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The Dialogue Pin

This post was submitted by NCDD member Michael K. Briand, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Civic Engagement at California State University, Chico. Contact him at mbriand@csuchico.edu with questions/feedback about the dialogue pin.

I’ve always thought the NCDD logo—the dialogue “bubble” with “NCDD”—was a simple, clever, and distinctive way of “branding” the organization. A year ago or so, I found myself wondering how to use the widely-recognized bubble symbol to signify dialogue more generally—that is, to represent commitment to the practice of dialogue without, of course, impinging upon NCDD’s well-established hallmark.

It occurred to me that, since Sandy had already cornered the market on single-bubble logos, I should try multiple bubbles. After doodling a while (instead of working) I hit upon the idea of linking four bubbles together in a design that looks a bit like a compass. The four bubble points are anchored at the four primary cartographic locations: north, south, east, and west.

The resulting figure suggested that dialogue can provide us with “direction” if it emerges “from all directions.” The four directions also implied, it seemed to me, that dialogue must be fully inclusive. As a happy coincidence, the design was symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing. I felt that maybe all of us who are committed to dialogue might on occasion want to display this new symbol, if only to elicit comments that might lead to conversations.

I’ve always liked lapel pins, and I admire the traditional art of cloisonné. So I looked into the possibility of turning my new design into a dialogue pin. It turns out there’s a better, faster, and cheaper way to get the cloisonné look. I decided to try it and order an initial small run of the design in blue, black, red, green, and white, some with the design in silver and some in gold. Here’s a photo of the version with blue background with silver design:

I think my little experiment turned out fairly well. I’d like to get some feedback. You can find out more about the pin by going to this URL: www.authorstream.com/Presentation/mkbriand-787127-dialogue-pin-photos-version-1/.

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This post was submitted by a member of the NCDD community. NCDD members are leaders and future leaders in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and community problem solving. You, too, can post to the NCDD blog by completing the Add-to-Blog form at www.ncdd.org/submit.

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  1. Craig Paterson says:

    Hey…I’m totally impressed! Great work! I’m thinking this logo could also link work in specific dialogue and deliberation communities to a wider effort. For instance, I work mostly with NIF methods and colleagues…but other parts of my work are cross-cultural in a deliberative sense. Thanks for the effort…and for sharing.

  2. John Backman says:

    I love this. The thinking is great, the symbolism works on several levels, and as you say, it’s pleasing to the eye. I think it would make a great pin.

  3. What a lovely design and thought process for developing it. I see this as a unifying symbol for all the communities and approaches for participatory thinking and action. Bravo!

  4. Michael Briand says:

    Thank you Craig, John, and Loretta for posting your nice comments. I hope you’ll accept a free pin as a token of my appreciation. Send me a mailing address (mbriand@csuchico.edu), specify a color combination, and I’ll send it.

  5. John Spady says:

    Michael, can you please call me on my cell: 206-465-6963 — I’d like to talk a bit about your design. Thanks!

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