First, it was designed by Willow Hope, an extremely talented graphic designer, blogger and video-blogger who incidentally has Asperger’s herself. You should go and visit her website – she does really neat things, many of which are Asperger’s and autism related. Willow also runs Asperclick, an online community for people with Asperger’s.
About the symbol I chose for the logo:
The symbol that is most often identified with autism is the puzzle piece. You know this. But a lot of people actually resent that symbol, and they make good points. Sure, ok, autism is not sufficiently understood by science – in that sense, it is puzzling. But so are a lot of other conditions. As a matter of fact, that’s pretty much what all science does; it tries to solve puzzles. So why should autism – specifically autism – be ascribed the puzzle piece? It really doesn’t make that much sense.
Another good argument is that the puzzle piece can just as easily be interpreted as “the missing piece of the puzzle”, thereby implying that autistic people, well, miss a piece in their puzzle. As many of the bloggers linked to below point out, this interpretation is indeed degrading and dehumanizing. We are all puzzles. And we are all complete puzzles. No missing pieces .
Personally, I always interpreted the puzzle piece symbol differently. The way I saw it, we are all – autistic people and NTs alike – individual pieces of one big puzzle. Each piece is different and unique. As is each of us. And when you put all the pieces together in just the right way, you get a complete and beautiful picture. I rather thought the puzzle piece was a very optimistic symbol. I liked it. Until I realized that a lot of other people didn’t.
I wouldn’t want to advocate a symbol that irritates or angers some of the very people it’s suppose to represent. It’s as simple as that, really. So as far as I’m concerned, the puzzle piece symbol has lost whatever legitimacy it was thought to have once had. Right then: no puzzles.
I do, however, very much like the spectrum of colour motif. After all, this is the metaphor that is most commonly associated with autism, and it does a great job at that. So I asked Willow to put that in. And as a substitute for the puzzle piece, I asked her to use the other, slightly less common symbol for autism – the infinity symbol. There are, again, different interpretations as to what the infinity symbol stands for in this context. My own interpretation of it is this: life is an infinite journey (alright, not quite infinite, but you get the picture). There is always another relationship to be formed, always another interesting detail to learn, always another thing to discover; there is always another step to take.
And the books… Well, they just signify knowledge, but not so much the kind of knowledge that can be represented with graphs or numbers, but the kind that can only be put into words. And often many of them. That’s how anthropologists roll.
That’s enough from me. If you’re interested, here are some really enlightening perspectives on how autism should – and shouldn’t – be symbolized:
One from Reports from a Resident Alien
Here’s a good one from Ask an Aspie
And finally, one from Suburp Comix