About the SJB Logo and Design Process
by Debra Dick, Calligrapher
The SJB logo began as a "back-of-the-envelope" sketch sent to me by Father Lambert. The original sketch contained only the letters—S J B—in roughly the same configuration as the finished design, albeit using simple Roman caps. Father Jack asked if I could "interpret the design in calligraphy". I relish the challenge of logo design, and since he had provided a good jumping-off point I felt certain a successful outcome was possible. Also, I welcomed the opportunity to help a client bring their own ideas to fruition.
First, though, I had to find out how the logo would be used---signs; banners; bulletins? This information was essential in creating an image that would suit the specific needs of SJB yet easily transition from one application to another. Of course, details regarding time-frame were needed as well.
Having gotten the particulars, my first step was to determine a lettering style. I wanted the letters to convey a sense of strength and grace, especially for the letter 'J' which does double duty as a cross. After writing out the letters in several styles, adding the arms of the cross onto 'J', then narrowing the choices to two letterforms, I did a bit of research into St. John Bosco—Who was he? What did he contribute to the Catholic faith? What image would St. John Bosco RCC want to convey in their logo? While the Internet is just one of many sources, it was replete with information on the history of St. John and the Salesians of Don Bosco (originally the Society of St. Francis de Sales), which he founded.
My search revealed that the existing logo for the Salesians uses three filled circles to represent the heads of three people. This element inspired me to use the circle—a universal symbol of infinity (eternity), unity and perfection—in my own design. In the final SJB logo, notice the three circles—one above each letter—to represent the three virtues: Faith, Hope, and Kindness. The main letters are surrounded by a second, larger circle formed by the hand-written tenets of the Parish and the Diocese of Scranton: WORD, WORSHIP, COMMUNITY, and SERVICE, plus the name and location of the church.
While the process of designing the new logo may seem quite linear, it actually involved a lot of back and forth—me sending off rough sketches of the evolving logo, explaining my choice of design elements and asking questions for further clarification; Father Lambert replying with approval and/or constructive criticism that helped to take the design to better heights; and his helpful observations that made us stop and consider the wording or design direction—all part of a collaborative effort which made for a strong design and a satisfied client. Though rooted in history and tradition, the logo connects to the present via its modern lettering style, meaningful symbolism and digital application.
In creating the new SJB logo I was able, with the help of others, to take a seed of creativity and make it grow. Perhaps this will inspire you to do the same in your own lives, in your own way. I wish to thank Father John Lambert and web designer, Daryl Davis who made the design process an absolute pleasure.