An idea board with images and feedback about elements I like here:
Feedback to help designers:
Question: What is the style/feeling you'd like the logo to transmit to the viewers?
* my main thing is when someone sees the logo I want them to involuntarily say 'wow'. That's always been a benchmark for me.
* it needs to convey feelings of calmness, intelligence, academics -- but yet a feeling of fun attached to that.
* audience is North America, so I need a look that's familiar to a North American market.
Question: Are there certain symbols you'd like to see incorporated? Or even symbols you'd absolutely refrain of?
* well symbols Id refrain from are simple, basically low quality 'cheap' symbols that convey cliche meanings, like:
a key, a crescent, a star, a moon, a door, a swoosh, any faces and eyes, an arc << totally not my taste.
As for symbols, I find myself gravitating to logos in this contest that do have a symbol attached to it. (Other contests I might have been more inclined to more text base, but here I'd prefer symbol attached)
Bottom line: do what YOU think looks wow. I've noticed that designers that follow my instructions too literally tend to design things for 'me', rather than what they think looks good professionally. And the result is to no ones liking.