Saturday, June 28, 2008

Identity, What an Idea!

We're here.  We made it through the week... starting with "introduction" on Monday, "involvement" on Tuesday, "interaction" on Wednesday, "investment" on Thursday, yesterday "influence", and today... finally...

No more suspense.  Cassie P. guessed it right when she identified the picture as a batch of cookies made to look like light bulbs (174 to be exact).  Katie (still in Texas, but I'm sure thankful to be leaving on a plane later this morning) and I baked these cookies, because thriving communities have a strong sense of identity.  Often times that group identity manifests in some kind of physical way.  

It can be a logo.  If you see a metal fish affixed to the back of a car, what might you know about the driver?  Chances are he or she is Christian.  What about the "W" stickers that were so prevalent in the 2004 presidential elections?  The swish on the side of a sneaker?  Or, the apple on a computer?  What if I asked you to describe the emblem most associated with the Olympic games.  Could you do it?  Chances are yes.

Why?  Because each of these communities or organizations has done such a masterful job of creating a symbol so recognizable, that the image actually speaks volumes.

The Greek system on college campuses is another place where group identity is communicated through symbols.  Sweatshirts, hats, t-shirts, bumper stickers, key chains, jewelry, and even tattoos are sported by students all over the country, in an effort to proudly announce group identity.  Sports teams are the same.  We mentioned Packer fans earlier in the week when talking about investment, but athletic paraphernalia also illustrates the power of identity.  What color are packer uniforms?  Did you say yellow and green?  Then it works.

Identifiable images, logos, emblems, and colors all work to help communities differentiate themselves from the rest of the population.  It's quick, it's easy, and it allows proud members of a community to communicate their affiliation without having to say anything.  It's also efficient.  Need to go to the rest room?  Depending upon how badly you need to go, you might be very glad you don't have to waste time determining which rest room is which.  The universally accepted symbol for men and women's rest rooms, is efficient and comes in handy.  The symbol for handicapped parking is similar.  Group affiliations help comprise pieces of our identity and those identities are often communicated through symbols like those mentioned above.  

Back to the light bulbs.... 

I've spent some time thinking, and consulting with others, about an image I might use to further develop a sense of identity among the highlowaha readers.  I've been through many ideas and even more renditions of those ideas.  I keep coming back to the light bulb.  It's simple, clean, and almost immediately conjures up the notion of "ideas."  I want to play with it some more and find a way to integrate a heart into the graphic.  Why?  Put on your creative cap.  What do you think of the tag line... "Fall in love with a new idea." ... followed by


As for the cookies.  We're packaging them in cellophane bags and delivering them to every family at my son's daycare.  It's a promotional gimmick, designed to see if we can pull in a new reader or two.  Today cookies.  Tomorrow t-shirts, caps, bumper stickers, screen savers... and did someone say tattoos?  A girl can dream.

Signing off until tomorrow... yes, tomorrow.  I've had a number of requests for an update about pen pal weekend.  Sunday I'll post the pics, along with updates about some other highlowaha initiatives.  Finally... Monday we will have a guest writer.  Next week is a big and fun week.  You won't want to miss it!

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