The original Roycroft logo was trademarked by Elbert Hubbard in 1906. Its inspiration comes from a symbol used by monks in the middle ages at the end of their illuminated manuscripts, signifying "The Best I Can Do Dedicated to God." The double barred cross and circle was used by the Roycroft artisans to identify their handcrafted, high-quality arts and crafts products. Hubbard inserted an "R" standing for "Roycroft" and inside the circle, and began placing the logo in highly visible spots on the artisan's products. The logo would be carved into handcrafted furniture, affixed to leather goods, or added to certain patterns used on china and glassware. The Orb trademark came to signify the Roycroft movement, and products carrying the symbol were determined to be authentic, high-quality, handcrafted Roycroft pieces. Today these items with the orb and single "R" are highly collectable and usually quite valuable.
In December 1976, Rixford Jennings changed the design of the mark to incorporate two "R's" back to back signifying the Roycroft Renaissance. The cross arms of the orb on one side point down to signify the early roots from Elbert Hubbard, while the other side points up to indicate growth and progress for the future. This new mark is used by the Roycrofters-At-Large Association (RALA). To become a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan, an artist must submit his or her work to a jury comprised of all Master Artisans. Only artisans whose work exemplifies the following criteria are awarded the use of the double “R” mark:
- High quality hand-craftsmanship
- Excellence in design
- Continuing artistic growth
- Originality of expression
- Professional recognition
An artisan must be juried annually, to demonstrate continued excellence and growth. If the work is shown to be exceptional, the jury may elevate the artist to Master Artisan status. When you see the double R mark on a piece of work, be assured it was made with the highest standards and quality. To learn more information about becoming a Roycroft Renaissance artisan or joining the Roycrofters-At-Large Association please click to visit the RALA website. <http://www.ralaweb.com/>