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In their quest for a logo, Occupy.com, which is associated with the Occupy Movement, sifted through 8,319 submissions from 1,591 designers until they agreed upon a minimalistic design by maspoji — and no, we’re not sure if the trademark symbol is ironic or not.

The winning logo has obvious similarities to many different images from various cultures and contexts, which is a good idea. My immediately reaction was that it somehow evoked the logo used by then US Presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 but without the sappy blue sky and rolling red fields. Perhaps a more appropriate association for the symbol is an ensō, which is a Japanese word that means “circle” and, according to Wikipedia, is “a sacred symbol in the Zen school of Buddhism, and is often used by Zen masters as a form of signature in their religious artwork.”

An ensō by Rinzai Zen master Hakuin Ekaku Zenji (1686-1769) (via 7junipers.com)

The beauty of the winning design is that it is universal. It also has a sense of power without veering towards the overly idyllic like the Obama logo.

The new logo will replace the more common OWS clenched fist symbol that has been with Occupy since the early days. This simple O evokes a new direction and simplicity that feels welcome, if not easy to define. Though part of me hoped for something more distinctive this doesn’t mean that the logo may not evolve just like the movement.

When Occupy put out their call for designs earlier this month this was their request:

We are challenging designers to think beyond the iconic Clenched Fist and create a new iconic symbol for resistance, solidarity and empowerment in the 21st century. It should appeal to a broad base and reflect the diversity of the 99%, while encompassing the values of the Occupy Movement — among them, integrity, justice, freedom, equality, compassion, community and true democracy.

According to a quote that occupier David Sauvage provided to SF Weekly:

“The creative energy of the contest naturally went towards the circle — It’s iconic, it’s endlessly reproducible, it’s infinitely inviting and inclusive and it symbolizes the connectedness of all of us.”

I’m curious what others think because even though I like the idea of this logo I can’t say that I find it particularly inspiring. Please vote or comment below.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

3 replies on “Occupy Wall Street Gets a New Logo”

  1. After having taken a better look at the logo, I still don’t like it.  I find the comparison to the enso troublesome, because it has nothing to do with the U.S. and what’s happening here.  I don’t believe that what our country is current experiencing  can or should be equated with what’s going on in the rest of the world because our culture, customs and values are vastly different… especially from Asian culture.  The logo for the movement, if it is to continue (and I’m not sure that it should) should reflect the people it represents… Americans.

  2. I recently asked myself what an “Earth Flag” would look like if one were ever needed (as in to express the common traits of earth’s occupants in contrast to other planets, inhabited or not). I eventually landed on a simply centered enso on a white background. An overtly manmade circle its an appropriate and legible metaphor for human effort and creation. 

    As Occupy aspires to be a global movement that consists of the vast majority of the population. It seems to me that an circle would be quite fitting.

    Additionally the that fact the “O” they have used is clearly a digitally (mechanically) created symbol, expresses pride in the origins of Occupy as the result of communications media.

    While, if I were given my ‘druthers, I would shrink down the “occupy.com” part a bit; I think the people charged with this task chose wisely.

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