Why the stripe?

Prismatic Humanities Institute stripe with ASU Maroon, Gold, Pink, Turquoise, Grey and Black arranged in dynamic bands

Stripes have a vivid history.

In the European context, until early modernity, they were predominately associated with incarcerated persons, jesters and musicians.

In 14th-century Venice, vertical stripes in fashion signified freedom and excess, eventually circulating transnationally to inspire Baroque libertines like the Marquis de Sade.

With the emergence of what the historian Eric Hobsbawm famously called the "age of revolution," horizontal stripes entered into an iconology of political radicalism, extending the promise of ascendant democratic institutions.

More recently, from experimental designers like ODMO—the "All-Union House of Fashion Design" that led haute couture in the Soviet Union—to Paul Smith—Britain's most significant contemporary designer today—colorful stripes suggest vibrant energy, the multi-dimensionality of color and a sense of possibility that emerges whenever one "embraces the new."

Today, (HI), the Humanities Institute at Arizona State University deploys our own synthesis of this design history in concert with our own reimagining of the stripe with the full vivacity of ASU's color palette, dominated by our beloved Maroon and Gold.

We do so alongside the Turquoise that is indigenous to the geology of our state and that powerfully appears in Diné (Navajo) and adjoining indigenous cultural-aesthetic practices; Copper, as salient to the histories of extraction and possibilities of sustainable futures in our region; and Pink as a seemingly impossible presence in Sonoran sunsets activated in the color spectrum when our abundant sunlight meets scant moisture in the air, as well as the cacti flowers we will soon see bloom with the turn to spring.

December 2023