Logos serve as a distinct visual signature for people to easily recognise an organisation. Glancing at a logo can immediately fill your mind with images and feelings associated with products, companies and their ideals and values. Yet logos can also have layers of meaning that we are often unaware of. For example, what I thought looked like a yellow smiling face underneath the first part of the words “amazon.com” is really an arrow that signifies the broad range of retail items available, from A to Z. Another is the Apple logo. Apparently the bitten apple represents the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Associating products with the fall of man may seem more than a little sinister to some, but it doesn’t appear to harm Apple’s image. As the work of the Mozambican Association of Christian Lawyers (AMAC) grows it is important that they are identifiable and their values are also known. Each part of AMAC’s logo represents a principle or an issue that the association is involved in. Two semicircles symbolise Mozambique divided into two groups, the rich and the poor. Inequality exists in society and so one semicircle is raised above the other. The rich are privileged, have access to resources and can easily access justice. Yet the poor are marginalised and vulnerable. These are the people who cannot afford the price of access to justice but who suffer the most injustice. Between these two groups, the Christian cross intervenes. God’s vision of justice brings equality and balance to society, and to represent that the cross in AMAC’s logo bears perfectly balanced scales upon its cross beam. Cross and scales combined bring together the most distinct symbols of Christianity and law to show that members are both Christians and lawyers. The Christian lawyers of Mozambique are dedicated to developing an association that promotes access to justice for the poor, vulnerable and marginalised people in Mozambican society through the provision of legal aid, legal education, research and studies, attempting to rebalance the scales in an unequal society. They have adopted the verse Isaiah 1:17 as their maxim, ‘Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow’.
Colours can also show the values and vision of a group or reinforce a sense of identity. AMAC have adopted for their colours the familiar combination of red, white and blue. Red represents the fraternity, or brotherhood, of lawyers who together follow Jesus. Blue represents the freedom that comes with faith, and how that empowers the Christian lawyers to serve others. The cross that connects these is in white. These colours are now emblazoned on the door to AMAC’s office here in Beira. Painting the door red, white and blue attracted a number of quizzical looks but it lends the office a distinctive look and it serves as a reminder of AMAC’s values and vision. The transformation of the office, situated in an old church building, was quite remarkable. Over the course of two weeks many members of the BMS team collaborated to smooth and then paint the peeling walls, decorate doors and window frames, relay crooked floorboards, and lay a new floor covering. The office is now functioning, with the BMS legal team and Isaque Bonga, AMAC’s first employed lawyer, working in it.
As we initiate projects and become more active in the community we are aware that first impressions are important. AMAC members have a vision and values by which they wish to be identified in their work. As with other organisations they want to build a recognisable trademark. Still, a fundamental difference remains. AMAC does not exist to build a loyal consumer base and make a profit. AMAC exists to promote access to justice for the poor and services provided, like the grace of God, are completely free.