Tuesday, August 26, 2008

NIH Logo- Why?

I read an article today and followed a link to the National Institutes of Health- "America's Health Research institution".


Here is their logo. For some reason it caught my eye. Why does the NIH have a broken coat hanger as their logo? Is this some kind of bizarre statement on abortion or something?

Did that logo come out around the time of the movie "Mommy Dearest"? Did the designer have the tag line "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS" floating around in his head?

Seriously, how did they come up with this? It bugs me.

Just in case you think I am BSing you about this being the official logo check it out for yourself...
http://www.nih.gov/

Weird huh?

5 comments:

Astrogirl426 said...

I think that logo was the result of an impending deadline, too much takeout, and a few too many bottles of Blue Moon ("screw it, just draw some kind of triangle thing, but make it look like we spent a lot of time on it"). NIH, WE SEE THROUGH YOU!

Your tax dollars at work, my friend. And tell me again why NIH needs a logo, anyway? To put on the t-shirts?

House of Jules said...

As a graphic designer, this hurts my eyes. And my head. It also crushes my soul. It's just awful. Thanks for inspiring me to do a wire-hanger check in my closet. Lastly, you must be partially psychic; my sister & I went on a Mommie Dearest twitter quote war-rampage over the weekend b/c she was watching it on TV.
Jules
House of Jules

Anonymous said...

It's not a broken hanger. It's a Hershey's Kiss. I like to think it's a covert message in defiance of those government health "experts" who created the food pyramid, who would like us to believe chocolate is not the perfect food.

Anne

Melek said...

maybe the NIH is a three tiered/partitioned institution, so this represents a triangle, or a division of three...but then they rounded the corners so it wasn't so severe....then they couldn't figure out how to get the points to connect in Illustrator so they just left it broken off at the top. and they couldn't decide on colors, so they just left it black...and used Arial font bc they didn't have money in the budget for anything cool. that's what i think happened.

and jules, i totally agree with you. my eyes hurt. i'm in the process of designing a logo for a new client right now...i'll be sure to leave out all the hanger references.

Erika said...

I couldn't help it... I HAD to find out what they were REALLY thinking when they came up with this (particularly useless) logo... so I did some research. Embarrassingly enough, their definition SUCKS! In fact THEY'RE not even sure what it means!

"The result was a triangle with rounded sides and the initials "NIH" in the center (above). The meanings of the three sides varied, with some seeing "research, treatment and education," and others the trilogy of "searching, serving, and teaching."

In 1976, work began on a new logo to update the triangle and develop a symbol that could be recognized all over the world. The first proposal was a concentric triangle with rounded vertices and straight sides, but NIH Director Dr. Donald Fredrickson wanted it altered to indicate NIH's relationship with grantees and other health institutions. By leaving the ends of the triangle open, the completed logo demonstrated NIH's "openness to the outside" as well as invoking "the glassware that is used in NIH laboratories.""

Way to go director... duh... "it looks like a volumetric flask!"... WHAT??? Crazy science types!
-Erika