good. Design of logo should not be contemporary/modern, but classic....merge web 2.0 style with something that looks old“.
- Gold/yellow - generosity and elevation of the mind
- Green – youth, vigour, luck, life
- Rampant Lion – Symbolises courage (to innovate, in our context) and royalty (nobility, in our context) as qualities to aspire to. The “king of the beasts” is a popular symbol of royalty in many cultures, and works well with nobility. Also, animals like lions can be used as mascots for sporting events. This version is the “rampant lion” a particular kind of lion symbol. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion_%28heraldry%29
- Shamrock – A 3-leaf shamrock, it’s a link to the SPS school logo (the original one has two shamrocks) and Irish heritage of the founding Christian Brothers. The shamrock is the symbol of Ireland.
- Book – Symbolises SPAI’s interest in educational excellence and innovation. A book is shown since it’s the easiest icon to represent education, but we don’t endorse bookish learning.
- Dharma Chakra – An ancient Indian symbol from Buddhism, symbolising the spiritually permanent Truth in its centre. It was the inspiration for the Ashoka Chakra, the symbol of India. This depiction also resembles the navigator’s wheel of mariners, so we hope to always be guiding our ship well.
- Rays – The rays symbolise the spreading of knowledge (education) and the advent (dawn) of something new.
“Nobilitas per providentia” means “Nobility through foresight” in Latin:
- It echoes “nobilitas” in the school motto “Nobilitas sola virtus” (Nobility is the sole virtue).
- It has a foot in the future.
- We want to show foresight in SPAI’s own actions and plans, as well as appreciate/encourage the skill to look and plan ahead among alumni and students.
- While nobility might be a “virtue”, our motto claims that such nobility/leadership status can be gained through the ability to anticipate situations and navigate in an uncertain world. If leaders can’t demonstrate foresight, they end up failing as leaders.
- Providentia is the goddess of forethought in Roman mythology