The idea of using a kingfisher came from thinking about how Nouse works and how it wants to present itself. Currently the Central Hall logo is rather stiff and institutional. Yes, it ties the paper to the University of York, but I felt that not only was that inherent anyway, but that it also declares that any writing within Nouse about events outside the University (be it international or domestic politics, art, music, science, human rights) is still labelled as a ‘York’ opinion – which it doesn’t need to be.
When the Editor first approached me for a logo, she gave me a beautiful photograph of a bird and asked for (I quote) “this, but different”. This logo is directly influenced by that picture, but I tried to keep a flavour of the old logo through the stark black-and-white contrast, particularly in the wings where they hint at printed blocks of text. Why a kingfisher? Because among all other birds, I felt it best conveyed the message of Nouse. It avoids the clumsiness of ducks, and the aggression of geese and swans, our university’s token birds which have subsequently become derivative and over-used (as have owls in the world at large). The Independent has dibs on the eagle, and while other birds of prey were possible – falcons, kites, sparrowhawks – it still felt overdone, and perhaps overly predatory. Clearly no poultry was going to do the trick, nor anything hunted or symbolic of a particular class, such as pheasants. Kingfishers are predatory, but then they are also beautiful, graceful, neat and efficient.
I hope that the kingfisher I’ve made captures that sense of freedom that the grey concrete of Central Hall didn’t. They’re incisive, able to get where others can’t, and still special every time they’re seen. And, of course, the kingfisher is revered as king amongst other water birds – which tied it in nicely with the lake.