We have returned to our roots, we are again WatersMark… again I might emphasize (actually where it all really began… but that is another story.) So let me share how it sort of all began with the logo thing… A month or so before the formation of Arambys Corp (the company set up for our foray into magical Morocco) I was speaking to one of our partners, Colin, of The Pixel Liberation Front fame (if you’ve seen the movies The Matrix, Pirates of The Caribbean, Planet of The Apes, Green Lantern, et al., you’ve seen Colin’s magic at work.), about the process to create an iconic logo. I don’t know that our Arambys Elephant (now adopted by WatersMark) logo will ever become iconic or not, but here is how the logo, name, and corporate seal came about.
As mentioned, Colin gave me some advice on how to come up with great logo, which I took to heart (you’ll have to ask Colin what the advice was). The process consumed me over a full weekend, with my kids wondering why I was playing with elephant images on my Mac.
I started by looking up iconic logos and found the original Air Jordan logo. Basketball is my favorite sport and Jordan my favorite all time player (along with Larry Bird and now of course Stephen Curry). I flipped the logo upside down… and it looked like 3 step pyramids, one in front of the other, reminding me of cool pyramid trips I have taken in Egypt and Mexico.
I erased Air Jordan and put in Arambys, the name apparent of our soon to be company. The name Arambys has its roots in Morocco, a name I discovered while I first researched The Kingdom of Morocco and its people for development opportunities.
I just love the name Arambys, it has such an exotic feel to it and is very cool to say out loud in my opinion, plus the name goes awesome when mixed with Anguilla, where we are also working on a few projects. (I actually went and immediately purchased the website, long before I ever even visited Morocco the first time).
Arambys was an ancient Carthaginian trading post near modern day Essaouira, Morocco. Carthage brings to my mind Hannibal, one of the greatest generals ever. Hannibal brings to mind his epic march of war elephants over the Alps, doing the unimaginable and seemingly impossible. I hope that someday our Arambys performs such remarkable feats within our industry of influence.
I found an elephant depiction on the web that I thought was pretty cool, and modified it. It had a straight trunk as depicted above on the left. Thankfully when Leslie got a hold of it she added her artistic flair, of which I have none, and curved the elephant’s trunk in the manner you see in today’s logo. Perfect, I told myself.
As far as the year established, Established 2013 or incorporated yesterday afternoon didn’t sound too impressive, and was definitely not representative of the few centuries of collective experience of Team Arambys.
I put a small alpha with a capital Omega as the established date, symbolic of Old Testament references where God states that he knew us before mortality (the alpha) and the capital omega symbolic of our potential to be with God again, as referenced throughout the Torah, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Koranic writings, and other holy writ.
The A characters in Arambys are in the XII Arabian font introduced to me by Ron, fitting Morocco’s Arabic ties. The other letters are in the Hurculanum font, named after one of the cities wiped out along with Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted leaving all in ashes (Pompeii was also a cool family trip of my youth). These Roman cities reminded me that Rome eventually opened up a can on Hannibal, hence completing the Circle of Life referenced in The Lion King, one of my favorite animated movies and Broadway shows.
The Lion King reminds me of another of my favorite paintings, where two lions are pictured harassing a majestic elephant without success. Such action also reminds me that these mighty elephants sometimes get their ears bitten by the attacking lions, hence the bite out of the Arambys Elephant’s right ear, representing its ability to endure through and overcome tough trials. (Now if you do not consider being attacked by a lion a tough trial to get through we need to talk… I’ll even share with you my experience of encountering a male lion on foot in the wild).
Elephants of course remind me of Africa and my surreal safari adventures in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Elephants also remind me of one of my all time favorite paintings of an elephant walking out of a cloud of dust that I saw in Provo, Utah around the year 2000 that has impacted my senses in a way few other works of art have. I hadn’t been able to discover the artist or relocate the painting until recently. Noah, displayed herein to the left with permission, was painted by Dave Merrill, with whom I was blessed to be able to speak with over the phone recently (May 7, 2015). To me the emotions that Noah evokes are beyond awe-inspiring.
To me the elephant is all about nobility, stamina, enduring, endurance, its beautiful mind, wisdom, bridled power, brute strength, being an instrument of both war and salvation, and acting as vessels on many an expedition and adventure.
So, I came up with a rough design of the Arambys Elephant, and started sending it out to a select few who formed my focus group, many of who were probably confused why they were receiving elephant logo images with a request for their opinions on them.
Comments from the focus group on the developing logo were numerous and humorous. Originally the Arambys Elephant had no eyes, just the sockets, which Markay said looked like death when the logo was in black. Markay didn’t think the company should be associated with death and frankly I had to agree… I quickly agreed. We added eyes which gave it a soul.
On the other extreme Jill thought, and still does, that the logo, when in full color, looks like a circus logo. Well, if our logo conjures up memories of a festive circus that’s great, I just hope there isn’t a peanut allergy associated with that memory. One of our resort slogans is, Come See How We Play, so perfect I figure.
The trunk of the Arambys Elephant, as mentioned above, was originally pointing straight down, which Leslie quickly kiboshed, thankfully during the earlier stages of the focus group. The focus group also expressed that the three pyramids were too busy for the logo so I knocked it down to one pyramid (as depicted to the right) and then none, as seen in the official Arambys logo below. Of course you can see that the pyramid was preserved and reincorporated into the corporate seal, which was created by Savannah.
Anyway, back to the logo, the red and green colors are Morocco’s flag colors.
The parchment scroll/banner reminded me of when I received the land title scroll from the Saudi prince I had POA for on some Red Sea property. The scroll was at least 12 feet long showing the title chain back hundreds of years, very cool.
Below the banner I wanted a corporate motto for the logo that summed up succinctly what we did as a company, and that was provide innovative solutions. We are problem solvers and more importantly project solvers providing a unique array of innovative solutions within the broad expanse of our field of expertise.
So with a little polish thereafter by Leslie… Voila, what we have today.
The focus group consensus was that even one pyramid made the logo too busy, so I have an official version with and without the pyramid.
Going back to the corporate seal, I had shared with Savannah that I wanted an old school lithograph feel, with the elephant, sun, and pyramids incorporated into it. When she gave me her first two drafts shown above, I was like a kid in a candy shop, unable to decide which one to go with, so we incorporated aspects from both to come up with the official corporate seal shown here to the right.
For the motto on our corporate seal I felt it needed to transcend our corporate work and represent what we aspire to, what we are becoming, and what we had become as individuals making up the corporate soul. I had always liked the Dieu et Mon Droit (God and My Right), the motto of the Royal Arms of Great Britain, since I was a little kid. As I pondered the nobility I felt Dieu et Mon Droit had always echoed in my mind, I wanted an original motto that was truly Arambys’ own and matched the message of what we convey as a company… Trust. A Trust earned after years of being tried and tested while in the service of some of the biggest industry names in some of the most sought after locations. Hence, Trusted By Those Most Trusted.
Now as mentioned above, the return to WatersMark is a tale for another time. As far as the logo story goes though, it was but a natural transition to marry the original WatersMark Swish (the stylistic WM logo created by Ashley Johnson… one of the most brilliant interior designers of all time I might add… and add I do) to the corporate seal along with the WatersMark name (original name taken taken from Waters, my wife’s maiden name, and Mark, the visible and indelible impression resulting from one’s influence upon an activity.
I just had a little fun with it, as you can see. Brent