Quite a lot, actually!
Culture: (Anthropological def.) the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.
Crux: 1. A puzzling or difficult problem: an unsolved question. 2. an essential point requiring resolution. 3. used in expressions like “the crux of the matter” or “the crux of an argument.” 4. in English it is used to mean “the heart of the matter or issue” due to the close association between heart and center. The heart is where major arteries intersect (cross-connect). 5. From the Latin crux, crucis meaning “cross”, representing the humility of Christ.
I chose the name Culture Crux because the combination of the words concisely captures the focus of the work.
All people have culture. When we interact with people from different cultures, we often face puzzling and sometimes seemingly insoluble problems. The resulting discomfort and anxiety can cause us to judge negatively those who are culturally different and to take on an attitude of superiority. A superior attitude makes it impossible to learn about or interact with people who are culturally different in any productive or respectful way.
And so, at the heart of successful intercultural interactions is humility, an ability to accurately assess both strengths and weaknesses in one’s self and one’s culture. It is an ability to acknowledge mistakes, admit imperfections, and recognize limits to one’s understanding. A humble person is open to new ideas, contradictory evidence, and advice. A humble person does not see herself or her culture as the center of all things but rather as one of many. A humble person is able to see that however much wisdom and knowledge one might have, there are always limits to our perspectives. *
But what about the logo?
Why are the words Culture Crux written in such an odd way in the logo?
My designer gave me three options to choose from for a logo. I sent out those options to many friends and family and asked them to choose which one they liked best. No one actually voted for the logo that I ended up choosing though there were several comments about it. Some people thought it was too confusing. Another one said it was unclear. One person said it made her look twice.
So why did I choose it?
One of the letters in the logo is inverted, two of the letters overlap, the words blend together. The logo breaks language rules. It is a bit confusing and unclear at first glance but if you press in for a moment you can move through the confusion to understanding.
When we interact with different cultures, we are interacting with people who live according to different unspoken rules. It can be confusing. It can be uncomfortable because things are unclear. It takes more effort to interact with people who are culturally different because we can’t assume that we see the world in the same way or have the same values. In intercultural situations you often have to look again in order to understand what is happening. It is challenging to understand others and build relationships across cultural differences but it is possible.
I chose this logo because it creates this fleeting sense of confusion while at the same time demonstrating that one can choose to move through that confusion and discomfort to understanding and even enjoyment. I chose it because I liked the idea of having a logo that has a key aspect of intercultural competence development built right into it!
*June Price Tangney, “Humility: Theoretical Perspectives, Empirical Findings and Directions for Future Research,” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 19 , No. 1 (2000): 71.