Eye See You
What's in a logo? I reflect on the process that led me to design my logo and how it symbolises my core belief in the power of being seen.
Of the many, many things that go into starting up a counselling practice, I spent a disproportionate amount of time on my logo. Not the designing of it – that was taken care of by the talented Justine d'Hotman – but thinking about what it would represent. People told me that it wasn’t something to worry about, but it wasn’t just branding considerations I was thinking about. No, to me, my logo was a symbol. A symbol of my journey, my approach, and what counselling means to me.
It begins with my course to receive my diploma, a course which was quite possibly one of the most amazing experiences of my life to date. Through this, I noticed a pattern emerging in my life, the root course of any discord I had experienced. Beneath the formative experiences of my youth lay one simple theme: being seen. Or rather, not being seen.
This manifests in more ways than I can count, but most relevant to my counselling approach was the concept of validation through being seen: that one’s internal issues become real to us when they are recognised by others, when they’ve had a discernible impact on the world through affecting another. All the while that our troubles are bottled up inside, it’s easy for us to dismiss them, but by having another see what we are feeling, it makes it true; we can name it, we can discuss it, we can do something about it. It’s what drives us to take things out on others when we are hurting, this innate desire for others to understand what we are experiencing. I believe counselling can provide a healthier approach.
All throughout my course, I felt drawn to the concept of an eye. Some say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and it’s true that as counsellors we use eye contact to show engagement and to connect with our clients on an emotional level, but beyond that, an eye is the most obvious symbol of being seen. One exercise on my course was to design my “model” – a visual representation of my approach as a counsellor – and so, I chose an eye. The iris was filled with everything I believed to be true about myself, while outside the eye were all the messages I have received, implicitly or otherwise, over the years.
The meaning was clear: the messages I saw from others affected how I saw myself. This, in turn, shaped how others saw me. An unending cycle of implicit messaging, as internalised beliefs became more and more reinforced.
Over time, I added to my model, particularly to comment on recognising difference and diversity. Sometimes, it’s easy to think that recognising our differences and applying labels can disguise other aspects of our identity, that we will only see the label and not the individual, but I modelled this as a contact lens above the eye. Sure, it’s putting something in front of our view, but rather than blocking it out, it brings things into sharper focus; not only can we still see an individual, but we understand them more than before through understanding their context.
It was clear to me that my logo would be an eye, but what else? I’ve always loved the colour combination of blue and orange, and I liked the concept of an orange sun to represent both the warmth and comfort I hope to bring to my practice, but also illumination. In particular, I wanted it to represent a sunrise or sunset, showing the contrast between the darkness and the clarity that comes with being able to see in the light.
Of the several suggestions created by my graphic designer, I was immediately drawn to the logo I eventually chose for another reason, one which I had not intended: that with its diagonal lines, it somewhat resembled a spiral galaxy. Not to get too postmodern, but I’m very much a believer that our focus determines our reality, that what we see (or rather, how we see) influences our own reality, whether that be the reality of a situation or, more crucially, ourselves. As in my model, how we see ourselves – our sense of self – is theoretically different from our actual self, but where one begins and one ends, that’s the question.
So this is my logo; less an all-seeing eye, and more an eye to the world, the world that lies within each of us.