Design Tips for Milestone Logos

Posted on Aug 23, 2017


Anniversary gifts can be tricky. Why pick from paper, wood, silver, gold or diamond gifts when you could opt for a solid design, instead?

Whether your utility has powered the community for 25 years or is approaching the centennial mark, a logo unifies celebration messages.

Last week, utility communicators across the nation shared examples of anniversary logos on NRECA’s Communicators Listserv (NRECA members can view the conversation here). We thought we’d join the fun by sharing a few of our favorite examples, too.

 

Celebrate You

Lewiston, Idaho-based Clearwater Power used iconic elements from their rural area—trees, fish, deer, wheat and power lines—to create a 75th anniversary logo in 2012.

The original design was packed with detail. There were layers of needles on the evergreen trees and eye, nose and shading definition on the deer.

Clearwater Power Marketing and Communications Specialist Jeff Marshall refreshed the logo in 2017. He stripped it down and improved on an already good design. Using simple silhouettes versus gradients make the design stronger and more versatile.

Comparison of two Clearwater Power logos

The original 2012 logo, left, and the updated 2017 logo.

For the most impact, keep images incorporated into a logo focused on a few recognizable, clearly defined icons. Aim for clean, simple lines; avoid too much detail.

 

Get Creative with Numbers

What’s the best part about evenly-spaced anniversaries? The frame-like shapes of the numbers. Most anniversaries end in a five or zero. Both numbers easily become powerful shapes for logo design.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in Fredericksburg, Virginia, brilliantly used the numbers seven and five to create a utility pole and circle for the years of their incorporation. This design may be four years old, but it still feels fresh and fun.

REC logo example

Rappahannock Electric’s logo turned a seven and a five into a utility pole.

Yampa Valley Electric Association in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, turned the tops of the numbers seven and five into a thick line, cleverly framing the co-op’s years of service. The utility also used two contrasting colors (black for the utility name, red for the year) to highlight the milestone.

Although it’s smart to design in monotone (the best designs translate easily into black and white), colors can be a powerful way to add impact to a logo.

YVEA logo example

YVEA’s milestone logo merged the top of two numbers to create a thick line.

 

Mohave Electric Cooperative in Bullhead City, Arizona, filled the zero in 70 and added an electric bolt inside the circle, connecting the milestone year to the utility.

 

Several other utilities used the zero in eighty or seventy to frame an image and the celebration milestone. While turning numbers into frames can work really well, be careful not to pack too much detail into a small frame.

 

Three logos with the zero used as a design element.

These examples from Arkansas and Alabama use the zero as a design element.

 

Rest on your Laurels

Laurel leaves, a Greek symbol of victory and honor, pop up in several utility anniversary logos. Makes sense—public power utilities have won several battles for consumers since founded.

Clatskanie PUD used laurel leaves behind their milestone year in a 2013 logo. Because of the utility’s focus on service, the icon works.

In the same way, Blachly-Lane Electric Co-op wanted to focus on a long history of service. Laurel leaves on either side of the co-op’s signature oval logo shape was an easy way to create a temporary logo design for 2017.

Two examples of logos with laurels.

These examples celebrate service and honor by adding laurel leaves to the design.

We Can Help

We love working with public power utilities to find fun ways to celebrate milestones. We can also help you update your current logo. To learn how Blachly-Lane Electric worked with Ruralite earlier this year to refresh their logo and create a complementary anniversary design, read our portfolio post. Want to get to work? Email us today.

1 Comment

  1. Great write-up!
    I think the most important element to focus on is this: Your anniversary logo should be something unique to your industry and to your utility. If your art work could be interchanged with a dry-cleaner or a credit union, keep digging.
    Make your logo intrinsically YOU!

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