Okay, so I have this old ballcap that I probably ought to get rid of. It’s seven or eight years old, has seen LOTS of wear and tear and has become pretty much so nasty that I can’t wear it out in public any more — teenage daughter is aghast. I kinda hate to throw it away though cuz I really dig the logo on the front of it.
I’d forgotten to bring appropriate head-cover-and-visorage (read: ballcap), when I went out to Tucson for my buddy Dave’s wedding, so I picked one up while tooling around the UniversIty of Arizona the morning before the ceremony. I’d seen U of A’s logo on the side of their football helmets on tv, but never really looked at it particularly closely, and as it turns out, I should have cuz it’s pretty cool. Not a smack-you-upside-the-head-with-its-cleverness kind of design, but a quietly smart bit of juxtaposition. In a nutshell, it consists of one capital letterform (“A”) floating inside of, or surrounded by, another. The inner A is of a classical persuasion, with its gently flared serifs and proportions one might imagine carved into a frieze on the acropolis. The outer is of a more recent vintage by comparison, with big ol’ slab serifs (probably popularized about the time the school was founded) boldly declaring its modernity. So, I instantly got where the designer was going in his/her attempt to suggest simultaneously dichotomy and integration: “knowledge is perpetual, and this is an institution where we roll around in it in our time and embrace the continuum — we’re a contemporary facility that doesn’t just value that which precedes us, but celebrates how the future grows from memoria — past is prologue, baby.”
No seriously, I totally got all that from one A inside another. It’s a complex idea simply and gracefully rendered: the volumes are well balanced, positive-negative where the two letterforms create a negative inner-space doesn’t hinder legibility, and the two-color approach feels utterly obvious in the very best sense. The visual representation feels perfectly expressive of the idea it manifests and it handsomely serves all of the myriad purposes and applications that are required of a high-profile visual identity component of a modern educational facility.
And It looks cool on the front of a ballcap — and mine’s off to whomever designed this one, cuz it’s always encouraging and sometimes inspiring to see ‘the art and the craft’ performed at a very high level. Go Cats.