Selecting the Balyolu Logo: A Vision of the Mind

Esref Armagan filming the VOLVO-S604 web campaign (courtesy of

Over the last few months, the Balyolu has faced many challenges, and one of our biggest is this: what will our logo be? A logo is your story, the face of your company, and the image that everyone will remember when they think of your idea. Balyolu wants to be a new perspective; on business, the environment, beekeeping, and tourism. We want to be a company that inspires others to think, to taste, and to imagine. It is a loaded vision for a small logo.

But I know of one artist who challenges people to see beyond a picture, and instead compels us to use our senses and our minds to discover the possibilities of the world in which we live. That man is Esref Armagan. Esref is an artist who paints with his hands, and the person I wanted to design our logo.

Today, I received 24 beautiful designs for a Balyolu logo, crafted from Esref’s own fingers.

But how?!

It started three years ago, I was age 22 and I met Esref’s manager, Joan Eroncel. Joan is a Colorado native, born to the rocky mountains and the unbeatable blue skies of the continental divide. When SHE was 22 (over 40 years ago), she moved to Turkey, fell in love with the Bosphorus and although she has returned to the states here and there, Turkey has become her home. When Joan and I met, there was a click. We were fiery foreigners who loved to speak Turkish, explore ancient neighborhoods, and laugh over Turkish idioms. Joan enchanted me with stories of traveling to Baghdad by train, teaching English in Erzurum, and both guiding and being guided by visionaries in Turkey who could see without their eyes. Esref was Joan’s colleague, her inspiration, and the subject of many incredible stories of being the manager of a blind artist. No one can tell Joan’s journey like she can, so I highly encourage you to watch her video below.

Joan has been a role model and a pillar for me for years. When I returned to the states in tears, devastated to leave Turkey, Joan always jumped on Skype to tell me comfortingly that I would be back. She has been my guide when Turkish culture turns my world upside down, my motivation when I wanted to lock myself in an apartment and read the Hunger Games all day instead of board a plane to Kars, and one of my closest friends.

And in support of Balyolu, which she has encouraged me in creating over all of this time, she kindly requested of Esref to help us with our logo.

Thank you both for your energy, your brilliance, and your spark. You both disrupt the status quo, challenging everyone’s ideas of what is possible. In picking one of Esref’s logos, I hope that Balyolu can live up to such a high standard.

With that, I our dear readers to help us pick the new Balyolu logo. You are free to combine, mix, and match any of the Esref’s work here. I challenge you to look closely, many of the bee’s wings are B’s for “Bal,” and many of the stems of flowers represent the Y for “yolu.” The moons are for Turkey, the paths are to represent the nomadic trails of the northeast. The circles are the dark cavernous entrances of ancient karakovan hives. Each logo asks you to use your imagination, to think beyond the lines into a creative mind, into what is possible.

Comment below this post with your favorite number or number combinations, and any additions or ideas that come to your mind.

And if you would like to learn more about Esref, I highly encourage you to watch the videos below, and check out Esref’s Website. He is truly one of the most talented Turkish artists of our time.

Finally, thanks to all of you for your standing by Balyolu though-out this adventure, and helping us make this choice. We are excited to see what you select!

Discovery Channel’s Extraordinary People, The Artist with No Ideas: Esref Armagan – Extaordinary People

Volvo’s 2011 Internet Campaign: A Car You can only Imagine – 2011 Volvo Campaign with Esref

Turkish WIN,  New Beginnings: Joan Eroncel – Joan Eroncel, New Beginnings

About Cat

Catherine de Medici Jaffee is a National Geographic Young Explorer, a Fulbright Scholar, a Luce Fellow, the Founder of Balyolu: the Honey Road, and a lunatic about honey culture in the Caucasus. Raised on a farm in the Colorado Rockies, Cat grew up loving animals, dirt, and altitude. Her dedication and passion for animals, agriculture, and women leaders has launched her across the world as a Luce and Fulbright scholar: to raise Aigamo ducks in Japan, to research yak trade caravans in Sikkim, and to study rural women’s migration in Turkey. In particular, Turkey - with its fish hung like laundry from windows, its 9,000 species of flowers, and its delicious honey - continues to lure Cat back to its borders. Cat’s love for Turkey, the mountains, agriculture, and women’s leadership blend together sweetly in her new venture Balyolu and her blog Inspired Beeing. You can most frequently find her jumping on a mountain, running from angry bees, cooking in villages, hitching on dirt roads, or joking with Turkcell about her internet woes. Cat is joined by her partner in crime Claire Bangser, artist, photographer, writer, and globe wanderer who believes in creative storytelling as a way to powerfully connect people across mental and physical borders. From working with small-scale women farmers in Mali, to documenting peoples' lives along a 2,000 mile bike tour in the US, she finds that every person (and bee) has an important story to tell and much wisdom to share (speaking of Wisdom, Claire just published her first book, Ride Somewhere Far. Check it out on our Link Roll). These days, you're most likely to find Claire upside down, yodeling from a mountaintop, making tragic mistakes in Turkish, or eating meat for Cat.

Posted on January 13, 2012, in Bees Keep People, Business, Culture, Inspired!, Pop Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. 8’s my favorite. (Hi Cat!)

  2. I like 8 too, and also 13.

  3. 20,23,12

  4. these are really great! I like (in order):
    #10 (but you have #16 written under it, which I think is a typo)


  5. Hi Cat,

    I like #9 with maybe Bolyolu written on the path
    I also like the bee in #18 and the path in #15. So maybe make the bee in #18 smaller and move to the left with the path in #15 to the right and add some mountains along the path. Maybe try it with and without the star and have the path merge into mountains. Maybe with Balyolu written along the path. Or maybe the bee in #10 (turn to face the other way and smaller) and headed up the path in #15 that merges into mountains.

  6. I like 14, 5 or 6. I can see #14 on a letter asking for funding.

  7. I really like #8 and #13 – I think adding the star of Turkey gives you that ‘essential’ place. Love that you took Esref Armagan’s work and put it out there for all of us to see. Thanks Cat……

  8. Bees are amazing. My father had many apiaries and I was lucky enough to help him during my childhood. It fostered a profound respect for both bees and my father and later, a fondness for mead.
    I like the bee in image #18.

  9. I like #13. as it represents (to me) the journey of honey in Turkey that has passed and will continue.
    I suppose that whatever logo is chosen, it needs to be something that is easy to print and will be easily recognisable and identifiable as Balyolu.

    Thank you for allowing input from other people who are sharing your journey

  10. I’d vote for 13 or 19… 19 would be super cool if the yellows of the bee and the hive are bold and beautiful. You rock Cat (and Esref!).

  11. 7 or 18 are beeautiful ;-)

  12. Thank you all!!! After a few weeks, we have created a Adobe Stylized version of #16. It wasn’t the most popular vote (#13 was one of my favorites too)… but this one just came together. Thank you again Esref! The story is up on our site here:

  1. Pingback: BALYOLU: The Honey Road « Theattitudequeen's Blog

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