Viridian Note 00208: BP Logo Hunt

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts
BP Helios Logo, Landor Associates, graphic designer, Steven LaPaz, Jennifer Connor, Ogilvy and Mather, Courtney Reeser, Omnicom, Greg Barnell
Attention Conservation Notice
We've been looking hard for this guy, but let's face it: we didn't find him yet. Maybe he doesn't exist! Over 1,500 words.
Imaginary Products competition over at Core77. Seems pretty open-ended. We solemn Viridians don't really approve of surreptitiously sticking bumper-stickers onto other people's SUVs, even if it is a gutsy move and also hilarious.

(((Back in Note 00203, we were discussing the new, cybergreen logo of bp, the world's coolest, greenest, sexiest, massive carbon-spewing oil supermajor megacorp. BP's new Helios logo was created by "Landor Associates, San Francisco office," a subdivision of Young and Rubicam. Presumably, however, there was some actual human being quietly sitting at some console and drawing that new BP "Helios" logo. We Viridians want to know who this guy is. We figure him for some kind of invisible culture hero. We want to send him fan mail.)))

BP Logo Design...* (Wesley M. Gifford)

Using good old Google (, and searching for "bp logo designer" several links point to an article at designinmotion. The actual link is:,7220,113933,00.html

Toward the bottom of the article it lists several of the people involved. Heath Ivan Hewett is listed as "Designer" so perhaps he is the person responsible for the new design.

Wesley M. Gifford

(((This Design in Motion piece is a terrific article on the awe-inspiring Ogilvy and Mather bp television spot. It doesn't say anything about the guy who actually drew the logo, however. It can't be Heath Ivan Hewitt because he works for Charlex in New York, not Landor in San Francisco.)))

From:^^^^^^* (Marc Erickson)

"I just spoke to Steven LaPaz (sp?) at: Landor Associates Corporate Headquarters Klamath House, 1001 Front Street San Francisco, CA 94111 USA

TEL +1.415.365.1700 FAX +1.415.365.3190 WEB

"I received the answer that the designer that did it is no longer at the company. Mr. LaPaz didn't know where he was working, and did not know if he was allowed to give out his name, and would not do so to me. I have an email into the company's website, but somehow I expect the same answer.

(((But the enterprising MarcErickson did get an answer to his email, of sorts.)))

"Hi Marc.

"Thank you for your interest in Landor's work with BP. Development of the BP mark was the collaborative work of several Landor designers & brand strategists located throughout Landor's worldwide network. Also, this type of information is somewhat proprietary.

"If there is particular information you would like about Landor's range of services, industry work or even additional details on the BP program, please let me know. I have attached a PDF version of our brochure, in case you are interested in viewing some of our past work.

"Best regards,

"Jennifer Connor Marketing Coordinator Landor Associates t: 415.365.3862 e:

(((Wow. It's PROPRIETARY! They really don't want us to know! It's a genuine MYSTERY! Maybe the guy was FIRED! Or, maybe he just jumped for greener pastures.)))

Source: Business Wire, April 12, 02000

"Interbrand Names Courtney Reeser Managing Director and Head of San Francisco Office.

"Interbrand Corp., part of the Omnicom Group Inc.

(NYSE:OMC), announced today that Courtney Reeser, 47, has been named Managing Director of its San Francisco office.

"In this capacity Reeser will run the company's SanFrancisco office. Reeser also will sit on the Interbrand U.S. Board of Directors.

"Reeser, formerly Executive Creative Director/Americas at Landor Associates, has an extensive background in branding and identity management. At Landor, he worked with such clients as Microsoft, Webvan, Frito-Lay, John Deere, BP Amoco, Disney and Canadian Airlines. (...)

"'Courtney is a wonderful addition to the Interbrand team,' Chuck Brymer, CEO, Interbrand Group, said. 'Not only does he have a great record in working with clients to maximize the value of traditional brands, he has keen insights on the Internet's dramatic impact on branding and brand value management.' (((Hey, with a skill-set like that, money's no object!)))

