This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Guest Editorial by John Feldhouse
King County is in Seattle, Washington. For those who are unaware of King County do not feel bad, you are not alone. I never heard of this county before (being from Atlanta) but I suddenly found myself wanting to learn more about it.
The county was originally named after William Rufus de Vane King, vice president under Franklin Pierce but was later renamed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2005. The namesake change is part of a 20 year bi-partisan effort that began in 1986. Proponents of the renaming pointed out that William King was a slave owner in Alabama so they decided it was only right to change the namesake of the county.
The county chose Gable Design Group, a local design firm in the Seattle area to redesign the identity. A group of 28 other firms made a bid for the identity as well, the largest response King County has had for a design contract. The transition period will take roughly 5 years to change over all materials and should be complete in 2012.
The new mark clearly represents the county’s values and ethics. The mark is conceptually on point, stunning, classic and poignant. The designers at Gable Design Group took a real chance and created a bold mark that works. Tax payers will be happy to know it is a 1-color job to save costs, but this limitation is what makes the mark beautiful.
This is one mark that will have people talking about its socio-political effects for many years to come. Gable Design Group should be applauded for taking a big risk and creating a powerful and invigorating mark. As well the King County council that voted this mark into practice should also be recognized for taking a step forward. But with that being said, there is one big question to be asked.
The concern is the right to own someone else’s image. Certainly King County can’t own the likeness of one of the most influential leaders in American history. Or can they? Is this type of imagery limited to only the deceased or will designers be able to use anyone’s image? Where do we draw the line with copyright usage and appropriateness? This mark is beautiful but comes with some heavy debate.
To view the press release click here.
John Feldhouse graduated from Auburn University in 2005 and is currently working at Radiant Systems, a technology company based in Atlanta, GA.