According to the IDA the design is “an artistic restructuring of Pangaea”, the theory of “entire Earth” where, around 300m years ago, the world’s continents originated as a single land mass.
The above graphic is thus composed of silhouettes of all the inhabited continents (shown below), from which the IDA and its partner organisations (Icsid, Icograda and the IFI) draws its members.
While they’ve permitted some artistic licence here, had the designers opted for what is thought to be the actual shape of Pangaea (with the east coast of South America slotting neatly up against western Africa) the result, a rather blobby letter ‘C’, would no doubt have proved somewhat less suggestive of world unity.
Pentagram’s take enables the continents to be much more easily identified – at a larger scale at least – by keeping the recognisable country outlines visible (though I still can’t find India).
When used at a reduced size, the shape becomes more abstract of course, but the studio’s plan is that it remain flexible. The logo can apparently house the name of the particular country and year where each Congress is set to take place, while a system for “showcasing the unique attributes and culture of the host city” has also been created by Pentagram. This presumably would mean incorporating other graphic elements into the shape. The next IDA Congress is in Istanbul in Turkey from November 17 2013 so the design will no doubt get a proper run out in preparation for that.
As an aside, our abilitity to recognise the countries of the world by their shape and, in particluar, the rendering of Europe in the new logo reminded me of Slartibartfast’s coastline design skills as demonstrated in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
He was particularly proud of his work on the Norwegian coast – its sequence of fjords even won him a prestigious planetary design award. And you can just make them out on Pentagram’s design, too.