Identity Re-Design: Cooke Stationery

As an artistic kid growing up in Salem, Oregon I would often buy art and design supplies at the local retail institution Cooke Stationery Company. I also went to high school with the children of the family who owned the business. Many years after moving from Salem I was contacted by the third generation of owners to redesign the company's identity.

Over the years, since opening in the 1930’s, the Cooke Stationery Company had used a variety of identifying elements, but did not have one consistent logo for use in its marketing and promotion. The primary graphics used by the office supply and stationery store were a type treatment from the 30’s and a character illustration made up of an old-fashioned typewriter eraser, pencil, rubber bands, paper clips and a sheet of paper. These two graphics were seldom used together, giving the business a split personality.

When the owners began a process of restoring the historic façade of their Salem building, it was also time to give the company image a make-over – while maintaining a connection to its history and celebrating survival as a small business in a world of “big box” stores. One directive for the new logo was that it not look like a new logo. An updated, yet not too sophisticated, character illustration was created and framed in an oval with banners noting the date the company was founded. The result was strong solid, single image projected by a logo that seems as if it may have appeared when the store opened in 1935.

The Cooke Stationery Company identity has appeared in the Japanese book Logo World (from PIE Books) and Logos: From North to South America from Spanish publisher Index Book.

(Note: My new book, Identity Crisis!: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands, contains case studies from 35 designers and firms located around the world. Learn more about the book on the Identity Crisis! blog.)

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives