If you have spent any amount of time on the Black Triangle website or social media, it is no surprise to find out that the guy behind the brand has some creative tendencies. Much of my life was spent doing graphic design. While I was never a graphic artist by trade, I found myself doing designs and layouts for either my own bands or for others. Where I find trouble with expressing words, I am most at home expressing my creativity through visual art.
I have somewhat of a fascination with visual symbolism. Whether it is a secret society, terrorist group or a corporation, I want to know the deeper meaning behind what my eyes are allowing me to see.
When this brand was conceptualized, I wanted everything visual to have a deeper meaning than what was in front of the viewer. The name itself had to be distinguishable and easy to remember. Having been in more than one horribly-named band, I understood how critical the name itself was to the success of branding.
What is the meaning behind Black Triangle?
I think the only times I have answered this question have been on Instagram story Q&A’s, so here it goes… The upside down triangle is a nod to the US Army textbook (FM 7-8) Infantry patrol base. I spent much of my military service as an Infantryman (11B) and I wanted to pay respect to that community. The triangles are mostly Equilateral, however some designs such as Black Summer, depict other triangles.
The black represents the inability of the casual observer to see what is on the other side. The nature of our products are based on maintaining a low signature without compromising defensive capability.
The Black Triangle name is not based off a strain of marijuana, a UFO, or World War II.
Black Triangle Penrose logo
The Penrose logo was the first logo I made for BT. I took elements of the flag of Virginia (wreath and spears) and fused them with other symbols. Virginia is home and the flag has some pretty epic visual characteristics. Here is a breakdown of the symbolism:
All-seeing eye: situational awareness/eternal vigilance of our end users.
Spear facing up: defensive nature of our products
Spear facing down: offensive nature of our products
Penrose Triangle: striving to achieve the impossible
I’ve been messaged on several occasions by people accusing this logo of being either the Illuminati or having pedophile undertones. I regret to inform that the Penrose logo represents neither.
I grew up on punk and hardcore. My first tattoo was the Black Flag bars. Although my musical tastes have evolved, the do-it-yourself mindset and aversion to authority is still very much alive in me. The daggers themselves originally had no deeper meaning other than being aesthetically pleasing. The logo was first displayed to the public with the tips pointed upward. Embroidered patches were made and sold. People began brandishing the patch with daggers pointed up and pointed down. After being in the stream of social media for a bit, people started to to inquire if there was a meaning behind the orientation. Being the symbolist I am, I sprung into action and gave them meaning that was relative to the brand.
Colonel Jeff Cooper developed a color code to represent the different stages of awareness and readiness.
Yellow-aware but relaxed (the absolute minimum state we prefer our end users to practice)
Orange- Alert to a potential threat
Red-engaged in physical combat or another emergency
Black- panicked, frozen and shut down
The daggers oriented up represents levels yellow and orange-always at the ready. Daggers oriented downward represent levels orange and red-actively looking for the threat or engaged. All of our Jiu-Jitsu/grappling gear shows the daggers facing down because if you are wearing our rash guard, you should be fighting someone.
I try to inject meaning behind all of our visual art. Sometimes its obvious, sometimes there are little Easter eggs that require further inspection ;)