What's in a logo?
Discover the story behind the spiral.
In December 1990, a search began for the perfect logo to
symbolize Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Various motifs were
considered by a committee consisting of Museum staff, trustees and
The outcome of this concentrated team effort is the existing
Fernbank Museum of Natural History logo featuring a spiral.
Why a spiral? The spiral is perhaps the most ubiquitous pattern
in nature. Consider the double helix of the DNA molecule, a
fingerprint, the conch shell Nautilus, the swirl of a hurricane and
spiraling galaxies. These are just a few examples of a pattern that
is always within view when you know where to look.
The rotation of the earth dictates the clockwise spiral of
whirlpools and cyclones in the northern hemisphere and the
counter-clockwise movement in the southern hemisphere. Goethe
described the spiral as the symbol of life; and indeed, from the
miniscule virus to the tusks on the mammoth, the fronds of a fern
to the Milky Way, the inventory of spirals is endless.
The open-ended curve of the spiral gives a sensation of
continuous motion. In almost every case, unrestricted growth
becomes a spiral.