History of the ASM logo

by Nick Morton.

The ASM Logo has changed considerably over the years. Early ASM publications from the 1920’s and 30’s had no logo on them at all, yet some form of the Logo must have been in existence at that time. Publications only listed the name of the society.

1945 saw a nice clear version of the logo appear. The logo here has many of the traditional points. It has the words “Australian Society of Magicians”, the sphinx and the pyramid (symbols of mystery) and the card suit symbols. It is superimposed on a map of Australia, however it says “Victoria” at the bottom and the map highlights Victoria and Melbourne. This is a nice clear logo, but it didn’t stay around for long….

1947 saw the logo replaced on the cover of Magic Makers with this hand-drawn version. It is suspected this change may have had more to do with the reproduction methods of the time, with the editor finding it easier to redraw the logo than try and copy the original.

1949 saw the logo replaced again. This version dropped the card suits and the word “Victoria”, reduced the size of the sphinx and moved the writing outside of the actual logo. This version of the logo stayed on Magic Makers through to the mid 1950’s. At some point Magic Makers underwent another facelift, with the familiar “Rabbit and Kangaroo” masthead being introduced, and the logo seemed to disappear entirely again. It must have still been used on official correspondence however.

In 2001, a new masthead was designed for Magic Makers, and the logo was included back in the footer. This version almost replicates the original logo with the words and card suits back, although “Victoria” has been replaced with “1907” the year of formation of the ASM. Unfortunately, the copying of the sphinx over the years reduced it to an almost unrecognisable blob. The logo was coloured with the original colours to take advantage of cheaper colour printing.

To clear up the sphinx, the logo was redrawn by ASM member and artist Brian Pleasants in the mid 2000’s. The logo was much clearer and cleaner, and reproduced well. However there was a fundamental problem with the logo – it had hardly evolved over eighty years and it’s symbolism failed to resonate with a new generation of members. There was also very little on the logo to reflect the fact that the club was Australian, other than the wording.

In 2010 magician and graphic designer David Schaak was commissioned by the committee with the task of coming up with a new logo. The brief given to David was equally simple and impossible. “Create a logo that is bold and modern but at the same time reflects the history of the club and its prior logos”. The result was a logo that is a magnificent symbol for the ASM. The new logo carries forward the past, with the wording and card suits retained. It is uniquely Australian with the map of Australia and the Southern Cross, and it is bright and colourful, reflecting the advances in design and publishing now possible. The new logo will proudly carry the ASM into the 21st century and beyond!