Thursday, November 08, 2007

Intellectual Privilege Imagery

To accompany the text of my book-in-progress, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good, I've been trying to come up with some appropriate imagery. I'm looking for descriptive and striking graphics that at least hint at the book's theme. Let me see what you think about three images, one for each of the three phrases in the book's subtitle.

  • For "Copyright": A red c-clamp, tight shut, within a circle of chains. I doubt that I need to explain that image, much. The red clamp would make for a nice favicon, too.

  • For "Common Law": A chain strung along a series of posts, such as you might see marking lines in a bank or in front of a painting in a gallery. That represents the gentle but firm guidelines established by contract, property, and tort law.

  • For "the Common Good": A computer screen showing a long string of alternating zeros and ones. These numbers—". . . 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 . . ."—would represent both binary code and the links of a chain, each of them free of the others and rotated to stand proudly upright.

Why worry about mere pictures so early in the process? I'd say "pleasantly muse" rather than "worry"; I like illustration puzzles. I find, too, that good visual symbols can help me work up good verbal symbols.

[Crossposted to Intellectual Privilege]


Glen Whitman said...

I think having all these images on the cover would be too cluttered. The image that I found most intriguing was the first:

For "Copyright": A red c-clamp, tight shut, within a circle of chains.

But the chains strike me as gilding the lily. A c-clamp already signifies binding something and holding it in place. How about this: A red c-clamp -- tightly holding a stack of books, CDs, DVDs, etc. The symbolism is clear: the C is preventing us from accessing the contents of these works.

Ran said...

+1 to Dr. Whitman's comment.

Vera said...

Chains are pretty compelling.

This may be completely out of line with the content and message of your book, but here's what comes to my mind from the perspective of symbolism.

Padlocked chain for copyright. Can imprison, but also symbolize promises and exclusivity.

Some sort of daisy chain for common law. It can create an enclosure, and is created by repeated actions over time, and multi-faceted components.

Interlinking chains made of people for the common good. Dynamic and organic.

I realize that this is a visually disparate group of images which might be impossible to translate into a complementary set of logos. (but it was fun :))

Tom W. Bell said...

Thanks for those thoughts, all. To Glen and ran, I'd observe that putting *some sort* of circle around the c would seem in order, as that is what the copyright symbol includes.