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Our Zentangle Logo

Our Zentangle Logo

From an email:

“One of my students asked about the Zentangle logo. Where does it come from? What does the logo mean? 

“I heard from one of my CZT [Certified Zentangle Teacher] friends that it was inspired by a Chinese character "" which means "mouth", but it means also "enter". And Rick and Maria wanted to show "the enter of Zentangle" with the logo...? Sounds really beautiful but I'm not sure if this is correct or not.

"I want to tell my students the correct information and would greatly appreciated it if you could help me with this question."

Thank you so much for asking because the answer makes for a great story.

Throughout our Zentangle experience, synchronicity and serendipity have guided and informed our choices. The story behind our logo is an excellent example.

When we began Zentangle, one of our nephews worked for a web design company and we asked them for help building our website. They asked us what we had in mind for a logo. We described our fondness for the Asian chop with its bold, traditional, red color. The “chop” is a carved stamp that serves as a signature or seal in many East Asian cultures. You will often see it on artwork and documents.

Here is an example of a personal name seal:


Our nephew’s designers offered several suggestions. We chose the empty square drawn in brush strokes. The traditional square format matched our original square tiles. We liked the idea of the empty square because it suggested that it is up to the individual artist to define what to put on the tile.



Years later, in familiar Zentangle synchronicity, we discovered that our logo resembles the Japanese character which means “mouth” (as in the mouth of a cave), or “opening,” or “gateway.” We later learned that there is the same character with the same meaning in Mandarin.

Our logo is empty because the value of an opening is the emptiness it offers. Our logo’s emptiness offers no suggestion of what you should discover or imagine; it does not suggest what you should create.  Our logo is an invitation to enter within to connect with your own imagination and allow it to flow forth in the form of your own unique creative expression.

Thus the creative man knows himself to be a “mouth,” through which passes what has arisen in his innermost earthen night. — Erich Neumann

If someone had told us sixteen years ago about the life changing benefits that would accompany a Zentangle practice, we would not have believed them. But after years of feedback and experience, there is something going on which is worthwhile to notice.

The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is to unlock and release again the flow of life into the body of the world. — Joseph Campbell

This flow does not need force. In fact, force does not help. You only need to allow that portal, that to open. Then imagination and creativity flow automatically like water from an artesian well. An artesian well is an underground body of water that will flow out under its own pressure if it has an opening. Many springs are natural artesian wells.

Just as with an artesian well, with the flow of one’s own creativity:

  • once accessed, flows of its own accord
  • what was blocked, is released
  • its flow washes away obstructions
  • you are inspired to trust in your self

Knowledge knows him who pours forth as a spring. — A.M. Rilke

To feel creativity flow from within and watch it manifest through the pen in your hand and onto physical paper is a kind of miracle. For many people, this is the first time since childhood they have made marks that aren't pre-planned, programmed or judged. This is a first step as you learn to trust the validity of your own imagination and your own creative expression.

The creative and the spiritual are of the same space and the same energy when they derive from a person’s authentic experience. Together they provide a basis for deep fulfillment. — Jon Rappoport

A Zentangle practice offers an opportunity to change the story you tell yourself about yourself. That can be enough to release a logjam of unhelpful routines and patterns. We hear so many stories of health benefits that result from a Zentangle practice. I think it is related to the free flow from within of imagination and creativity . . . all through the opening of heART that our logo suggests.


Your questions can be good inspirations for future blog posts. If you have a question, please ask it in the comments below.

Rick Roberts


  • Dear Rick and Maria,

    Your inspiration and gifts know no bounds. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for “acting” on your musing that day all those years ago when your first instinct was to SHARE your bliss with the world. 😘

    Tracie on

  • I love the simplicity of the logo. It feels so rich.

    SAndy Nee on

  • Dear Rick, thank you so much for your intriguing answer. It’s a beautiful logo, but the story how it came to life is also very interesting and inspiring.

    Beatrice on

  • Thank you for this beautiful explanation of the Zentangle logo — and for everything that you share so lovingly. I have so much gratitude for all that you are……

    Candyce Anderson CZT 15 on

  • What a lovely post. I’ve done a lot of contemplating about the relationship of spirituality to creativity. “We are the stories we tell ourselves”, also speaks deeply to me. The fact that Zentangle can be a tool to alter that story in a positive way, continues to be a blessing to me – again and again. Thank you for your wise words.

    Leslie Barr on

  • Many thanks, Rick, for this thorough explanation. I’d heard pieces but not the entire thing. All of Zentangle feels like it’s the result of some type of magic charm.

    Devin on

  • Thanks Rick… always wondered about that unique square. Now we know! Hugs to all @HQ!

    Heather Toswell on

  • Wow, thank you, Rick! I loved the explanation about the logo. How special to hear about your discovery of 口 out of thousands of Japanese characters!! No wonder I instantly felt the connection between Zentangle and my inner world even at the first try!! Sometimes, it is beyond description how Zentangle influences in so many ways through my life journey. It is so profound. I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.

    Kaori on

  • Thanks, Rick, for this lovely explanation of the Zentangle logo, as well as the origin of the chop. I am continuously amazed at the serendipitous evolution of Zentangle, and its power to transform, as well as connect, so many people around the globe.

    Jake on

  • Wonderful insightful creation of the logo – so much meaning – many thanks for this continuing support to know the peace from Zentangle creations.

    Alice on

  • Thank you for the history of the logo and the wonderful quotes. Great information to pass on to my students!

    BB Langston CZT34 on

  • Love learning this! Inspirational!

    Sue Sharp on

  • Thank you for this knowledge. It allows for creative energy to flow in and out of the heart.

    JFE on

  • I like the reasoning behind the logo choice. It’s perfect !

    Jackie on

  • Joseph Campbell. I used to stop whatever I was doing, to watch his lecture series on PBS tv, when I was just a wee grasshopper! Read all his books. Gave away a lot of his books to friends. He’s one of my heroes. Thank you for this blog. Nice to be reminded of those memories. Maybe this explains my reason for wanting to become a CZT, in the first place.

    MKay B B Watson CZT17 on

  • Such Inspiring, heartfelt words that mean so much to so many. Thank you!

    Marjorie Emy Goosen on

  • Thank you for this explanation! It is meaningful! That symbol represents many lives changed by your actions. You must feel so honored by that symbol! Congratulations again and again! Love to all!

    Katrina Thiebaut CZT 22 & 32 on

  • … and yet another reason to love everything about Zentangle. At this time Z has been especially uplifting. Thank You All!

    Kathy Y. on

  • Exquisite wisdom and beauty within these penned words. Thank You all for WHO you are!

    Promise Smithson on

  • Wow! A logo that has grown with Zentangle! You have given me lots to contemplate. Thank you!

    Paulette KIrschensteiner on

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