New logo: life is hands-on!

Patrycja Perek, traducción española Diego Beamonte, traduction française Camille Saadé
02 October 2011

Sometimes when looking at a piece of artwork, we say we see the impressions of the artist’s hand.  Actually in some cases, you literally have the hand of the artist imprinted on the artwork. In Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands), located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, you will find some of the oldest prehistoric paintings. They are estimated to be more than 12,000 years old. It is speculated that boys marked their advancement into manhood by stamping their hands on the walls of the cave. The colors of the paintings vary from red to white, black or yellow.

Much like prehistoric painters searching for the right color to express their emotions, ICVolunteers too searched for inspiration to finalize the shape of their logo. While the story of ICV started much more recently, there is already quite a bit of history to the organization and its logo. Here are some anecdotes about the origins of the ICV logo told by its Executive Director, Viola Krebs. “It all goes back to before ICV was founded. In 1997, I was asked to mobilize 500 volunteers for the 12th World AIDS Conference”, recalls Viola Krebs.

Although pessimists were saying that it would be impossible to find that many volunteers in Geneva, others believed it would be possible. Nevertheless, Viola took on the challenge. Close to 1,000 volunteers replied to the various calls. Many of them wanted to continue volunteering once the conference was over. A year later, ICV was formally established.

“The theme of the World AIDS Conference was to Bridge the Gap separating the various communities involved in one way or another with the fight against HIV/AIDS. In order to mobilize volunteers for the event, we designed a poster, with the slogan 'Help Bridge the Gap'! I scanned my hand and on that poster we had two hands that were trying to reach each other; seeking to bridge the gap. Later, when we decided to found ICV and we were looking for a logo - I said - well I actually would like to keep that hand. So, with Randy, we tried with two hands but it was too much. That is why he turned around the hand and put it up-right, paired with the three letters “ICV” in the forefront and that was it!”

The years passed and we stuck to our identity and logo. A few years ago, we brainstormed about a new hand and we first developed the ICV services logo which includes an 'S'. Given the spirit of the organization, which is very much hands-on, practical, but also linked to the expression of free will through volunteering, a social phenomenon that is as old as human kind, we felt it would be nice to use a hand that would express some of this modern but historic link. Indeed, volunteering did not start when we began to track statistics about volunteers and volunteer organizations, it goes back way before. The hand inspired by the cave paintings paired with the Life is hands-on slogan is meant to convey some of this history, from the past to the future. Because hands are practical, and ICV is a practical organization. There are so many entities out there that work with nice concepts and with a lot of talk, but the particular thing that we are trying to do is very much hands-on, very practical linking knowledge with needs.”

Helping hand and hand imagery are some of the oldest forms of expression, whether artistic or for the purpose of communication. From cave paintings to a modern technologies, different media have been used to get the message across. For example, a very popular 70’s Polish television program called “The Invisible Hand”, mobilized young people to volunteer and to focus their energy on beneficial tasks. In the program, the mysterious person was helping the elders or the disabled with an imprint of a hand being the only calling card left behind. Many young people wanted to be ‘The Invisible Hand’ at that time.

Because, as Viola Krebs states, “sometimes it takes little gestures, lots of little hands to make big things it happen!”

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