January 5, 2009, 12:18 pm
A Short History of the United Nations Logo
By Henry Woodbury
An obituary for architect and designer Oliver Lincoln Lundquist highlights his leadership in the creation of the United Nations logo. The story, as summarized by reporter Steven Heller, highlights the role of serendipity and a shift in point of view:
After the Navy, Mr. Lundquist attended the San Francisco conference at which the United Nations Charter was signed. His team was responsible for designing all the graphics for the conference and an official delegate’s badge, which became the prototype for the United Nations logo. The team did not set out to design the logo for the United Nations, but the badge became the prototype. It was initially designed by Donald McLaughlin, who worked for Mr. Lundquist as the director of graphics for the conference.
The distinctive blue in the design, Mr. Lundquist explained, was “the opposite of red, the war color.” He continued, “It was a gray blue, a little different than the modern United Nations flag.”
The symbol of the globe was also slightly different in the original design, he said: “We had originally based it on what’s called an azimuthal north polar projection of the world, so that all the countries of the world were spun around this concentric circle, and we had limited it in the Southern sector to a parallel that cut off Argentina because Argentina was not to be a member of the United Nations. We centered the symbol on the United States as the host country. Subsequently, in England our design was adapted as the official symbol of the United Nations, centered on Europe as more the epicenter, I guess, of the East-West world, and took into account the whole Earth, including Antarctica. By then, of course, Argentina had been made a member.”
Interesting that they were so particular about Argentina but didn’t mind lopping off New Zealand (and yes, NZ did matter to the UN then – it was one of the original 51 and then Clarence Beeby was influential in establishing UNESCO). Despite the quote I’m not seeing Antarctica on the newer one.
Posted by Samuel Mann on January 13, 2009 at 11:38 pm