Design and symbolism are integral to one another. The point of the motif — whether a logo, an element in a pattern, or some form of ornamentations — is to encapsulate and articulate a specific idea, or, usually, an array of interlocking ideas.
Although symbols have become more sophisticated over the course of human history, even the most primitive symbols were, in some sense, designed. Geometric signs, composed of no more than a few lines (for example letters of alphabets) had be made distinct, and — in cases where they also doubled as representatives of meanings, not just sound — such as the letters of the ancient Greek alphabet — the creators also sometimes intended there to be visual similarities between them, to create a more complex semiotics. Continue reading →
A Buddhist-inspired comforter at Target.
Have you ever found yourself straining to read a caption, or make out the image, on someone’s tee-shirt as they pass by? Everything from pop music bands to health food stores, and from spiritual practices to artists seem to be on tee-shirts these days.
But the humble tee is only the most obvious way in which textiles is used to convey a message to those around.
In fact, textiles has a very long history of being a medium for expressing some of the most profound and complicated ideas. Continue reading →
Its logo — the zinnia flower — “symbolizes lasting affection, goodness, and daily remembrance,” according to fashio and home furnishings company Garnet Hill. And clearly, with its new line, Zinni(TM), GH hopes to capitalize on the young and affluent’s steadily growing interest in spirituality — especially the idea of cultivating a healthy mind and a healthy body.
Zinni is Garnet Hill’s just-launched line of yoga clothing for women inspired, the consumer is told, “by the relentless pursuit of balance, [and] stylish practicality.” Clothing may be practical, but they are — if we take Garnet Hill’s word for it — part of our spiritual life and identity. The modern tendency to idealize “balance” is portrayed in the yoga postures (and the healthy, natural and largely cosmetic-free looks) of its models, not to mention the clear sky and the Southeast Asian landscape of the photo shoots. Continue reading →