The New Logo and What it Means!
Say hello to Rationable’s brand new logo! The wicked design was thought up by Liz Wolfe, a ridiculously creative freelance designer who I met at Scicomm Camp last year in Los Angeles, USA. Go follow her at @thelizwolfe on Twitter.
I desperately needed a new logo because I made the old one on a Powerpoint presentation slide. And as much as it still does encompass a lot of what I wanted to express, I felt it wasn’t as polished and professional as I wanted.
But now, it is!
Let me explain what it’s all about. The colours, symbols, shapes, all have a meaning behind them. If you think it’s getting a bit too over the top and self-indulgent, well, that’s art dude. Now, indulge me, would you?
One of the most important aspects of Rationable is that it doesn’t just look at the black and white. These two extremes are too extreme. It’s very rare that any issue in this world, or topic, is black and white. Everything has context and spectra to them. Everything is shades of grey. It’s in the shades of grey that we find the truth. The gradient I’ve added to the font to accentuate this idea.
Think of this box like one of those 3-dimensional mazes. You know, you drop the ball in on top and then have to keep turning it to get the ball to come out of the other end. This is similar except there is no pre-defined maze. You have to dig through it yourself like an intrepid miner, looking for the evidence that’s hidden within. We’ll come back to that.
We wanted a 3-dimensional shape because, like the greyscale, we don’t think any issue, claim, person, natural phenomenon or controversy is simply 2 dimensional. There are multiple dimensions to everything and we need to study all sides to truly understand what we are looking at.
The question and the answer
One of the paths of the maze is the question and the other is the exclamation mark. If you thought that looks like a minus sign, just tilt your head to the left like a puzzled dog and you’ll see what’s going on.
This is because Rationable is all about asking questions and learning new things by looking for evidence. But the evidence isn’t always intuitive and isn’t where you expect to find it. That’s why you sometimes need to look at it from a different perspective, but always let the evidence lead the way, no matter what your own biases tell you.
Where’s the evidence?
Good question. It’s in there somewhere. You need to find it. You need to keep digging like a miner looking for a rich vein of gold (yes, mining sucks for the environment. It’s an analogy, okay? Just go with me on this). That’s why the negative spaces are where we have already drilled through and it all leads us to the answer. Sometimes, the evidence leads you to more questions, and others, to the answers you seek.
So we’ve finally come to the logo after a lot of iterations and a lot of racking of the brains. Liz did an amazing job of putting my thoughts and perspectives with her own and coming up with this amazing design that’s simple and yet speaks for Rationable. There were many elements that went in and then got thrown out because if we really wanted to put in everything we thought of, it would end up looking like a Rube Goldberg machine instead of a logo.
Post Hoc Rationalisation
Time for full disclosure! Rationable is all about being open and honest, so I’m going to make a bit of a confession.
Some of these meanings I’ve attributed to the logo were thought of AFTER the logo was finished. But that’s okay. It’s natural to do that. But let me tell you what I added in.
The bit about tilting your head to see the exclamation mark
The bit where I say the evidence is hidden inside the box and
That we have to dig our own paths to find it
This was a compulsion. And even if I did think of these aspects after the design was completed, they still make sense. So make of it what you will.
The reason I wanted to tell you about this is because there’s an important lesson to be learned. Although this isn’t a perfect analogy for post hoc rationalisation, I have added meaning to something after it’s already been made.
We do this with a lot of things. At work, we could be making a presentation but suddenly get an idea that could enhance the subject. You and your partner could have a special song that you share, but you add more meaning to it later.
When I was in a band, we all thought up a name based mostly on a crazy amount of google searches and throwing around random word pairings. Then, when we finally agreed on a name, we sat around adding more meaning to it afterwards so we’d have something to tell people other than “it was the only one we found that no other band had taken”.
It’s natural for us to add meaning to things after the fact. It’s human. But it’s also something we should be aware of and acknowledge.
After all, adding more meaning to my new logo doesn’t really DO anything. The logo wasn’t created with those ideas in my mind, but after I saw it, I realised I had missed some aspects. I wanted to add more meaning so I could feel better about it and I could impress you with how freaking awesome the logo is. The fact remains, it’s still awesome and I really didn’t have to.
The point I’m trying to make is, this could be a small, harmless example, but it can get more significant depending on the circumstances.
For example, when Dr Oz was giving testimony about the information he provides on his show, he tried giving it more legitimacy by making up a study that he thought was legit, when he (probably) knew damn well it wasn’t a good study. Then he diverted to saying he thinks they are safe because he gives them to his family.
Then, for laetrile/amygdalin, Ernst T Krebs Jr started at claiming it could cure cancer. When this was disproven, he started claiming it was a “vitamin” and helped prevent cancer.
While we are at it, to be honest, adding this Post Hoc section to this article was an afterthought. But the lesson is real and its implications important. That’s why we should be aware of our own biases and logical fallacies. That’s why we should always be brutally open and honest with ourselves and those with whom we interact. We also need to be vigilant when digging for evidence, because post hoc rationalisation can be an important red flag when it comes to big claims made by charlatans. Knowing this is another good tool in the arsenal of a sceptic and a critical thinker.
So, what do you think of the logo? Have you made any post hoc rationalisations? Please tell me about it in the comments.
And for more content about science, pseudoscience and critical thinking, bookmark this website and share it with your friends and family.