After the 2021 ReCover Campaign—the most successful in the history of the North Carolina Writers’ Network—and after more than 90 e-mails, three Zoom meetings, and couple of phone calls, everyone involved could agree on one thing at least:
The big red pen would remain.
For decades, the NCWN logo has included a red fountain pen, the nib exposed and ready to write. That pen has become an immediately recognizable symbol of the Network, guiding creative writers across hotel lobbies and college campuses to the classes, readings, and workshops that for some have been life-changing.
“With this update of our logo, we had some discussion about whether we ought to update the pen, too,” NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern said.
Southern said that he and others involved in the update talked with their graphic designers about replacing the fountain pen with a ballpoint pen, or even a stylus, as well as changing the color.
“In the end, though, we decided that the red pen was too eye-catching, and too long-associated with the Network, to replace,” Southern said, “and that the fountain pen reinforced the timelessness of so much of what we’re trying to do, the literary virtues we’re trying to promote.”
The artists at Web Solutions, the firm handling the update of the Network’s logo and its website, did give the red fountain pen a more streamlined and abstract form.
“I think it’s a nice balance, showing the value of both the past and the future,” Southern said.
The updated logo had a “soft launch” at the NCWN’s 2022 Spring Conference, appearing without fanfare on some of the signs, posters, and other printed materials. The logo now appears on the Network’s website, its weekly e-blast, and its social media profiles.
“The premise of the ReCover Campaign was that the Network’s story was as strong as ever, but it needed a new binding and dust jacket,” Southern said. “That strained metaphor was our way of saying we needed a new look, a new visual identity for the new world of the 2020s. This update to our logo is a large part of that: a new design that says we’re moving forward, but that big red fountain pen that says we’ll never forget our past.”