11 thoughts on “The IQIM has a logo!

  1. I remember when you got the IQIM grant. The same day that you mentioned it to us, you were surprisingly worried about both the new acronym (being less catchy) as well as the search for a new logo. Looks like things worked out okay, at least on the logo end. ;)

  2. Congratulations on a very inspiring logo. It’s even better than the one for IQI, which I thought was one of the more successful logos of the various institutes related to quantum information/computing/etc. A natural question is how much effort one should put into these
    matters. I think it’s easy to think of these things as somehow “soft”, and a distraction from more important matters. Obviously, it’s not your first priority. But your success, and the effort behind it, might inspire others to take these aesthetic matters more seriously.

    • The logo is a small part of a broader program of outreach, with the goal of stimulating public interest in science. Whether the logo is worth the time invested is not easy to answer. I ask myself that question about a lot of things I spend time on.

    • Dear Jonathan,

      One could say the same thing about philosophy. But, that is usually because those who say something like that don’t see the value in it, not because there is no value in it in the first place. I think it is high time for science to appreciate the power of a good design to do what our most incredible discoveries cannot: Speak to the world in an elegant and convincing way about the intrinsic value of our research and of the scientific endeavor. Why? Because our research (no matter how incredible it may be) does NOT speak for itself. If it did, the research we do at Caltech would be far more well-known than the Big Bang Theory sitcom, which is, ironically, based on fake Caltech scientists… Aristotle wrote about Analytics, Physics and… Rhetoric for a good reason. As long as scientists like us consider a well designed logo as a vacuous thing, we have no right to expect the rest of the world to consider our science as interesting.

  3. I have to confess that I haven’t read this (or any other) blog in quite some time—life has kept me too busy. What a surprise it was when I wandered over to this corner of the Internet and discovered a discussion of the “Landahl logo.” Since John took the time to convey some of the rationale behind the IQIM logo, I suppose I should give some background on the old IQI logo.

    There were several things I was trying to convey with the IQI logo. First of all, I want to play on the visual similarity between the symbols I and Q and the binary digits 1 and 0. I also wanted to include a graphical element to indicate “quantum” that would be accessible to the lay public. I figured the electron orbiting the IQI would do that, even though it meant I would be reinforcing the incorrect perception that an electron orbits an atom in the same way the Earth orbits the Sun. In the “thinking too hard about it” department, I recall making a willful decision to have the orbital slope upwards as I had read somewhere that subconsciously people view that as a “positive trend.” I purposely chose a sans serif font because my reading on web design at the time had suggested that these were easier on the eye than serif fonts; I believe the one I used was called “Futura.” And finally, I tried to make sure that the logo could be used alone without accompanying text, since I figured there would be some times when there would only be room for the logo. My graphics capabilities were (and continue to be) limited, so the logo is the result of monkeying around with the version of Microsoft PowerPoint available at the time, and, voila, the logo was born.

    To give some historical context, a couple of years prior to my IQI logo design, someone then at Oxford (Wim van Dam, perhaps?) had come up with what I thought was a clever way to capture a superposition of 0 and 1 in a unified logo; it is still used at qubit.org today. I didn’t want to rip off the idea, but I did want to include something indicating a unique property of quantum mechanics. I convinced myself that the fact that the electron orbited all the letters instead of just one could be loosely interpreted as entanglement and I just left it at that. I guess this was a rare case of me not overthinking things regarding the logo’s design. To this day, I don’t have a good visual way of representing entanglement that doesn’t just look like a classical correlation.

    At around the same time, the Centre for Quantum Communications Technologies in Australia had just formed and they came up with a logo consisting of a 10 x 10 array of gray dots with four of the dots colored turquoise. After the thought I had put into the IQI logo, I was underwhelmed, to say the least. To make matters worse, word got to me through the rumor mill that the CQCT had paid over $10k for someone to design the logo. I remember mentioning this to John and jokingly asking him where my $10k was. His response was something along the lines of, “You should have asked me that before you gave me the design.”

    I never came up with a tagline for the IQI. Although John and Spiros have come up with the “nature is subtle” tagline, the tagline that always springs to my mind when I think of the IQIM is the humorously titled blog post by Steve Flammia on the Quantum Pontiff: “Dial M for Matter.”

  4. “We decided that the logo, rather than representing any concrete physical system, should instead portray the active role of the observer in the quantum measurement process.” Music to my ears. I wholly endorse the new logo!

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