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50th Anniversary: OPS Logo
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The Origins and Evolution of the OPS Logo

Timothy J Bennett, CRA, OCT-C, FOPS
Ditte Hess, FOPS
Johnny Justice Jr, CRA, FOPS

 

In the mid ‘70’s the OPS was quickly growing, both in membership numbers as well as stature in the ophthalmic community. A professional journal was in the planning stages as well as an official OPS display for the AAO Scientific Exhibits to help promote the organization to physicians. The OPS leadership recognized that a society logo could be used to help solidify the organization’s identity. Up to that point there wasn’t an official OPS logo although some simple font designs and artwork appeared in the OPS newsletter and on membership certificates.

The ophthalmic photography staff at Cullen Eye Institute of Baylor University in the mid 1970’s included OPS Founder Johnny Justice Jr, and OPS members Ditte Hess, and Barrett Walker. They collaborated on the development an official OPS logo. Building on a previous concept of including a camera aperture as the iris of an eye, the group looked for a photogenic eye to use as a background for the artwork. Johnny first suggested that Ditte’s eye could be photographed for this purpose. Ditte then recommended that they photograph the eyes of her friend, Sally Mahan Woody, who worked at Baylor in the medical illustration department. Ditte felt that Sally’s eyes were particularly photogenic with her long lashes.  Barrett took some external photos and handed them over to the Baylor medical illustrators. Barry Baker created a stylized illustration of Sally’s left eye adding a photographic lens aperture in place of the iris and pupil.

When contacted recently about her role as the model for the logo, Sally Mahan Woody stated, “This definitely brings back so many fun memories.  Johnny was always trying new dyes and used to test them on me so when he wanted to use my eye for OPS it was fine with me and I considered it a compliment…. My left eye was used as I still have the little growth on my right eye that was never removed.”

The first use of the new logo was to help brand the OPS Scientific Exhibit at the 1976 AAO meeting. It was displayed prominently on column panels that made up part of the exhibit. It was used on the OPS T-shirts that were available for sale in 1977. The OPS newsletter adopted the logo as its header that year as well. 

A slightly different version of the logo was used for the Journal of Ophthalmic Photography beginning with the first issue in 1978 and running through 1986. It was the same design but also included Sally’s eyebrow that was cropped out in all the other versions. The aperture diaphragm was also reversed as a negative image The Journal switched to the classic version (a reversed aperture image and without a brow) in 1987.

In 2005, the OPS Marketing Committee chaired by Paula Morris set out to create a consistent, unified look to all OPS publications and the website. The marketing tagline: “Eye Imaging Experts” was adopted as part of the project. The logo design was also revisited to see if an update was appropriate. Some basic design ideas were solicited from different graphic designers.

 

At the committee meeting, Paul Montague talked about how effective the traditional logo was on signage used to help direct meeting attendees at our educational meetings. The logo was so iconic that the hotel staff at several meeting venues commented about how recognizable it was and remembered us when our meeting would return to the same hotel years later (especially the Chicago Sheraton as seen in the image below). After looking at several modern design concepts the decision to keep the traditional design was unanimous by both the Marketing Committee and the Board of Directors.

The graphics were cleaned up to improve resolution and a font was chosen to accompany the logo in different aspect ratios and orientation (horizontal and vertical) formats. In 2017 the OPS Board of Directors secured service mark designations for both the logo and the tagline “Eye Imaging Experts” through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

 

The special logo currently being used to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the OPS is a variation of the same design based on a photograph of Sally Mahan Woody's left eye. The logo has served us well for several decades. 

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