Why Cancer Samurai?
Everyone fights for beliefs, passions and loves. Cancer patients may seem accepting. We are NOT! Cancer treatments wear us out and beat us down, but every cancer patient is fighting for life. Fighting for life brings a Samurai-like coda that includes: telling the truth, valuing experience, loving friends and family immediately and well, summoning courage you didn't know you had, learning to ask for help (cancer is a team sport), honoring strangers fighting to save your life (and anyone else), creating justice (righting wrongs) and looking for ways to serve and be humble (even and perhaps especially if this is not a natural or well practiced trait).
Cancer Samurai is about hidden trails, secret strengths, evident courage and a guiding loving way. The Cancer Samurai logo should capture the fighting spirit cancer patients, their friends and family share daily. This is an eastern "fighting", a quiet, strong relentless fight that is its own reward. Every cancer patient's fight is won. We win by getting up, aspiring and living. We win by being.
How do we capture the Bushido warrior grace of those fighting cancer, their friends and families and the strangers who are bent over microscopes and computers trying to defeat an old enemy? How do we create an emblem, a symbol of our universal fight for love, magic, courage and honor?
I wrote a post recently about Why We All Have Cancer (http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2011/09/why-we-all-have-cancer-and-its-all-good.html ) sharing important ideas for the Cancer Samurai logo. Chances of facing a cancer challenge in a lifetime are roughly 1 in 2 (men) and 1 in 3 (women). If 50% will face a cancer challenge directly the other 50% are their caregivers, friends and families so everyone is a Cancer Samurai some are more aware of it than others :). The key design point is the logo needs to speak a universal language. It can't be seen as exclusive to cancer. Young, old, man, woman, rich, poor and fearless or fearful don't matter. We are all Cancer Samurai.
My vision for the use of the Cancer Samurai logo is still forming, but there are two clear immediate uses: products and as a trust mark. We will immediately develop ready-to-wear products (t-shirts, polos, caps, jackets, socks, shoes) seeking partnerships and licensing to extend product reach. We will also use the logo to identify "cancer products" such as toasters (important during chemo because toast is the only thing you can eat), Swifters (easier to clean when no energy) and outstanding supporters (Cancer Samurai of the Week awards to outstanding people, organizations or companies).
Fighting vs. Quiet
The rough example I've attached shows a Samurai in aggressive warrior stance with a sword. I like the idea of this image better than its reality. Cancer is the fight of your life, but you can't win with brute strength. Winning requires changing your life's patterns, ideas and habits. Winning requires letting go of the idea of winning. I think this is why I've selected Cancer Samurai as the "house" brand for the Cure Cancer Store. I want our products to speak to the courage it takes to fight differently, to fight even when there may be no "winning" or nothing we would have identified as "winning" before cancer. There is a bold, quiet majesty in a chemotherapy ward. There are Samurai there. You can feel it.
I realize I've created inherent design contradictions. Cancer Samurai is a logo that splits large differences such as quiet yet strong, fighting yet loving, bold yet humble and wise yet curious. Cancer survivors know life is a graceful and delicate balance between opposing forces. This is a universal truth, a truth we all know, but cancer survivors feel life's contradictions up front, in the moment. Life is here, but its opposing force is near too. If, when someone sees the Cancer Samurai logo, they feel strong even if they were sure their last ounce of strength and courage were long gone then we've done our jobs. Then we are Cancer Samurai.