"Suppose you're devising a logo for a new wing of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,
October 7, 2002 7:05 PM   Subscribe

"Suppose you're devising a logo for a new wing of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an office charged with developing intelligence tools and integrating the government's existing surveillance networks. Suppose that it has a vaguely sinister name—say, the Information Awareness Office—and that it's to be run by a former Iran-contra conspirator. What would your design be?"
posted by zztzed (17 comments total)

 
First things first: [Insert overlord joke here].

I have to disagree with reason's description of the sci-fi death ray though. As cool as that would be, I think its just an eye illuminating the globe, although glowing is, optically, the exact opposite of what an eye should do.
posted by gsteff at 7:15 PM on October 7, 2002


but didja notice what part of the world the eye is looking at? hmmmm...

double bubble maybe-but maybe not
posted by amberglow at 7:39 PM on October 7, 2002


Creepy. It makes me think of the Eye depicted in Broken Saints. I would think that a secretive government office would not illustrate its purpose with such a transparent metaphor. (Contrast with appropriately vague logos from the CIA and NSA.)
posted by Galvatron at 7:42 PM on October 7, 2002


Metafilter was a little ahead of Reason mag in pointing out the creepiness of the logo.

Anyway, the design is just as asinine as putting John Poindexter in charge of the project.
posted by pitchblende at 7:46 PM on October 7, 2002


but didja notice what part of the world the eye is looking at? hmmmm...

I think the reason the globe is positioned that way is for PR purposes. They wanted the globe turned so that America can't be seen; otherwise, It looks like this giant eye is staring at America, spying on John Q. Public. So, the globe's positioned so that the Big Eye (TM) isn't staring at America.
posted by unreason at 8:06 PM on October 7, 2002


Bad design does not a conspiracy make.
posted by joemaller at 8:14 PM on October 7, 2002


Man, the freemasons are always getting recognized on government logos. When do the stonecutters get a chance?
posted by SimStupid at 8:40 PM on October 7, 2002


It's a free-masonry symbol, of course, and also of the (heh heh) Illuminati. Even in its least-conspiratorial form, the pyramid, with its highest, visionary point separate from its lower parts, is a relic of enlightenment ideas about the Great Chain of Being, with European men on the top.
posted by Hildago at 8:57 PM on October 7, 2002


gsteff: the logo reminds me of Empedocles's theory: "invisible rays (like cat's whiskers) come out of our eyes; when a ray touches an object, we feel it in the ray" (pdf file - bottom page 4 - or google cache). If you like a puzzle, try to figure out why is false (before clicking the links).

Hildago: It's a free-masonry symbol,...
hmmm, I though it was the other way around.
posted by MzB at 9:13 PM on October 7, 2002


-- fnord! --
posted by metrocake at 9:39 PM on October 7, 2002


Semiotically speaking, this is the most inept administration in years.

Heh. I could follow this, but they lost me with this.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:14 AM on October 8, 2002


I know it's early in the morning, I know I'm a bleeding heart European, but this is a joke riiight?
posted by fullerine at 1:18 AM on October 8, 2002


MzB: It could be that the rays just decay really fast over distance in the absence of light... (granted, at that point you get kicked in the face by occam, but still).
posted by fvw at 4:53 AM on October 8, 2002


A.Crowley sez: "I adore Thee, IAO"
posted by atavistech at 7:57 AM on October 8, 2002


fullerine: if by "joke" you mean amusing in a depressing, gallows-humor kind of way, then yes it is. If by "joke" you mean "not true," then, well, no.
posted by ook at 8:26 AM on October 8, 2002


This was discussed at Typographica a few months ago. Personally, I like the design of the seal, even if the 3d thing is a little overdone. The typography is very neat & clean, and it's very effective, at least compared to what a lot of agencies are using for their identities.
posted by luriete at 8:56 AM on October 8, 2002


Bad design does not a conspiracy make.
Yeah, but good design can prettify and critque bad policy simulatenously. And sadly, bad design can distract from the badness of a policy (with its ugliness.)

It would be nice if the designers had fucked up semiotics intentionally - but just look at the government's long history of refusing to recognize the power of design... rather than admit that design counts for anything at all, they go for the solution which looks most iconographic. Consider the risible dullness of our money, the state of the Florida ballot, or the overall illegibility of our tax forms.

Thank goodness for our stamp designers, tho!
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:03 AM on October 8, 2002


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