Speaking of design, a couple years back I was asked by Decagon to create a logo for an instrument that measures water potential (the WP4, I think). Though there were dozens of concepts created, I was never able to design a logo that was a good fit for the instrument. Fast forward to present day, where I was asked to create a logo based on Water Potential itself. Not the instrument that measures it, but the concept.
Water Potential is, according to Wikipedia: the potential energy of water
per unit volume relative to pure water in reference conditions. Water
potential quantifies the tendency of water to move from one area to
another due to osmosis, gravity, mechanical pressure, or matrix effects such as surface tension.
Water potential is often represented as Psi, which is a Greek letter that looks kind of like a "w" with a tail on the bottom. Or an "I" with a "U" going through its center.
During the original attempt to design a logo for the WP4 I had all sorts of trouble. I can't really remember why. It was probably mainly because, at that point, I had very little experience designing logos or anything else for commercial agricultural applications. Since then, I've done multiple logos with that exact purpose in mind. That experience, combined with the fact that this ain't my first time to Water Potential Logo Rodeo, made this attempt a little easier.
I tried a number of approaches for the graphic element including the fairly obvious water droplet, a combination of water droplets whose negative space forms the letter "w" (it was pointed out to me that the droplets themselves form the letter "m" and make it look like "Mater Potential." Insert your own Freudian joke here), a gradient from brown to blue (soil and water), three circles with symbols representing the various applications of Water Potential (research, agriculture, food science), the Psi, and finally a series of arrow icons representing four of the factors that influence WP (osmosis, gravity, pressure and surface tension).
Though I liked the arrow icons as an idea, I liked the water droplets and the three circle logos aesthetically (the three circles are arranged to mimic a water molecule, btw). Once sent in for review, the arrow icons logo and the three circles logo were chosen. The second page is a series of variations on these two ideas.
Eventually a version of the arrow icons logo was chosen. I'm pretty satisfied with that. I'm not sure how evident it is that these icons represent the factors that influence Water Potential, but I imagine if you're one of the people visiting a website devoted to Water Potential, you're more likely to understand the reference than say, your average illustrator with a limited grasp on scientific terminology.