“Did you know Dante Alighieri fought as a knight in battle when he was young?”
This question was put to me by my graphic designer friend Matteo Gullà, after having read an excellent new biography on Dante.
In 1289, when the Florentine poet was around 24, he took part in battles against the neighboring cities of Arezzo and Pisa, which were staunch political opponents of Florence at the time. This idea of a young Dante riding a horse into battle sparked a conversation, and little by little an incredible series of symbols and meanings started going into what we are now proud to present as our new logo!
Although we were fond of our old logo (an open book with the colors of the Italian flag), we felt it would not fully represent what we have grown into. In particular, it wouldn’t symbolize the ups and downs that we’ve faced, and the perseverance required to carry on our mission as booksellers and promoters of culture.
We needed a new symbol, which carried within it three guiding principles of I AM Books: passion, resilience, and italianità (our unique Italian touch). These principles are represented by the stars in our new logo.
Those same stars are what Dante sees when he crawls out of the Inferno alongside Virgil. Dante writes, at the end of the Divine Comedy’s first cantica: “E uscimmo a riveder le stelle” (And we came out to once again see the stars). The starry sky is the first thing Dante sees. It is a vision that brings back hope in the poet, after the despair and desolation he witnessed throughout his journey in hell.
So, in a way, you could say the knight in our new logo is Dante. But I prefer to see the knight as a broader representation of our bookstore, and perhaps independent bookstores in general: we are defenders of ideals, of literature. This bookstore-knight is sustained and supported by the strength of literature, but more importantly by all those who believe in bookstores as centers of culture.
Speaking of support, we are pre-selling t-shirts and tote bags with our new logo to raise funds for our re-opening efforts. If you’d like to help us out, please consider buying one (or more!) items. You can click here to view the wide range of colors and different styles we are offering. All pre-orders will be shipped by the beginning of September — just in time to show off your I AM Books gear before our re-opening! You can also make a donation in any amount through Paypal at this link.
Well, valiant bookstore-knight. Show us what you can do! Sempre avanti! Always forward!
– Nicola Orichuia