The design of the logo dates from 21st February 1958, when professional designer and conscientious objector, Gerald Holtom first created it. Holtom later explained the very personal genesis of the design:
I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it.
The symbol also combines the semaphore letters ‘N’ (both arms to the side at 45 degree downward angle) and ‘D’ (one arm held vertically up, the other vertically down), forming the initials of Nuclear Disarmament.
The various nuclear disarmament coalesced into the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, (CND) founded in 1957. CND adopted Holtom’s symbol as well as the Aldermaston march, which it organised yearly. Many anti-nuclear groups and peace activists around the world have adopted the logo, which has become known widely as the peace symbol.