Ubiquitous Marriage Equality Symbol's Evolution
Unless you've been living under a rock, sworn off using social networks or have been on an extended vacation, you've probably been stumbling over the marriage equality symbol that's cyberventilating its way across Facebook and Twitter. The pink equal sign on red background, with all it's various permutations is now considered the de facto logo of supporters of gay marriage. And as such, according to Chris Gayomali at theweek.com, "it ticks all the requisite checkboxes. . . it's simple, instantly recognizable, and well, everywhere."
Yes, like the Civil Rights 'clenched fist of the 60s,' the marriage equality symbol has become ubiquitous overnight as California's Poproposition 8 and the Supreme Court justices in all their wisdom decide on the Defense of Marriage Act.
But was a graphic artist commissioned to design said logo? Well, as the story goes, the Human Rights Campaign which focuses on advocacy initatives for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgener (LGBT) was formed as a non-profit organization in 1980. Their official logo representing equal rights was originally a gold equal sign on a royal blue background.
This logo was created in 1995 by design firm Stone Yamashita, who attracted then-Executive Director Elizabeth Birch to its bold design. The previous logo used by the HRC (then known as the HRCF) featured a stylized flaming torch.
The Campaign then revised the official logo this month, when their director of marketing, Anastasia Khoo decided the pink on red variation better reflected the "color of love." The change was strategically made on their Facebook page at 1PM, Monday, March 25, 2013 to coincide with Supreme Court Hearings (United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry).
The move was done intentionally to encourage Facebook users to replace their their profile pictures with the new logo. From there it spread, largely due to celebrity support. Khoo singled out the early adoption of the former “Star Trek” actor George Takei, who has over three million Facebook “Likes” and six hundred thousand Twitter followers, as key to the new avatar going viral across both networks.
According to a New Yorker report, Khoo told contributor Matt Buchanan that the campaign was the organization’s most successful in her seven and a half years there, and that “millions” have changed their profile picture to the symbol, though the H.R.C. has not “been able to track all of the different variations” of the logo, many of which are now featured on the H.R.C.’s Facebook page.
Gayomali pointed to a spawn of "more than a few-meme-y offshoots." One includes Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie. A popular permutation splices fangs between the two equal signs; says the HRC: "Vampire marriage lasts for all eternity." And yet another even has "Grumpy Cat" getting in on the act - who by the way, is no stranger to creating a few-meme-y offshoots for herself.
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