Holding Everything As One

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By Darryl Birkenfeld (OC Executive Director)

A logo in today’s world is synonymous with a trademark or a company’s brand. Nearly all nonprofit organizations have a logo that evokes their mission or vision. Many logos that we are accustomed to seeing are easy to relate to, while others seem more obscure…not making much sense until they are explained to us. Such is the case with the Ogallala Commons logo: a simple design with colors, circles, and arrows—and yet, once it is explained, it becomes a profound symbol that unites every person and includes all of creation.

The entire logo is comprised of two circles and two arrows with three different colors. The inner circle with its reddish-brown color represents the land—and more poignantly, it symbolizes that each of us belongs to the landscapes where we live, to the lands of our birth, and to all the landforms of our entire planet!

In addition, this land circle outlines our first boundary of influence…inviting our commitment and our action to steward natural resources.
Naturally, the outer blue circle of OC’s logo represents the waters that our bodies are made of and that to which we belong: the waters above the earth, upon the earth, and below the earth.

Keep in mind that any circle is actually a two-dimensional shape of a sphere. The blue color reminds us of the clear sky and life-sustaining water of the Ogallala Aquifer. The blue ring encompasses Ogallala Commons’ mission outreach: to nurture healthy land and water in order to revitalize human and natural communities.
The logo’s 2 arrows symbolize the north-south & east-west directions of OC mission outreach—from the southern edge of the Texas High Plains north to South Dakota’s White River, extending west to the Rocky Mountain Foothills and then east to the river-braided prairies of the Midwest.

Moreover, the arrows represent the flow of energy, with arrows that change directions at 45 degrees. This denotes focused energy. The arrows seek the center of the ring, then flow back out to the boundaries.

The green arrow shows the focused energy of nature’s seed as it springs from the earth toward fruition, then to harvest. The blue arrow represents the rain that falls to the earth and filters back to the outer ring of the Ogallala Aquifer. This directed energy also represents the flow of ideas and energy which starts in the communities, flowing toward the center to be reinvigorated, then flowing back out to effect change.

There is more to a symbol than what meets the eye or initially attracts our interest. An engaging logo needs to have multiple levels of meaning. After this description, you can see how circles, colors, and arrows represent everything that exists in our world, as well as the focused energy needed to steward and unify the fullness of life to which we all belong.