Thursday, January 8, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Vice Prez explains the SIMPA logo

The 5 disciplines of modern pentathlon
We wanted something to portray the 5 disciplines of modern pentathlon. Other countries with established pentathlon associations had very similar designs. Design-wise, they were getting kinda stale and boring . I mean, this is supposed to be a gungho sport that requires physical strength, endurance, mental focus and even the understanding of horse behaviour! If one has a chance to google images for various pentathlon groups, you'll probably discover that most, if not all, have the ubiquitous stick figurines for swimmer, runner, shooter, fencer and showjumper. Most don't seem to have form and structure. And so from the beginning we decided unanimously NOT to use stick figurines or anything that resembled 'action' or movement. We decided to use elements of the five disciplines: bulls-eye target for shooting, water waves for swimming, feet for running, horseshoe for horseriding, and the sword for fencing. (there were some initial thoughts of using shoes, pistol grips, spurs and goggles...)

The Lion, the Switch, and the Wardrobe (malfunction)
As one of the newest NSA (National Sports Association) in Singapore, we also intended give a local flavour to our logo. Red and white were natural choice colours. At first we wanted to use a star or something that would fit the five disciplines in.
5 circles arranged in a pentagon? 5 triangles arranged in a pentagon?
While the decision for the 'shape' was left hung in the air, we tried to explore if we could use other local symbols that would portray the Singaporean-ness of SIMPA.... At first we thought of using the orchid, probably inspired by the the orchid motif that someone was wearing during one of our earlier meetings.
And so I drew a prototype depicting the orchid. Great! It's got 5 petals. But the centerpiece of the orchid seemed empty.
My mind kept racing for ideas. SIMPA, Singapore, singa..... SINGA! A lion! Why not use a lion as a national symbol? Perhaps I could incorporate the lion into the centerpiece of the orchid!
A few minutes later, another prototype was produced - one with a fierce roaring lion within an orchid motif....
But hang on.. the lion looked kinda gu-niang with a 'flower hat, roaring or not... and wait! the orchid looks like a sea turtle!
So it was back to the drawing board again.
We finally settled for the roaring lion, without the orchid motif, and the 5 elements of modern pentathlon within the lion's mane... and yes, the 5 stars were intentionally added.. for that extra Singaporean flavour to it.

So there you have it: SIMPA - true Singaporean tenacity and grit. ROOOOAAARRRRR!
(Thanks to Derrick and Dennis for digitizing and refining the prototype designs)

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