Institutional Branding by Committee

The institutional approval process for creating a new brand identity was forged well over 235 years ago. For one of the most famous brand identity projects in history, it took six years, three committees, and the contributions of fourteen men before the Congress finally accepted the design for the Great Seal of the United States in 1782 (which included elements proposed by each of the three committees).

The first committee consisted of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. While they were three of the five primary authors of the Declaration of Independence, they had little experience in heraldry and sought the help of Pierre Eugene du Simitiere, an artist living in Philadelphia who would later also design the state seals of Delaware and New Jersey and start a museum of the Revolutionary War. Each of these men proposed a design for the seal. On August 20, 1776 the committee presented their report to Congress. Congress was however not impressed, and on the same day ordered the report to “lie on the table“, ending the work of the committee.

Interpretation of the first committee’s seal proposal Read more of this post

Build It (and they will Ride)

An outbound train on the Pittsburgh light rail...

Image via Wikipedia

Gas is $4 a gallon, the Port Authority is cutting bus service, it’s “construction season” on the area’s roads, and Pittsburgh’s traffic is more congested than ever. Nationally, the country might be going back into a recession based in large part, on energy woes. The number one investment that we could make in our region is to expand the light rail/subway system. With peak oil arguably behind us and growing markets, like China, competing for resources, we need to take action now. Everyone has been feeling the pinch of higher gasoline prices the last few years and how they can negatively impact an entire economy (maybe even your personal economy!). Eventually the oil will run dry and even with the promise of electric cars, roads will be even more congested in the future (remember, the population is growing, too). Then what? Well, then it’s too late.

The map shown here paints an interesting picture of what a mature system might look like. Read more of this post

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