When considering a name for the political blog I intend to start, I was careful to stay away from "watchdog" sounding names; that's not the approach I want my blog to take. I wanted something more suggestive of a "lighthouse" or a "beacon" while avoiding the obvious cliches that spotlights, light bulbs, candles and lighthouses have become. To me, "starboard lights" carries the right amount of symbolism, while still being a fresh and unique name. I want a logo with the same traits -- symbolic, fresh and unique.
Since the blog will be primarily political, a patriotic (U.S.) theme seems appropriate, but I want to avoid obvious and uncreative imagery such as the U.S. flag, Liberty Bell, map outlines, etc. The name "starboard lights" opens nautical possibilities, which I think invites some opportunities for creativity.
When choosing the name starboard lights, I had a concept of my own for a logo: I originally pictured a three-quarter view of a ship making waves as it travels through water. On closer examination, the ship was suggestive of a star, and the waves suggestive of stripes, as if from a U.S. flag. I liked the concept, but I was unable to draw a suitable rough sketch. I could make waves that doubled for wavy stripes, but I could not make a ship suggest a star, and yet still look like a ship. I still like the concept because it would effectively tie patriotic imagery to the nautical theme, but unless carefully crafted, I fear this idea would break my no-cliche philosophy. I think the concept has potential, albeit with modifications. (Perhaps abandon the star? Incorporate a star somewhere else?) This is why I'm turning to you. Whether you can take my idea and develop it, or prove an original concept of yours to be better than mine, I'm all for better ideas.
If you have ideas of how to illustrate politics without using "patriotic" elements, I'd love to see designs that incorporate those ideas as well.
As an aside, this logo's primary purpose is in the header of a web site, but in the future I might have a need to use it on cards, shirts or such. So my preferred format is Photoshop files with images large enough to provide good resolution at larger sizes. Illustrator's cool, too.
If you have any questions, please ask. I will check the progress of the contest frequently, and respond quickly to any questions.