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The State of Logos

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Texas “state shape” logos

The outlines of US states are often used as design elements in the nation’s logos. The shape of a state can be a meaningful symbol of identity for its residents.

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US state quarter coins featuring state outlines

In the “50 State Quarters” program, which ran from 1999 to 2008, each US state was given the opportunity to be represented on the back of a US coin. Fifteen of the fifty states chose to include their state outlines as part of the coin design.

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By examining United States Patent and Trademark Office data, we can see that the state of Texas features over twice as many “state shape” logos as its nearest competitor, California. Nearly one-quarter of all “state shape” logos depict Texas. This is not surprising, given the strong sense of state pride that Texans exhibit, the state’s large population and geographic size, and the fact that the state’s shape itself is distinctive, memorable, and relatively easy to use in a design context. 

 Percentage of US logos featuring outlines of the nation and of the state of Texas

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By 2011, the percentage of new US logos featuring the shape of Texas (0.06%) had nearly equaled that of logos depicting the outline of the United States itself (0.09%), although this was due more to a decrease over time in the use of USA outline logos than to an increase in Texas state shape logos.

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If we take the relative population of US states into account in our analysis, a slightly different picture emerges. The states of Alaska and Maine, each with much smaller populations than Texas, surpass it in terms of state shape logos per capita, perhaps putting a small dent in Texas pride.

Do you have a favorite logo that features the shape of a nation, state, province, or the like? Contact us and share it!