Creative practice through making.

Today we received our first class assignment; ‘My symbol, this is me’. We were told to generate five A3 pages that demonstrated a thinking process toward the final goal; a personal symbol that would somehow reflect ourselves. Naturally, I went away and began to make a visual mind map, outlaying a set of key topics that I find special or relevant to myself; such as the sea. Underneath these headings, I wrote main reasons or points that demonstrate the importance of these things in my life. This method works well for me due to the fact that I am quite a visual learner; it is better for me to see things written out in lists, mind maps and so on because then the ideas have flown out of my busy mind and into a more permanent medium.

The second page is titled “Common Ties”. This is where I looked at what was written on the first page, and began to tie together the parts about me that interlock and share meaning. These main ingredients are:

  • Heritage
  • Sea
  • God

My fathers family heritage goes back to that of the Vikings, and of course, they were great sea dogs. The sea has always proven to be of great significance in my life, so I sometimes enjoy a small giggle with this great irony. My family are Kiwis; I was born in Auckland, NZ. The beautiful Maori cultural patterns intrigue me, with their curvilinear designs they remind me of the sea. This inspired me to look into the cultural patterns of the Vikings. I found aspects that were similar; which began to strike ideas on what I could possibly place into my logo. The Moana: Maori symbol of the sea. The Koru: symbolising silver fern (NZ), strength, peace. Viking Knot patterns: bringing a small part of my families past into the design. I thought that the Koru could represent the strength and peace of God too. Another idea that arose was sea and Sophie start with S. So I then found myself wondering how I could perhaps place this letter into my design.

With the sea being the point of focus, along with the idea of using some Viking and Maori cultural patterns, I began to doodle then move onto stage 3.

As seen in the image, I began to create concepts of my possible symbol. I then made up a few developments. After making these columns of developed ideas; I could now see that the third column was where I wanted to keep developing. So, on the right hand corner of this page, are the last steps into creating my final!

The 4th page was used to enlarge my final and place colour into it. This Coat of Arms Symbols site ( provided some insight into the meanings of colours. I wanted to use blue, for obvious reasons, and its also one of my favourite colours. Purple for the rich stories and family ties. Purple/Green: peace, nature, God, majesty. The last page was a monotone enlarged copy, in case I would need to scan it for further use.

Overall, this exercise was useful because it served as a good way to get into thinking about design processes once more. I found myself not only thinking about how the symbol would visually and metaphorically represent me, but about the construction of the design. Colour, balance, movement, contrast; how these things also enrich the symbols story and visually capture some senses of the sea.



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