Taiwan's Academia Sinica creates ‘social distancing logo’

The leading research institute makes a serious point in a fun way after reporting 5 coronavirus cases

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Original logo and twisted logo (Facebook, Academia Sinica images)

Original logo and twisted logo (Facebook, Academia Sinica images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Academia Sinica, one of Taiwan's leading research institutes, has taken a light-hearted approach to advocating coronavirus prevention measures after reporting five confirmed cases last week.

It changed its Facebook logo Wednesday (March 25) to incorporate the idea of “social distancing.” Trimming social activities has been promoted by governments worldwide as one of the most effective ways to reduce COVID-19 infection risks.

The design of the institution's logo, created in 1999, features the English characters for Academia Sinica, the Chinese characters for “Central Research Academy” (中研院), the year it was established, oracle bone script, a graphic of electrons in orbit around an atom, and a double stranded DNA helix pattern. These intertwined images highlight the institute’s expertise in human sciences, physics, and chemistry.

The new, twisted logo sees space increased between each character, while the size of the symbols is scaled down to create distance and ensure they don’t “mingle with each other.” Personifying the elements of the logo, Academia Sinica amusingly announced the “year,” some oracle bone characters were asked to work from home, while the DNA helix and electron graphic were warned not to get too close to each other.

The humorous take on the logo design has attracted positive feedback and praise from Facebook staff at the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). MOHW oversees the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), whose work in spearheading the country’s response to the outbreak has been widely lauded.

The government of Taiwan is no stranger to employing unorthodox tactics to strike home messages to the public. One example is a campaign asking people not to hoard commodities like tissue paper due to panic buying, featuring Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) showing his rear end.