Classic Logos are here to stay

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, September 23, 2009

As a sometime graphics designer and former printer, I am always interested in logos. What is a logo, you may ask? Encarta dictionary says it is &dquo;an emblem by which the organization can easily be recognized.&dquo; Trademarks usually include logos. My favorite of them all is the Coca-Cola&rade; script logo, found on every one of their products, new or old. It had already been around for more than a half century when I discovered and appreciated its beauty as a child in the late 30s. I think it may have improved my handwriting as I tried time and again to duplicate its form and grace. I never came close, however.Over the years I have taken heart in noting that many artists have tried to draw it in their paintings of old general stores and such. Not one that I have seen has come close to the perfect symmetry and balance of the original. Their efforts remind me of my first attempts to learn to write after a few years of &dquo;printing&dquo; individual letters, supposedly vertical. I salute the Coca-Cola graphics people who have preserved this beauty for more than a century.Another that influenced my handwriting early is the Ford Motor Company logo. I have tried all my life to make a capital &dquo;F&dquo; as beautifully curved as the one in that elliptical trademark, now back on everything Ford makes. I forego the pig&squo;s tail curlicue on the cross stroke that makes it an &dquo;F&dquo; rather than a &dquo;T,&dquo; but I really try for that flowing sweep of the top stroke. And there is no way to make an &dquo;r&dquo; like that . . . but that is part of the art and artistry of logo design.I don&squo;t know how my grandfather, T. A. Rippy, learned to write, but his lowercase letters were so illegible that he said he could not read his own writing &dquo;after it gets cold.&dquo; His signature, however, had a &dquo;T&dquo; to rival Ford&squo;s &dquo;F&dquo; and flowed into a more than artistic A and R.&bsp; Now consider the florid script of the General Electric Company logo, simply GE in a circle. I could never get close to the perfection of that one, either. I had admired it first on our big old refrigerator and saw it often in the magazine ads for the company&squo;s variety of products . . . now even including jet engines for airplanes!I have already mentioned (in &dquo;A Filling Station to Cherish&dquo;) another favorite, the oval &dquo;Esso&dquo; trademark that matches the shape of the rear end of the tanker trailers that we followed everywhere when it was current. I did not figure out that &dquo;Esso&dquo; stood for Standard Oil (phonetic &dquo;S.O.&dquo;) for decades! So much for my being &dquo;smart.&dquo; And I won&squo;t comment on the atrocious &dquo;Exxon&dquo; that replaced it!A good logo must be simple and memorable, and preferably unmistakable. It does not even have to be a word to say it all. Everyone knows the Chevrolet emblem shape! Another masterstroke of logo design.There are many other logos worthy of mention, but this is a column, not a book. I hope you will appreciate my choices and not be upset that I missed yours. You may call me and tell me about them, if you want. I&squo;d like that: 828-894-2505.

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