I designed the Honno logo in 1986, just after returning from a year in Australia. In a weird sort of a way, I had Aboriginal art and its use of symbolism in mind. I started to unpick what Honno meant: a simple female, direct word. I began by exploring Celtic art and thought about how I could use it, but also make it contemporary. I spent hours making little doodles, showing them to Anne Howells and Rosanne Reeves (two of Honno’s founders).
I wanted it to be visually striking and not too fussy. At its heart is the little owl. I chose an owl because it had resonance in not just Celtic mythology but was a symbol for Athena in Ancient Greece: the bird of wisdom. I also wanted to resurrect Blodeuwedd from her banishment to the night by Gwydion. Blodeuwedd also stands for rebellion rejecting her forced marriage to Llew Llaw Gyffres. Blodeuwedd, like Athena, is also a goddess, clever and resourceful: becoming an owl was in the end, not a problem: owls are hunters, they can see in the dark.
The little owl sits upon one of the oldest of human images, the tree of life. It is found across the world, from Wales to Iran to Indonesia to Australia. It stands for life through knowledge and knowledge through life. I love it as it is not tied to any religion, it is about being human. Finally, I was inspired by the sound of the word ‘honno’, it reminded me of the call of the owl: hoo, hoo, twitawho. I’m so proud that the logo has survived for so long and privileged to have been part of the birth of Honno.
In 2017 Honno rebranded, with a redesigned logo – keeping the elements of the original, but giving it a more contemporary look. Marketing Manager Helena Earnshaw wrote about the process and reasons behind it in the Honno blog.