I remember during a trip to Korea, my aunt invited me to visit an ancient Buddhist temple in the mountain. It was without a doubt the swastika was an ever present symbol throughout the entrance, doors, floors, and lanterns. I do not think it is too hard to find a swastika mark represented in an old art book or in mythology and many different cultures throughout the world. It is one of the oldest symbols of mankind “that predates the Egyptian ankh (symbol for ‘life’)”. When the Nazis used the swastika symbol for their evil ways they stained it forever and now most people believe the swastika symbolizes Nazism and evil. However, people do not know that the swastika has been around long before Hitler and the Nazis; and for many centuries been a symbol of peace, joy and good luck. Hitler and the Nazis distorted the meaning of the symbol and its very long existence and harmed cultures and backgrounds all throughout the world.
Symbols can change over time such as the iron cross, Celtic cross, pentagrams, and stars. And as graphic designers it is important to realize the education and history of design in order to communicate a clear message to the audience. Graphic designers must appreciate design matters and become familiar with the nature and impact of visual communications such as powerful logos like the swastika. As graphic designers we must become aware of the impact designs have on the world and what visual language is being used to convey the message. Designs can produce different economic and social benefits and consequences. Just as Hitler stole the symbol of the swastika from mankind and used it for his evil ways against humanity for many years, I believe the symbol still has power to redeem its beauty and mysteriousness and place itself back to where it deserves among other great symbols in history.
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