The Story Behind the CANVAS Logo

Ella Ponizovsky Bergelson and Lou Cove

When I (Ella) was asked to design the logo for CANVAS it was explained to me that this new funding collaboration would target the “Jewish cultural renaissance” — a new generation of artists that are exploring and creating innovative ways to preserve and reimagine Judaism and Jewish identity, making them relevant and meaningful for the times we are living in. CANVAS aims to provide support to these creators as well as to allow more individuals and organizations to access arts and culture as a way to connect to Judaism.

As a mirror to this approach, I decided to use Niqqud to graphically symbolize this vision. In Hebrew orthography, Niqqud (נִקּוּד) is a system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels or distinguish between alternative pronunciations of letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In modern times Niqqud is seldom used, except in specialized texts such as dictionaries, poetry, or texts for children or new immigrants, as a helpful tool for those learning to read.

Without the Niqqud, one would have to be familiar with many of the words to be able to read them.

As CANVAS provides tools to create and access contemporary Jewish culture, making it possible and approachable, so does Niqqud to a Hebrew text.

The Hebrew transliteration of CANVAS looks like this:

Working from the type, the letters are removed, leaving only the Niqqud — presented as brushstrokes and representing a ghost of the word CANVAS:

We then pulled out the Kamatz to stand alone as an icon for CANVAS. The Kamatz, which corresponds with the sound AH in CANVAS represents the joy of discovery: Ah!

The image is deliberately crafted by hand rather than digitally rendered, and is off balance just a little, one part balancing upon the other in a dynamic expression of mutual stability. This represents the precarious nature of the work we, as artists do; the precarious nature of Jewish artists and culture in general; and the interdependence between artists, audiences, and patrons.

For the typeface, we selected Pauza, a font designed by Fontef, an independent Type Foundry in Tel Aviv that allows us to present in both English and Hebrew:

We value the contrast between the elegant modern lines of Pauza and the more organic nature of the Kamatz which, together project our reverence for the past and all that we inherit as Jews, and the future we imagine being designed by the artists of today… and tomorrow.

Ella Ponizovsky Bergelson was born in Moscow, immigrated to Israel in 1991, grew up in Jerusalem and currently lives in Berlin. She speaks, reads and writes several languages. Her own hybrid identity drives her to explore cultural self-definition in individuals and in communities. In her work she explores manifestation of migration and integration processes through text and the visualization of language.

Lou Cove is CANVAS’ founder. Learn more about him here.

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