Heidi Kneller, the force behind Spirulida, is an optimism infused juxtaposition of complementary opposites. She is a mechanical engineer for an aerospace company. One of her passions is exploring the wonderful ways nature solves problems and applying what she learns to technical challenges, both at work and otherwise. She loves to be outside taking pictures, playing with words, and traveling to places most people don’t know about. She believes every day has the potential to be great, but a few so far that really stand out for her are scuba diving with a leopard seal in Antarctica, diving with a humpback off Clipperton Island, overlooking the fjords from an unnamed peak in Hornstrandir, waking up in the shadow of Machapuchare, and stalking pygmy elephants in the Borneo.
What’s in a name?
Spirulida comes from an order in biological taxonomy for cephalopods (think also octopus and nautilus). The Spirulida order is one with a single, still-surviving species, an intriguing little deep sea critter called the spirula spirula. This little gem is still very much a mystery due to the depth at which it lives, but it has several features that make it fascinating. Its shell, while spiraled like many shells, is different in that it is planispiral – the coils do not touch each other. Among other things, the shell is used for buoyancy control and is very strong, yet very light. Unlike the octopus, spirulia spirula have eight ‘arms’ but also include two, slightly longer, tentacles, all of which have suckers. It also has an organ on its mantel that can emit light for several hours. Heidi fell in love with the mystery surrounding this creature, its aesthetic, its relationship to other cephalopods, and the fact that it emits light using bioluminsecense.
The layers in the logo – I see elephants where’s the Spirulida?
The logo’s many spirals are an abstraction of the shape of the shell of the spirulida spirula which, is the only still-surviving species of Spirulida, an order of cephalopods. The multiple spirals are also an acknowledgment of that shape, which is so strongly present in nature and aesthetics. The fact that several layers of spirals within the logo were also able to represent the first letter of Spirulida was convenient. Heidi’s strong love of the ocean and all the diversity of life it holds means she often draws inspiration from it, thus the spirula spirula was a fitting muse.
Another animal that has always been special to Heidi is the African elephant. It brings back fond memories of her childhood growing up in rural Africa. As a lover of nature, Heidi wanted to be as inclusive of its diversity as possible. This logo allowed her to reference a large range in scale – from the petite, aquatic spirulia spirula to the grand scale of the African elephant – as well as the diversity of land and sea and the special places where they meet. The elephant’s trunks presented a synergy of spirals which was overwhelmingly compelling and the reflected symmetry is a nod to the yin-yang symbology in Chinese philosophy which can be said to celebrate the dynamics of resilient natural systems and the power of complementary opposites working together, or juxtaposed.
Logo design by Heidi Kneller