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Behind the Bird

The selection of a Barn Swallow as part of the James L. West logo was inspiringly intentional.

When selecting a logo, many organizations want something that solidifies their brand’s unique identity. At the James L. West Center, brand identity was important, but not as important as conveying the reason we exist.

Enter the Barn Swallow.

By now, you’re probably quite familiar with the bird in our brand image. You may or may not know that the bird is a Barn Swallow. What you also might not know is why we selected that graceful passerine in the first place.

“We had originally settled on a dandelion,” said Kristie Boiles, VP of Admin Support and Human Resources at the West Center. “However, we noticed that symbol was being used by someone else. That’s when the rich symbolism of the Barn Swallow was brought to our attention.”

Barn Swallows are known for guiding travelers safely home from their journeys. Another depiction conveys the bird guiding souls to Heaven.

“Dementia is a journey,” said James L. West President and CEO Cheryl Harding. “We accompany and guide families and their loved ones through that journey, so the Barn Swallow and its rich symbolism really fits perfectly.”

For more than 30 years, the James L. West Center has worked hard to be that guiding light for individuals and families on the dementia journey. As with every other aspect of our organization, our logo is purposeful and embodies our mission.

Here are some interesting facts about Barn Swallows:

  • They are the most abundant swallow species in the world.
  • They build their nests almost exclusively on human-made structures.
  • They often assist one another with feeding their young – a real community affair!
  • Legend has it that the birds got their forked tails because they stole fire from the gods to bring to the people.
  • The oldest known Barn Swallow in North America lived to be at least 10 years of age.