Archive for April, 2009

St Marys School Fundraiser

Logoson April 13th, 2009Comments Off

St Marys is a private Christian school. Every year they have a Gala event to raise funds for the school. The theme for this Gala was the beach and the dress code called for resort wear (as opposed to tuxedos). I developed an icon of the palm tree with a halo that was used throughout.


Gala Program Book

Say it ain't so Jack!

Uncategorizedon April 11th, 2009Comments Off

Jack in the Box is a west coast fast food chain. I’m based in Orange County, California and I happen to have one that is a block from my office. So yes, I go there somewhat regularly (usually after surfing) and their food has gotten significantly better over the past 10 years.

Like some other big brands, Jack in the box has just completed an overhaul of it’s visual identity.

Here’s the old logo:

Old logo

Old logo

Now here’s the new logo and adaptations:

New logo on a cup

New logo on a cup (photo: flickr user: danielgreene)

New logo on building (photo: flickr user dlassotta)

New logo on building (photo: flickr user dlassotta)

My gut feeling about this new logo is that it feels so….generic.

That’s not really a compliment.

Let’s take a look. The script text is pleasant. I keep studying the “k” in Jack to see if there is a face in there somewhere. The tail of the k definitely looks like a smile but then I run into a dead end looking for a brilliantly hidden eye – but find nothing. Maybe I’m just missing it? What ‘s strange about this is that there is no continuity from this smile (if that’s what it is) and the great brand ambassador “Jack” from the commercials. His is a smiley face smile that is very geometric. So there’s a disconnect.

Jack from TV!

Jack from TV!

The part that bothers me the most is the forced integration of the “in the box” underneath, or in some cases beside, the logo mark. It looks like an afterthought and that they struggled with a place to put it. On the building sign above they were forced to create another box (the grey box) to contain the logo and the “in the box.” So it ends up being a box within a box.

In the end, the brand has always been “Jack in the Box” and has not been abbreviated naturally by customer usage. Like how McDonalds is now Mickey D’s to some people. Jack, the commercial spokesperson, is meant to be the personification of an actual jack-in-the-box toy. Brought to life as it’s confident corporate ambassador. As wonderful and effective as this TV personality is, it will one day run out of juice and the public will grow tired of it. Like the McDonalds clown, whom we kept getting force-fed even though he’s creepy and outdated. This logo is now focusing on the personality “Jack” and away from the full name “Jack in the Box.” This feels like a logo solution that will have a short shelf life.

As usual, my 2 cents! :-)


A Farmer & his Tractor

Uncategorizedon April 2nd, 20094 Comments

Stephen Skibinski was my grandpa. A stoic man of Polish heritage. He had an enormous farm outside of Grand Island, Nebraska where he grew corn, barley and wheat. He had many horses and legend has it that he had the largest Pinto farm in the nation. So big that Ford was going to film the original Pinto commercial on his farm until a snowstorm changed the plans. He also had cattle, pigs, chickens, a large farmhouse and a towering barn. A kids dream.

When I was young, we would spend summers there. I was often put to work around the farm and in the fields. I most clearly remember helping lay new irrigation pipes, baling hay and plowing fields. I recall a time that my Grandpa tried to teach me how to drive a tractor. A vivid memory because this was a big responsibility. The tractor was an Allis Chalmers model. I believe it was this model; the WD.

Allis Chalmers WD

Allis Chalmers WD

My grandpa had two tractors. The Allis Chalmers model was the smaller and quicker tractor used for light jobs. He also had a John Deere. This was the big and powerful tractor for the serious farm work.

I remember our conversation, my grandpa and me, that sunny Nebraska day while he was showing me around the deep red Allis Chalmers. He was reviewing how to shift and work the clutch. I was probably 7 or 8 years old and had NO idea what he was talking about. I pretended to understand.

He didn’t normally display much passion for his tractors. But I do recall something that he said during that same conversation. His voice trailed off, he got a sparkle in his eye and he revealed his desire for a new John Deere Combine. He didn’t go into detail, he never did, but he said that he really would like one of those.

To know my grandpa he was certainly not status-minded. The John Deere products were considered to be powerful and dependable. They were certainly more expensive. And yet this green and yellow work of American ingenuity was not just a simple farm machine, it was a symbol that he had arrived. That he had achieved a level of success and could be proud. 

This is one of my earliest memories of the power of a brand. That John Deere had captured this farmers imagination.


John Deere 720

 John Deere has gone on to become one of the great global brands. The signature green and yellow color scheme has become so attached to the brand that you could see just these two colors together and think of John Deere. To their credit, they have used this consistently since the 1920′s. Consistency is the bedrock foundation of a brand.


John Deere ad from the 1920's (courtesy of

 What is also remarkable is that this consistency also applies to their logo. Here is a random sampling of the John Deere logo starting in, get this, 1876!


John Deere logo from 1876


John Deere logo 1968

John Deere logo 1968


John Deere logo today

Notice that the earlier deers were in their “landing” stride and the new adaptation is “leaping” showing progress and forward energy. A wonderful touch that is still consistent with the brands history. All adorned with the tagline “Nothing runs like a Deere.” They don’t get much better than that.

John Deere & Company has grown far beyond its agricultural roots to include residential, commercial, golf, construction, forestry and beyond. They even have significant and collectible toy following. Always a good sign when kids want to buy toys of your products. All in green and yellow! 

I’m not sure what happened to the Allis Chalmers company. It certainly has a fond place in my heart. But it’s clear today, as it was back then, nothing runs like a Deere.

(special thanks to for the images and historical information)