Canada’s youngest province is home to a lot of beautiful things such as majestic mountains, lush forests, colourful houses, puffins, whale watching, and icebergs floating along the coastline. And Signal Hill, the site of a historic radio experiment conducted over 100 years ago which, as a podcaster, has a place in my heart. I am speaking, of course, about Newfoundland and Labrador, which is now also home to a new stuttering association.
The seeds for the Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association (NLSA) were planted when my friend, Greg O’Grady, who raised thousands of dollars for speech therapy scholarships in Toronto and St. John’s via his founding and organizing of “A Million Things I Want to Say” 1k/5k Walk & Run for Stuttering Awareness events, gave a presentation on his life as a person who stutters to the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (NLASLPA) conference in 2018. Shortly after the conference, Greg was contacted by Michelle Delahunty, MSLP, R.S-LP Registered Speech-Language Pathologist, who was in attendance, suggesting that they work together to support the NL stuttering community. They hosted a public meeting to identify barriers and gaps in services for and community needs of people who stutter which resulted in planning a conference to be held in St. John’s on November 2, 2019 with a Speech-Language Pathologists Educational Day on the preceding day.
When I had received an email from Greg informing me of the newly formed NLSA and upcoming conference, I immediately wanted to help. I can’t help it, I always get excited when I hear about a new stuttering association or conference. So I offered my design skills and Greg gave me the go-ahead to create a logo for the NLSA.
Seeing that the NLSA Facebook Group cover photo was of an iceberg, I thought I’d use that a starting point for the logo design. Why an iceberg? an iceberg is a very popular icon in the stuttering community as it references the Iceberg Analogy of Stuttering created by Joseph Sheehan in 1970. In his book, Stuttering: Research and Therapy, Sheehan wrote that “Stuttering is like an iceberg, with only a small part above the waterline and a much bigger part below.” The small part above the waterline is what others see when they see us stuttering. The repetitions in speech, the blocks, and secondary movements such as blinking and stamping our feet. Below the waterline is all the emotional feelings going on that nobody sees. The fear of being judged, the shame of speaking funny, the anxiety we feel, hopelessness, isolation of being the only ones we know who stutter, and the list goes on. This part of the iceberg is larger because, well, all those emotions play a big part in our lives.
One of the ways I grew less fearful and more confident in my stuttering was by meeting others who stutter through stuttering associations such as the Canadian Stuttering Association and National Stuttering Association in the United States. And thanks to digital technology like social media, I have made friends with many others who stutter from all over the world. That certainly helps deal with the isolation part underneath the iceberg! And knowing that you aren’t the only one in the world who stutters sure helps with the other items underneath the iceberg. That’s why I get excited when I hear about a new stuttering association or conference.
So with this famous analogy and the fact that icebergs float down the province’s coastline drawing tourists from all over the world, you can see how much an iceberg fits really well with a logo for the NLSA. Working with the NLSA team, the iceberg evolved to have more depth to signify the emotional component of stuttering. Hence the light and dark shades of blue adorning the top and bottom portions of the iceberg respectively. The focus on the depth of the iceberg also fits well with the NLSA’s mission of providing “Advocacy and Support for People Who Stutter”. I also ensured the colours had enough contrast for people with colour contrast issues by using tools that test accessible ratios.
I thank Greg and his team members for giving me the opportunity to work with them to create a new logo for the NLSA. I hope I can make it to the conference in St. John’s! Details will be posted on the NLSA website and on the NLSA Facebook Group.