What’s in a name? For Anchal—a lot. Anchal refers to the fabric of a woman’s sari robes that is traditionally used to comfort loved ones, or more simply shelter. The co-founders of the organization carefully chose this name placing so much meaning behind it that they needed to create a logo worthy of the name. So what’s in a logo?
I spoke with one of the four original co-founders of Anchal—Joann Ware—about the creation of the ‘A.’ Joann fondly recollected to days of Anchal’s infancy, when four students from Rhode Island School of Design embarked on an assigned project that turned into something much more. Joann shared with me that the other women in the group were in the landscape architecture program, and she was the sole architect. By default but with little experience in branding, she became lead logo designer. Like many things, the creation of the logo arose from necessity. When the project was initiated in 2009, it quickly became evident that if recognition was going to take hold, the group would need a representation of the project by more than just its name. ‘We needed business cards for an event,’ to paraphrase Joann’s account. ‘We were applying for grants and needed the organization to be legitimized [with a logo].’
The design did not go through the traditional route of several rounds of changes; it was arrived upon quickly and with conviction from the founders. It conveyed the feeling the Anchal project wanted to impress upon the public: the careful selection of the stitching design that portrays the Indian artisans’ craft, the round, soft edges of the ‘A’ that gives a feeling of enveloping a loved one in a hug, a feeling of comfort.
Anchal has come quite the distance since the brand was established, and we’re encouraged that with the passion of its leaders, artisans and volunteers, the ‘A’ will someday be recognized worldwide as synonymous to the empowerment of females everywhere.