Current Senior Vice President, Digital Media at Discovery Channel, Randy Rieland is the inaugural editor of the recently launched Department of Innovation blog run by the Smithsonian Institution, “the world’s largest museum and research complex” that is administered and funded by the U.S. government. “The Department of Innovation is,” in Rieland’s words, “about people and ideas that likely will shape the way we will live one day.” One of the commenters on the Department of Innovation blog pointed out that in the logo, designed by Jamie Simon, “the gears can’t turn.” Stalled government has been mentioned in this context more than once recently.
The comment is painfully accurate. Not only can the gears in this logo not turn, but the cogs have irregular spacing and aren’t proportioned appropriately. Overall, the logo aims at creating the impression of a seal, with its typography wrapping an enclosed circle and inclusion of five stars, but suffers from poor conception and miserable rendering. The logo has been quickly updated after the less than positive feedback, but the point remains… this is not a particularly high profile logo, but its a great reminder that creating good logos begins with understanding your subject matter and ends with great craftsmanship — neither of which were present here.