The development of the String Theory logo.


The shop used the brand colour palette for its decor.

Logo for String Theory Yarn Shop, showing a ball of yarn as a satellite

String Theory Yarn Shop

In the mid-1980s, when I was wintering at a youth hostel in Rethymnon, Crete, I met a graduate student who blew my mind sharing the topic of her research: string theory. What a great name for a yarn shop! It was a pleasure to come up with the logo.

The business owner wanted to create a playful brand that would appeal to all ages, not only the older generations traditionally associated with fibre arts. The fact that her Fergus, Ontario, location isn’t far from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics didn't hurt. I hope that her clientelle will include people who are as enthusiastic about knitting patterns as patterns of reality.

Once I had dismissed using the six-dimensional objects (or “branes”) associated with string theory as a springboard, I brainstormed other ways to suggest physics in an accessible way (and say “fibre arts”). I figured anything that suggested outer space would do it – and I found a great visual metaphor: A ball of yarn with two needles looks like lot like an early satellite.

I drew the path of the satellite as it leaves our planet out of yarn, using the universal Fibonnaci spiral, which organizes natural forms from snail shells to galaxies. I also used this spiral as a guide to position all the planets in our solar system.  For extra science-geek appeal, I was determined to fit all the planets, plus the Sun and Moon, into the logo, and still keep it uncluttered. (Pluto, now demoted, and the asteroid belt didn't make the cut.)

I used the retro-futuristic typestyle, Future Bugler Soft, for the wordmark.

String Theory Yarn Shop opened in October, 2020. It’s right on the main drag. Drop by to ground your string theories into practise if you get a chance!


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