Work continues in our community for welcoming the Syrian refugees who are to arrive shortly. A pilot project, run by community volunteers has been set up called “Friends of the Centre”, Ballaghaderreen. The volunteers will work in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the Irish Red Cross to support the wellbeing and integration of the refugees into the Irish community.
Young swallows hatched in our garden last year.
We were honoured to be asked to make the logo for this group and we met with one of the coordinators to discuss ideas for it. One idea was to include two hands supporting a swallow, we took some photos for reference but in the end this idea had to be abandoned as there was not enough room to fit the hands and arms into the space and the bird would look very small when the logo was scaled down to size. We decided to follow on with the imagery from the Welcome wall, which we wrote about before on the blog, here and here.
Christmas robin stand in.
We drew a branch from an oak tree as a support and resting space for one swallow, and added two more swallows in the background. Ballaghaderreen in Irish is Bealach an Doirín, meaning “the way of the little oak”. In this logo the branch symbolizes the local community and the way we can all reach out and support the refugees. The swallows are migratory birds and we thought they reflect the situation the refugees are in quite well. The swallow is also a symbol for freedom and hope and can signify a new beginning and rebirth. We have them visiting our garden and nesting just outside the house each year, and it is a very special moment each spring when we see the first swallows of the season.
We added rays of sunlight in the background as further symbols of hope and a new beginning. We are hoping that the group will be successful in its endeavours to help all the refugees settle into their new life in Ireland. We have signed up to volunteer.
The bird to the top left is sketched from a photograph, used with kind permission from Warren Photographic. The bird on the oak-branch is sketched from a book illustration used with kind permission from the author. He is part of Nature Photographers Ltd. We would like to share some tips here, if you are planning to make your own logo. If you are to include writing it is good to plan your work carefully. We counted the number of letters in each word and the spaces in between. All letters count like one space apart from “i” and “l” that counts like half a space. We wanted to write “Friends of the Centre” at the top and “Ballaghaderreen” on the bottom half. Once you know the number of letters and spaces it is easy to place them into the design.
We used a compass to make two circles, one on the edge of our intended logo and one on the inside of our space for the writing. It is nice to space the letters out as evenly as possible. We wanted a handmade look to the finished logo so wrote the letters by hand using a permanent marker.
We decided to make the image on the lower half of the logo quite dark and the sky bright for contrast. The birds are also quite dark against the lighter background. This makes them stand out even when the logo is scaled down to a small size. We tried out a few different compositions, before settling on the finished one.
As we were pressed for time and did not have many images of swallows to hand, or any live swallows to look at this time of year, we sketched one image based on a picture in a bird book and another one that we found in Google images. We have read up on copyright laws now, and understand that this was not a good idea. It is not permitted by copyright law to draw your own version of a photo or part of a photo even if you alter the image around it and use it as part of a new image, without asking for permission. We wanted the third swallow to have a very simple swallow outline, so we managed to draw it from memory and our own photos. We have contacted the copyright owners of the other two swallow images. Mark Taylor of Warren Photographic has kindly given us permission to use one image for free as this is for a non profit purpose and the swallow in question only make up a small part of the total logo. We are very grateful for his kindness.
We contacted the Author, Paul Sterry, of the bird book we sketched one image from and he has given us his kind permission to use his photo for artistic reference. We are very grateful for this. You can find many fantastic images on the Website he is part of, Nature photographers Ltd and they are available as high resolution downloads to registered users.
From this experience we have learnt that it is advisable to only use specified copyright free images or to ask permission first, for any image you wish to include in an artwork. Even if an image published online does not include a copyright symbol, someone still owns the copyright, and it is courteous to always ask permission before you use an image for artistic reference. Good luck if you do create a logo of your own.