We interrupt this Internet weblog to bring you a special announcement: The United States Civil Defense logo, the ominous icon which once graced tens of thousands of trucks, geiger counters, and emergency storage bins, is dead.
Rumors of the logo's previous demise were apparently premature. Indeed, though many Americans thought the logo had faded away sometime during the Nixon Administration, this was not the case. Instead, the familiar CD graphic with the white triangle enclosed in a blue circle, had merely been in quiet retirement -- perhaps in Florida, but most certainly buried somewhere deep in the darker corners of the basement.
Now, however, the National Emergency Management Association, a group of state emergency managers, has announced the adoption of a new "EM" logo -- EM for "emergency management" -- which will officially replace the old CD. According to today's New York Times:
The insignia was born in 1939, said Michael Bierut, a partner in the Pentagram design firm. Its father was Charles T. Coiner, the art director of the N. W. Ayer advertising agency, who also designed the National Recovery Administration’s blue eagle.
The CD insignia was called anachronistic in 1972 by the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, successor to the Office of Civil Defense. “The image was World War II vintage,” the agency said.
The EM symbol was endorsed by R. David Paulison, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, successor to the civil preparedness agency. He attended the announcement in Washington.
The new image was developed by Morrie Goodman, an emergency communications specialist and the managing director of AGG International, a marketing firm.
Mr. Goodman said he first tried to update the classic triangle, using EM initials, but wound up with something that looked like the America Online logo. He was then directed by the association to take a fresh approach. In it, the letters EM and the words Public Safety and Public Trust are wreathed in blue and gold arcs, symbolizing movement, and three gold stars, standing for the local, state and federal levels of disaster preparedness and response.
“We now have a new symbol of what our profession is all about,” Mr. Goodman said.
[Tom Geismar, a principal in Chermayeff & Geismar Studio, a design firm] sounded less sure. He said the stars and swooshes seemed “more appropriate to an upstart airline.”
We beg to differ. At Telstar Logsitics, we believe the new EM logo would actually be most suitable for a third-party cafeteria food services provider, or perhaps an employee credit union headquartered somewhere in eastern Minnesota. But we can't quibble with Mr. Geismar's basic assessment: The new logo doesn't exude much urgency or officialdom, although that may also be appopriate. After all, the EM graphic will represent the modern-day heir to the former Civil Defense bureaucracy: the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
Civil Defense Museum website (Recommended!): LINK
All Telstar Logistics photos tagged "civildefense" (Flickr photos): LINK
(Photos above by Telstar Logistics)
UPDATE: A new Flickr Civil Defense group has been created to archive images of Cold War-era Civil Defense logos and equipment. Feel free to join in.