The Circle Squared Logo

Mad Mathesis alone was unconfined,
 Too mad for mere material chains to bind,

Now to pure space lifts her ecstatic stare,
 

Now, running round the circle, finds it square.[1]

The next time you see a bicycle take notice of the emblem on the head tube, this is the brands badge. The head badge represents more than the character of the individual bicycle, it represents the image of the manufacturer and the persona of its leaders. Take a look at that bicycle again. Chances are great that the head badge will be painted on, representative of the proud head badge tradition, but speaking to modern manufacturing efficiencies, cost reductions, and expeditious deliveries.

I had just finished reading Carl Jung’s “Man and His Symbols”[2] and was simultaneously laboring over head tube dimensions that would strike the perfect geometric balance between rake and trail[3] for a frame I was designing. To break from the technical, I envisioned the badge I would use on the head tube. Staring at the angles, notations, and patterns in front of me I saw my perfect badge in these two juxtaposed shapes. I sketched the design above onto a drafted head tube. In Down East North Carolina, on a blistering summer day in 2010, Circle Squared was born.

The meaning behind the symbol came later. Jung would have said this was to be expected when archetypical imagery is drawn from our collective unconscious. At the time of inception I knew nothing of this ancient geometric problem. Squaring a circle is the challenge of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle in a finite number of steps using only a compass and straightedge. Squaring a circle to perfect accuracy is impossible and was proven so in 1882. This is because pi is a transcendental number and is not the root of any polynomial with rational coefficients.[4] The challenge was solved by an unbound mind that observed the impossible is quite possible when pi is rounded off to a specific decimal place. This realization transformed the beauty that I observed in my simplistic design into a raw and emotive passion for what it now represented, for what I represented, and for what the company that I would go on to create would represent.

What you see above is not a square, it is a rectangle. The black bounding box represents our limitations, both those accepted and imposed. The red circle is in fact a circle and symbolizes the fire burning in our minds. It presses against all four sides of the box intent on finding unbound freedom. The achromatic background inside the circle is our minds purity. Outside the circle it is the bleak void of activity contained within the box, a brutal juxtaposition of freedom and slavery.

What started as a head badge has evolved into my mandala and guides the Circle Squared companies. Being part of something Circle Squared requires the will to shed your bounds and reject those that are imposed. We define our black box and we do so with precision, because it is within that space where we must work. Circle Squared companies are creative and we will always strive to operate inside the white space of the circle. We are vigilant of the void in the four corners and we know that fortification of the mind’s fire is the best way to keep that void where it should be, within our control and outside of our mind.

The head badge of a bicycles frame is on the leading edge of every adventure. It boldly professes to all, the coming of its presence. This is our head badge. May it humbly guide us into your next impossible situation.

Will Conkwright

September 2015

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dunciad

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_and_His_Symbols

[3] http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/forklengths.htm

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squaring_the_circle