The ‘Bomb Squad’ is a life-saving unit falling under the Special Operations division of the New Zealand Defence Force. It operates both within New Zealand and overseas, defusing bombs, disposing of ammunition, and clearing paths for troops in combat zones. This was, to our knowledge, the first time a design and branding agency had been asked to create an insignia for a New Zealand military unit. We were specifically asked to come up with an identity that was aspirational, team building and told a story about the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). Working with the Commanding Officer of the NZSAS, we developed a logo that was part of the SAS family, using the dagger emblem but replacing the SAS’s winged sword with a Fairburns Sykes dagger, and flanking it with two Maori guardians or Kaitiaki. These guardians also represent the archangels St Michael and St Gabriel, one a force for war, the other a force for peace. This fulfilled another part of our brief,
to be able to communicate the values of the EOD no matter where in the world the unit was posted to. The two archangels are important to the Muslim faith as well. Like the famous SAS “Who Dares, Wins” motto, the EOD’s “Into Harm’s Way” is both a personal challenge and a claim to exclusivity. When an area under threat of explosion is cordoned off, the line which is established can only be crossed by the bomb’s diffuser. Crossing the line is called proceeding “into Harm’s way”. This illustrates the great deal of personal courage that is needed to be an EOD personnel, and the degree of self-sacrifice where every day on the job brings new dangers and technical challenges. It is truly an elite unit comprising the forces’ best and bravest, and perhaps the only one in Special Operations that comes into contact routinely with everyday society.