"Reeser worked at Landor for seven years. Prior to Landor, Reeser was a principal of his own firm, The Reeser Group. Previously, he worked at the San Francisco- based design firm SBG Enterprise. Reeser received his degree in graphic design/packaging from The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena after studying architecture at California Polytechnic State University. (((Gotta admit that this sounds like the proper resume' for the job.)))

"Interbrand ( offers a comprehensive array of consulting services to assist in the creation, enhancement, maintenance and valuation of a company's most valuable assets == its brands. Founded in 1974, Interbrand has offices in 18 countries. Clients include Dell, General Motors, Lucent Technologies, PricewaterhouseCoopers, BMW, British Airways, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Ontario Hydro and AT&T."

(((This Reeser guy must have had something to do with the bp logo. But did he draw it? Somehow it's hard to imagine Mr Reeser actually piloting a Koala Pad from the rarefied heights of "creation, enhancement, maintenance and valuation." I suppose that someone could just call him up and ask him....)))

SAN FRANCISCO Interbrand 111 Maiden Lane San Francisco, CA 94108 USA Tel 1 415 989 7400 Fax 1 415 989 7409 Contact: Courtney Reeser

(((Or maybe Landor was levelling with us, and it really did take fifty different people to draw a logo for them.)))

Landor Designer Person^^^* (David Sarpal)


"Thanks to some Spanish chitchat with Landor's receptionist here in San Francisco (su nombre es Annie), I was able to find the name of the project manager who was involved in creating the logo you have come to adore and be inspired by.

"The dude is Greg Barnell and he informed me that this logo in question was arrived at 'through the collaborative efforts of a bunch of different people over the course of about a year.'

"Not very descriptive indeed (I'm sure he didn't spill the beans entirely and fed me 'the official script') but maybe you can give him a call directly via Annie the cool receptionist. Ye number:

+1 (415) 365-1700

(((Hmmm. Maybe we're really looking for 50 guys. This hardbitten graphics veteran offers counsel on the grim realities of modern logo generation.)))

Re: Viridian Note 00203: BP Helios Logo

"joel" <*

"While there were certainly a handful of designers fiddling with final variations of the new logo in Adobe Illustrator on G4 Macintosh computers, the process of drawing the logo was probably way muddy and organic. I have been working for siegelgale for a few years, watching new logos and corporate identities 'form', or whatever. At Landor, they certainly have 300 books of design inspiration to copy ideas, at least 30 books on logotypes and marks and such. The designers may have five books at their desk that are all images of symmetric round motifs, such as Helios. Maybe their book has this star with 16 points instead of 18, or four concentric patterns instead of three.

"At siegelgale, even a little $100,000 logo-only job will START with 200 designs, which will be mixed, matched, and muddled with each other into hundreds of versions. Ok, sometimes, when it gets down to the final three to show the client, one is generated by 'somebody' the night before. Some of the more unique logo marks have parts that were actually 'drawn' by someone. But gosh, the Helios thing wasn't drawn by someone, it came off a floor in London at BP headquarters. Someone brought it to life, 'dramatized' it, saw and told the story to their boss, who embellished and bent it, before a handful of very wealthy men who were in charge of paying for it. The color is a major part of this story, and I would love to hear that part as well. With colors that are interesting, vivid, and different from the rest, there must be $50,000 of rationale in this logo's color alone! ps, thanks for the mailing list, even the 'movement' I guess. It is awesome."

(((Thanks for the compliment, "joel," or whatever entity it is that you actually are. Maybe it was entirely romantic and backward of me to imagine that there was some individual mediating this massive industrial process. Probably, the logo's creator didn't get fired by Landor, so he isn't dodging his rent payments and slowly starving like a forgotten dog while mooching around San Francisco, writing self-pitying web-designer autobiographical web comics such as:

(((But what if he is doing that, you know? What if he's had a total nervous breakdown and can't even pay for gas? What a story that would be, huh? Wow!

(((Perhaps the next step is to have a closer look at the thing that is actually on the floor at British Petroleum headquarters in London. Who will be kind enough to go photograph that for us, scan it and email it in?)))

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