Monday, April 19, 2010

What’s with the hammer?

“What are you building at work?” my boyfriend asked me one day.

I had no idea what he was talking about. I don’t build things. I write.


“Well, your logo has a hammer. So, what are you building?” he asked, smiling snarkily. He was teasing me, but I suppose it’s a reasonable inquiry.

As WCSU moves forward and spreads our message across campus, many will have the same question: What’s with the hammer?

Obviously not everyone with a working class background does construction work. But many working class jobs involve physical labor that the hammer represents.

It is also emblematic of the do-it-yourself ingenuity of the working class. Hey, if the car-TV-toilet-washing machine-bookshelf is not working, you fix it yourself.

Maybe you can’t afford to call out for help, maybe you’d rather just spend that money on something else, or maybe you’ve got the skills or the determination to figure it out and take care of the problem regardless of your ability to pay for it.

It’s unlikely (never say never) that I’ll ever have to swing a hammer to earn a living, but I embrace our logo because it is emblematic of the work so many people I know do or have done regardless of their race, gender and educational achievements.

Contemporary working class jobs are moving toward the service sector but the hammer honors working class history and reminds the campus community that not everyone has or even wants the sort of career that a university trains you for.

In creating a logo for WCSU, we found it a nearly impossible task to create a logo that encompasses the diversity of working class identities. The hammer, and the delicate flower within it, represent the strength and perseverance of the working class.

If the task of representing all working class identities were up to you, what sort of imagery would you use?