` Skip to main content


Visual language, pictographs, images, and photographs have been around for a long time. As a former language arts teacher, I have studied language development and I’ve studied how to teach children to read and write.

I had not studied how images developed to represent businesses. I know that images are a big deal when developing a business brand. I’m sure all of us can immediately recognize certain brands.

What comes to your mind when you think of this?

In my mind’s eye, I see the bright yellow arches. I also see the Penrose tribar that our board of directors selected to represent Mind Shift.

The puzzle piece is also an image that some people see when they think of autism.

Images that represent an organization or business are usually selected because they represent an idea.

Thoughts and ideas often evolve, and businesses and organizations may revise the original image to reflect these evolving interpretations.

The Influence of Visuals on Brand Identity

As Mind Shift revisits our mission and vision statements, we have also reflected on the images we use in our posts.

I’ve discovered that people’s views impact their response to an image. They can be impacted positively or negatively, and I want a positive impact!

The Intriguing Story Behind Mind Shift’s Iconic Images

In this process, I’ve investigated what the Penrose Tribar represents, as well as what the puzzle piece represents.

Why were these symbols selected?

I first looked at the history of the images. The Penrose tribar reminds me of the Mobius loop.

I remember the first time I saw one of my teachers demonstrate the Mobius loop.

I was so surprised to see how a simple twist of a strip of paper changed the outcome.

Mind Shift works diligently to help our candidates and our business partners see the world differently.

Mindshift Logo

The Penrose tribar, created by Oscar Reutersvärd in 1934, is a similar visual.

It is sometimes called the Impossible Tribar. It can be drawn in two dimensions, but it can’t be built in 3 dimensions.

There is mythic symbolism connected to triangles. We can see it in the Celtic Knot or the Trinity Knot.

The symbolism represents strength and unity and the trinity of mind, body, and soul; past, present, and future; earth, air, and water; thought, feeling, and emotion; and other religious trinities.

This symbol means so much more when the viewer considers all the implications of the drawing. It was a brilliant choice by our Mind Shift founders.

History of the Autism Puzzle Piece symbol

What is the history of the Autism puzzle piece symbol?

  • Created in 1963 and introduced by the National Autistic Society in 1963, this symbol has been used for just over 60 years.
  • Generations have seen this symbol. It was originally selected to represent the complexity and spectrum of the condition.
  • Over time, the view has changed. Some viewers of this symbol have begun to associate it with the idea that autistic people are often viewed as out of place or not fitting in.
  • This has resulted in some efforts to reimage a symbol to represent autism.
  • In actuality, this challenge does a good job of representing autism.
  • Autism is a spectrum, and it looks different in different people. There is no one-size-fits-all in autism.
  • There are different variations in all aspects of autism.

How can we reflect that with just one image?

  • It may happen in my lifetime. It may not happen now. I think one of the greatest values of the images we use to identify ourselves and the groups we associate with comes from the history of how these were selected.
  • Studying history and development, and reflecting on how things develop, grow and change is part of the beauty of this process.
  • I encourage you to research and reflect on what you observe. I challenge you to look carefully and take the time to understand each person’s perspective.
  • It is important that we understand each other and ourselves and imagery is a window into that world.


How does Mind Shift select the images used in its branding?

  • Mind Shift selects images that embody the essence of its mission and vision. The images are chosen to reflect key concepts such as innovation, transformation, and the unique perspectives of individuals they work with.
  • The decision often involves considering how effectively an image can communicate these ideas and resonate with both the community Mind Shift serves and the broader public.

What is the significance of the Penrose Tribar and the puzzle piece in Mind Shift’s branding?

Penrose Tribar:
  • This image is significant because it represents the impossible, reflecting Mind Shift’s commitment to thinking beyond conventional boundaries and exploring innovative solutions.
  • The tribar, a visual paradox, symbolizes Mind Shift’s approach to overcoming perceived limitations and challenges in the field.
Puzzle Piece:
  • Traditionally, the puzzle piece symbolizes the complexity and diversity of autism spectrum disorders.
  • Mind Shift represents the intricate and individualized nature of their work and acknowledges that each person they support is a unique piece of the broader community puzzle.

Can I volunteer with Mind Shift?

  • Yes, Mind Shift welcomes volunteers who are eager to support their mission.
  • Potential volunteers can contribute in various ways, including offering skills-based support, participating in community events, or providing administrative assistance.
  • Interested individuals should contact Mind Shift directly to find out about current volunteering opportunities and application procedures.

How can I support Mind Shift’s mission?

Supporting Mind Shift’s mission can be done through various means:
  • Volunteering: Contributing time and skills to support their programs and initiatives.
  • Donations: Financial contributions help sustain and expand their programs.
  • Advocacy: Raising awareness about Mind Shift and its mission within your community can help drive support and recognition.
  • Partnerships: Businesses and professionals can collaborate with Mind Shift for mutual benefit, enhancing their impact.

What is Mind Shift's mission?

  • Mind Shift’s mission is to leverage the unique talents of individuals with autism, providing them with training and employment opportunities that align with their skills and interests.
  • The organization aims to create a world where neurological differences are valued and where individuals with autism can thrive professionally and personally.