How a Simple Design Can Become an Iconic Symbol

Posted by Make Badges on 8th Aug 2017

When designing custom made badges, custom made magnets, zipper pulls and magnet fastener badges, many strive for a design that’s brimming with detail. However, some of the best and most memorable designs are actually quite simple.

How a Simple Design Can Become an Iconic Symbol
Small-sized round badge, displaying the logo of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 1960s.

A Call For Nuclear Disarmament Yields a Universal Symbol

Think about the symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, more popularly known as the peace sign. Everybody is aware of this simple but iconic symbol. The 1950s CND movement occurred during a time of great strife and uncertainty. Its symbol was created by the British designer Gerald Holtom in 1958, a conscientious objector and artist.

The very first CND peace sign was made of black paint on white clay on the ground. It helped to reinforce the message of nuclear disarmament for the many thousands of protesters taking part in a 50-mile long march from London’s Trafalgar Square over to the AWRE (Atomic Weapons Research Establishment) in Aldermaston, Berkshire.

A Simple Idea Sweeps the World

The demonstration on the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment was the first large-scale anti-nuclear march of its kind. At the event, around 500 additional peace symbols were held up by protesters during their 52-mile walk from Trafalgar Square to the AWRE. The organisers were aware of the need for visual impact to get their important message across.

The design quickly came to be used in numerous forms across the globe, including on t-shirts, caps and pin badges as the years progressed and the movement gained popularity.

Designer Gerald Holtom initially considered using the Christian cross symbol inside a circle; however, he was talked out of this by area ministers. He decided instead to use letters from the flag semaphore system, superimposing an N for the word Nuclear upon a D for Disarmament, inside a circle to symbolise the Earth.

Custom Made Badges Are Perfect For Making a Statement

A more personal description shared with Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, indicates that the idea came out of the artist’s despair over the current situation. He says the image was in a sense a portrait of himself with palms outstretched in a plea for positive change.

As the CND symbol made its way to the United States, it took on additional meanings. The Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam protests, environmental awareness, 60s and 70s counter-culture and the equal rights movements all borrowed this symbol at some point.

While it was originally intended to signify nuclear disarmament, the symbol is now universally associated with an ideal of peace and harmony in the world.

What Will Your Message Be?

It’s also a prime example of how the impact of a simple, basic design can be profound and far-reaching. When designing your custom made badges, keep this in mind: sometimes, less is more. This applies to the designs printed on custom made magnets and magnet fastener badges as well.

What message would you like to get across for your business or organisation? Make Badges stands ready to assist you in creating your own iconic custom made badges or magnets. Never forget: a simple idea can make a major impact on hearts and minds. If you wish to discuss your custom badge making needs or need advice, feel free to contact us today.

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