Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Banner, logo, cherry, plum

I finally replaced the default imageless banner of the blog.

As you can see now it includes our newly designed logo and three drawings.

The logo is based upon a couple of ideas.

Firstly, the shape is based on the motif which is used by several Aikido organisations in their logos. Our mother organisation's logo is very similar but it is very similar for the Japanese Aikikai and several other Aikido organisations (for example, in the logos of the Dutch Aikikai Foundation or the British Aikido Federation), too.

First, I remembered someone saying that this motif was the cherry blossom (sakura) which is

[...]Japan's unofficial national flower. It has been celebrated for many centuries and takes a very prominent position in Japanese culture.

There are many dozens of different cherry tree varieties in Japan, most of which bloom for just a couple of days in spring. The Japanese celebrate that time of the year with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties under the blooming trees.

(Source Japan-guide.com)

I was looking for confirmations that the flower was really a cherry blossom but I couldn't find anything that would confirm this theory (and memory) of mine. After a couple of ours I told myself to stop looking for cherry blossom and start looking for something else in case the flower is not cherry. I remembered that the number of 'petals' in the logo is always five no matter which organisation uses it. Starting my search from this fact brought some unexpected results: the flower is a plum blossom! I also found a quote from O'Sensei explaining what the five petals mean.

Three thousand worlds
Burst into bloom
The flower of the plum
Now, if you are able to read this and say to yourself,
'Of course, the plum blossom has 5 petals,
each one represents one of the five elements:
earth, water, fire, wind and void (air),'
then you will be able to say that even a tiny plum flower is able to teach you something of the Universe. The blossom is an expression of the spirit of the Great Universal.

(from O'Sensei's Memoirs)

Now back to the logo. I took the sunrise-mountain (is it mountain Fuji?) part of the previous version of our logo by fellow aikidoka Janos Molnar. Changed the colours so that the new logo's middle part is primarily red, and changed its main image from the picture of Charlie san and me at a demonstration to a picture of a samurai. The samurai picture is an stylised version of a photo I made about a samurai doll in the British Museum a couple of years ago.

Banner: Although the initial idea for the header background was a Japanese style landscape drawing, I put on three aikido drawings instead. I made them when another fellow aikidoka lent her graphic tablet to me for a couple of weeks. The decision to put these was rather simple: currently I don't have Internet access at home but I felt the need to urgently create a banner picture during the weekend :D (..and I don't have the tablet now but would be unable to create a nice and stylish landscape anyway). If I find a good Japanese landscape online or people start complaining about the drawings, I might replace them. Or maybe I replace them regularly whenever something new comes to mind :).

If you like the new logo and header section please leave a comment. Leave a nice and constructively critical comment if you don't like them ;). I'd also appreciate if you wrote comments regarding the flower-problem.

1 comment:

Charlie san said...

impressive :)