In 2007 the Society commissioned a new logo as part of a ‘new look’ which would reflect our existing activities and membership but which we hope will appeal to a wider audience and help to attract more people to join us.
Our previous design, though eye-catching at a certain size, has always been difficult to reproduce in the variety of ways that we needed it to, and was looking increasingly out of place amid the cleaner, simpler logos of other organisations. With this in mind, we embarked on a hunt to find the right designer, and luckily we found him in the shape of Cavan Convery, a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College in Dundee, who now has a design studio in Edinburgh.Cavan explains his thoughts behind the logo:
“The Scottish Society of Art History asked me to create a new logo that was contemporary and minimal which could sit well alongside the logos of other organisations in the arts sector. One of several approaches I investigated was to use a type style that had a Scottish connection. I looked at alphabets with links to Scottish history, and one, Ogham, had a simplicity which lent itself to use as a logotype. The font uses groupings of bars either side of a central line to represent different letters. The logo spells the letters “SSAH” based on my tentative understanding of the language represented. Of course, I’ve taken several artistic liberties and this idea doesn’t stand too much interrogation – it’s equally as fallacious as writing your name in Egyptian Heiroglyphs. However, the logo’s main job is to work visually, and Ogham provided a starting point for a graphic that can be manipulated to suggest images on a wall, sculpture, architecture and new media.”
Ogham is a form of writing found on stone inscriptions in the Celtic areas of Britain. The letters are formed by scoring strokes on either side of a straight line (often the edge of a standing stone). Most of the earliest historic inscriptions in Scotland are in Ogham, and though there is disagreement over their precise dates and meaning, most seem to have been carved between the 6th and 10th centuries and appear to indicate personal names. Ogham inscriptions have been found at high status sites such as Dunadd hillfort, and on everyday objects such as combs. Their best known context, however, is on Pictish symbol stones, surely some of the most awe-inspiring works of art ever created in Scotland.
The various levels of association that Ogham has (Pictish, Celtic, British) could be seen to sum up the society’s wide-ranging interests in the history of Scottish art both locally and nationally, and the international scope of art history in Scotland. We hope you like it, and we hope that people who have been hitherto unaware of the society will soon get to know it.