Dagara Wheel

THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF A SYMBOL

CHALLENGE: Malidoma Somé has written many books that share the intriguing story of his African Dagara culture of which the cosmology of elements are central. The challenge was to express 5 core elements usually seen as distinct colors, in black and white for the inside pages of his book.

SOLUTION: Images of the 5 elements were abstracted into patterns and formed to create a cohesive icon representing each direction. The design was so striking that a color version was then commissioned.

RESULTS: The Dagara logo in the book created instant awareness and was also used to promote Malidoma’s events. It then spread like crazy. It was designed on wedding announcements and ceramic bowls. It was adapted for labels and brochures to promote African foods. Shrine making kits based on the symbol helped promote Dagara ritual and harmony. Finally the symbol was used on t-shirts, posters and framed art prints to promote events that raised funds to construct over 20 water wells in Malidoma’s country. The symbol has proven to be quite an effective way of attracting funds and awareness for the Dagara people.