As you can see from our website, my office's branding and design could use an update. We have a small office and no one dedicated to graphic design or marketing specifically, so while I was watching Big Bang Theory last night, I started experimenting with Photoshop.
This is definitely just one draft in what I'm sure will prove to be numerous iterations. My use of Cinnyris venustus (Variable Sunbird) as a logo probably wouldn't fly with all of the departments, as it's not representative of the college as a whole (which encompasses life and physical sciences as well as mathematics and statistics). Plus, if I was going to use it permanently, I'd go back and spend more time processing the image - matching fonts, cutting it out, and feathering the edges.
Regardless, it's fun to have an outlet for my creative juices at work!
DISCLAIMER: These images are part of a project and have not yet been approved by Penn State.
One of my favorite poets whose writing inspired the name of this blog ("fragmentary things") writes regularly about the value of relationships, community, and being connected to the earth. For Berry, there is an almost spiritual emphasis on simplicity and sustainability. In an effort to maintain consistency in his own life, the poet farms using a team of horses and writes exclusively using paper and a pencil. His wife (and editor) then types his work using a typewriter that he purchased new in 1956.
In 1987 he wrote a thoughtful article about why he will never buy a computer. As a part of that piece, he included an interesting set of criteria for evaluating technical innovation as it relates to his own life and craft:
To make myself as plain as I can, I should give my standards for technological innovation in my own work. They are as follows:-
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.
The entire article is rather fascinating and provoked some rather vitriolic letters when it was published in Harper's. It's definitely worth a read, regardless of your persuasions. The article, responses, and Berry's counterpoint are all recorded online here:
There was a brief stage of life during my senior year in college when our family owned an old Series II Land Rover. My parents had just returned from visiting me in Tanzania and my dad was as smitten with old Landies as I was. So it was with great excitement that we travelled down to the eastern shore of Maryland to pick up the vehicle of our dreams, an old Series II classic that we found through eBay Motors.
It was great. It drove like a tractor, topped out at 45mph and was unstoppable, even in deep snow. My dad's mechanic wrenched on it and added a few minor modifications. Then disaster. Mom and Dad decided to drive up to Rovers North in Westford, VT, to get some other modifications to suit the wintertime climate of rural Pennsylvania. On the way there, somewhere in upstate New York, the rover lost power and had to be towed the rest of the way to the Rovers North shop, where my parents were informed that it would take as much to rebuild the engine as we'd initially payed to purchase it (which hadn't been cheap). It was with no small amount of bitterness that my father was reduced to selling it for a song and driving a rental home.
I sigh and look back on that old Series II with much more romanticized nostalgia than my dad, who was the one who lost out on the investment. Only one photo exists to prove that once upon a time I had a brief fling with a beautiful dream.