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Wisdom and Identity Lab

Designing a logo for the Wisdom and Identity Lab at the University of Toronto involved reflection on the cross-cultural roots of wisdom. This design reflects cultural artifacts of wisdom and identity, and was designed for usage across digital and print platforms, in either dual-colour or monochromatic formats.


The Wisdom and Identity Lab is situated within the department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Their research focuses on wisdom in cross-cultural contexts, tramismission of wisdom in education and family settings, resilience and growth though adversity, and the development of personal identity, with an emphasis on special populations such as clinical populations (e.g. ADHD, autism) and the LGBT.


The lab's unique research focus made this project especially fulfilling. The logo needed to be recognizable for both research participants and other professionals to recognize the focus of their work. Ideally, the logo should contain the lab's initials, 'W' and 'I'.

Logo Design
Adobe Illustrator

One Lab, Two Aspects

To represent the Wisdom and Identity Lab's unique research focus, I drafted two logos: one with simpler shapes for a modern look, and the other with a distinctive illustration to reflect the lab's distinctive research topic. Both logos contain a hiddne monogram of the lab's initials, 'W' and 'I'.

Lotus & Candle

This logo features stylized shapes represnting a lotus flower in bloom and a candle, both frequently used in cross-cultural wisdom literature to represent growth, wisdom, knowledge, and enlightenment. Together, these shapes also symbolize the 'w' and 'i' of the Wisdom and Identity Lab's initials.

Lotus and candle

The Face of Wisdom and Identity

This logo features an original illustration inspired by drawings that use negative space to conjure optical illusions of a face hidden among trees. I used this image to represent notions of identity and personal growth, which abound throughout wisdom literature.

The tree-face looks down into swirling waters, because self-reflection is another common aspect of wisdom. Water, an everchanging substance that exists in all three states of matter, and indispensable to growing life, is another apt symbol of wisdom and identity.

The face of wisdom and identity

The lab's initials 'w' and 'i' are hidden in the top waves of the water, and to tie together the two halves of the illustration, the dot on the 'i' is a leaf falling from the tree. This may also symbolize the loss or transformation of parts of one's identity through processes of self-reflection and self-development.

Lastly, these symbols are contained within a circle, to symbolize both the circle of life and ideas of resurrection/completion that sometimes arise in different wisdom cultures.