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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 community advisors.

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.