The Shepley Bulfinch “Agents of Change” badge graphic was developed to communicate the idea that architecture is not just about building or buildings—but also serves as a strategic mechanism for personal, organizational, institutional, and transformational change. The graphic was utilized in both the annual mailing to clients and in an internal card from the President to all staff.
The badge-like graphic was constructed using iconography from the firm’s first logo—a hand-drawn monogram by H.H. Richardson himself drawn around 1882. In a letter to his wife, Richardson described his original seal as “two strange beasts biting at a piece of forbidden fruit,” symbolizing the forbidden. Oddly enough, this reminded me of the wonderful tension between both knowledge and irreverence evident in the present-day Apple logo.
To make things even “stranger,” I then added a self-constructed Latin neologism, “certus intention,” which— at the time—I surmised to roughly translate into “certain intention,” but it could also mean “definitely plan” or even “defining design.” I suppose I was hoping the firm might adopt it as a motto of sorts—or a more abstract way of saying what William McDonough once said: “Design is the first signal of human intention.” Also, “the forbidden” in Richardson’s remarks sparked my interest in further exploring the negative impacts of design—and its role in contributing to crisis. The badge graphic itself was inspired by the work of the American artist and activist Shepard Fairey.
- Erin Deeley, Graphic Design
- Dan Vlahos, Creative Direction