From the Here We Go Again Department: Fox News & right wing bloggers find yet another Islamic Crescent in yet another Obama logo. And just like the last time, they’re completely out to lunch.

not-this-shit-again-face-palm-smallIn many ways, a symbolic logo design is like a Rorschach inkblot test. Unless they’re particularly literal or illustrative, our mind has to interpret what our eyes are seeing. And like its psychological cousin, interpreting a logo is often heavily influenced by our personal experiences and biases. In other words, nuclear-summit-logo-washington-2010we see what we want to see (it actually has a technical name – pareidolia.) And once again, a lot of people on the right side of the political aisle are seeing an Islamic Crescent in a logo that represents a US government initiative in general, linked to Barack Obama in specific. Last week, the US President hosted the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit with the stated goal of preventing “non-state actors from obtaining nuclear technology or materials”. Pretty historic stuff too, with Obama being the first leader to convene such a gathering – 47 nations in total – the largest since the formation of the United Nations. Ignoring all of this, and once again, Right Wing blogs and media outlets have sniffed out yet another Islamic Crescent in the logo for the event.

Here it is:

The rageathon begins..

Michael Goodwin, a columnist at Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post got the ball rolling:

“The first time I saw the swirling logo for the Nuclear Security Summit, it looked familiar. I soon figured out what it reminded me of: a crescent moon. The kind of crescent moon you see on the flags of Muslim countries (from left: Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan)…I am certain the crescent-like design of the logo is not a coincidence, especially at an event where Iran’s nuclear ambition and al Qaeda’s search for a bomb are prime topics”.

Right Side News published a long screed that started off telling us that the Nuclear Summit Logo is an Islamic-Shaped Crescent. Atlas Shrugs loon Pamela Geller breathlessly regurgitated the story on her blog. Never missing an opportunity to stir the conspiratorial pot, Murdoch owned Fox News got in on the action too.

Let’s break the logo down.

To me, as a humble logo designer, the logo appeared to represent a sunrise over the Earth. You know, typical logo symbolism that portrayed a ‘new day’ or a ‘new dawn’ in graphically simplistic terms. Even though that might have been appropriate, turns out the symbolism is even more literal than that, and is linked in very real terms to the summit, especially the nuclear part. According to White House spokespeople, the logo is an abstract variation of a Bohr Model. “What’s that?” you ask. Pretty complex stuff, but the first paragraph of the related Wiki page tells us all we need to know:

“In atomic physics, the Bohr model, devised by Niels Bohr, depicts the atom as a small, positively charged nucleus surrounded by electrons that travel in circular orbits around the nucleus—similar in structure to the solar system, but with electrostatic forces providing attraction, rather than gravity.”

And here’s what one version of a Bohr Model looks like: nuclear-summit-logo-explanation You’d think we’d have learned our lesson the last time. That’s when the Right Wing side of the internet freaked out because they found an Islamic Crescent in Obama’s new Missile Defense logo. Trouble is, that one wasn’t a logo, wasn’t new, and didn’t feature a crescent, Islamic or otherwise. Just like this time. For more on this, take a look at Jon Stewart‘s skewering of Fox News’ “Logo Gate” on the Daily Show. [White House photo: Pete Souza]