For some time, I've been working on establishing an information market where people can trade on claims about science. I won't go in to all the details now; you can read more at the Simon Market website. For present purposes, only two things about the market bear noting: 1) participants will, by trading in science claims, generate a market price that quantifies the current consensus about any given hypothesis; and 2) I'm re-branding the project by calling it the "Simon Exchange" and creating a new icon for it.
That's where you come in. I've worked up several alternative icons and am having trouble choosing between them. Want to cast a fresh pair of eyes on the problem? I'll offer you some of my favorite versions, and you can opinionate in the comments or drop me an email. I welcome you to go with your gut. If you want to hear more about the thinking behind these designs, though, just read on.
These two icons offer the simplest approach to the problem:
These two add a dot (or period) in the middle; one tries adding red:
These last two substitute exclamation points for the dots, above:
Though I of course want an attractive icon, I also want one that at least hints at what the Simon Exchange does. All of the marks thus use contrasting blue and orange colors and intersecting lines. Those represent the "yes/no" choice embodied in each "buy/sell" transaction on the market. Where an icon's colors and lines meet, they stand for the market price of a science claim—the point at which trading parties agree on the value of a claim.
At a more subtle level, the icons use manifold exclamation point-like elements to show how each market price reflects the opinions of many different traders. Happily, to my symbol-obsessed mind, those elements also look something like little cartoon heads spouting voice-bubbles. The disparate opinions crash together at each icon's center, meeting at the market price. In some icons, I put a punctuation mark at that point, representing that a statement of fact comes out of that exchange of views.
I used to study both philosophy and illustration as an undergrad. You might now understand why I dropped out of the latter. I often kid that "I went for the big bucks!" In truth, though, I got frustrated with my inability to capture in pictures the complex ideas in philosophy's language. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but they're mostly nouns and adjectives about concrete things. I still love to play around with graphics. But, as before, I often find that I get tangled up trying to cram too much meaning into a few spare lines.