A Century in the Life of a Logo

By Nick Hardigg, Executive Director

Most intriguing among our archives are several heavy wooden cases of glass “magic lantern” slides. Dating from the 1920s and 1930s, they served as our earliest traveling slide shows and engaged people across the state in the protection of native birds and their habitat.

These archives show the evolution of our organization, including our logo. Hidden among wildlife photos by William Finley and Herman Bohlman, and paintings by R. Bruce Horsfall, one particular slide stands out: a painting of a Rufous Hummingbird encircled by the words “Oregon Bird Alliance of Oregon Society.” This early logo, hand-drawn by Horsfall, dates back to at least 1919. The Western Meadowlark became the next bird on our logo, likely around 1927 after we led a statewide voting campaign for children to select Oregon’s first state bird.

In the 1980s, the Great Blue Heron was selected to become our new avian representative after Mike Houck led efforts for it to be named Portland’s official city bird. Former board member Diane Bradshaw recalls, “After our board voted to change our logo to the Great Blue Heron, we were in a rush. I offered to draw the bird, and Martha Gannet took on the lettering. Together, we got it done!”

After 30 years representing Bird Alliance of Oregon, both Diane and Martha saw the opportunity for change. “I liked our logo,” shared Diane, “but I also think it needed an update.” Graphic designer Martha Gannet agreed, and helped guide creation of the new logo.

We are excited to debut the Great Blue Heron, building on the legacy of all the people that came before. And our new slogan captures the spirit of our supportive and welcoming community and the mission we serve: Together for Nature.