The Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 00284: Enron Logo Contest

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts
Viridian design contests, logo design, graphics, Enron

Attention Conservation Notice: It's the latest in our continuing series of Viridian design contests.

Link: Viridian contest site:

When it comes to industrial graphic design, corporate logos are the big stinkin' deal. Logo design is about public perception, brand management, global recognition, corporate goodwill and such!


Enron, for instance, used this keen e-commerce "E", all canted at a dynamic angle. It's known as the "fanciful E."

Link: color logo b & w version

The Enron "E" is nowhere near so cool as that fantastic BP sunflower redesign, but it's not too bad for a gas pipeline company.

When companies merge, or change names, or even re-org, a logo redesign is very often job one. But when companies croak in a grotesque welter of scandal and bankruptcy, nobody does a thing about the logo!

Dead companies don't even get new logos.


However, we Viridians, with our wise "Embrace Decay" principle, can see through this serious organizational shortcoming in contemporary capitalism! And if anybody needs a new logo right now, it's Enron.

Therefore our new Viridian Design Contest. You must design a brand-new logo for Enron that accurately reflects Enron's current market position, global brand and public image!

I wish I could promise you that someone within Enron
was actually going to adopt this new Viridian logo ==
but I must doubt that. I can assure you that Enron's not
real likely to sue anybody about this. This is a parody,
okay? It's protected speech. It's not like we're
making any money out of infringing the trademark.

Besides, Enron already has its hands full suing Dynegy for abandoning Enron at the altar.

Nevertheless, there's a heady promise of wealth for

the Viridian guy or gal who wins this design contest.
Because the grand prize for this contest == the *most
generous prize that we Viridians have ever offered* == is:


That's right, ladies and gentlemen! Life is tough for graphic designers in today's market crunch. It's time the Viridian Movement pitched in with some hard-nosed practical support!

Those 100 Enron shares == generously donated to our
cause by a Viridian patron of the arts, Mr. Chris
Nakashima-Brown <>
== would very recently have been worth over *eight
thousand dollars!* Of course, at the moment they're worth

about eighty-seven bucks, not counting the transactional overhead involved in our acquiring them.

But consider this. This really, truly is a hundred share interest in Enron, once the seventh largest company in the FORTUNE 500 with yearly revenues of a hundred billion dollars. Stampeding market panic may have driven the share-price down to pennies, but Enron's baseball stadium has got to be worth more than that, not to mention its posh corporate headquarters in climate-blasted Houston, and its physical network of gas pipelines, which are still in very busy daily use.

Dynegy may have scrammed off in terror, but Shell == a
Viridian darling == is said to be sniffing around the
corpse to acquire anything handy. Plus == who knows,
maybe Dick Cheney will bail Enron out for national
security reasons! Even if that stock pops to just five

bucks, you could make some serious money here!

It seems pretty likely that the great and the good

are gonna have to do something about Enron, because,
politically, this scandal is about a million times worse
than Whitewater == and Whitewater fed whole tribes of
black spin-doctors for something like ten solid years.

Links: Henry Waxman letter at:

"Representative Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Minority Member with the House Committee on Government Reform wrote a letter to Cheney December 4, 2001 stating he would like Cheney, 'to release information about secret contacts your energy task force had with Enron Corporation, which filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001...'" etc etc etc.

Hoo boy! We may be talking years of classic Beltway Americana!

But that's not all! Even if Enron stock turns out to be worth absolutely nothing, Mr Nakashima-Brown, a connoisseur of stock scrip design, has generously arranged for the winner of this Viridian contest to receive:

An Authentic ENRON Stock Certificate!

This handsome hard-copy document formally attests to your partial ownership of the Enron company. These certificates are themselves hotly desired collectibles!

Links: Extensive images of certificates (check out the oil & gas section).

Features some cool proto-Ballardian aviation stocks:

One final note. Normally, Viridian design contests promise the reward of a Viridian star <*> for every entrant. I would love to pursue that fine Viridian tradition, but we may have conclusively outgrown our Viridian Ranking System. After that last Viridian Note on geeks and spooks, we got Slashdotted.

This is no longer a small, cozy email list; we are bigger, lots bigger. Furthermore, if you choose to enter a Viridian design contest nowadays (or even if some wry remark of yours gets published to Viridian readers), it's not uncommon for you to get hit-on by interested journalists.

So keep that in mind. The Viridian List is groaning at the seams. Frankly, merely by throwing the contest, the Pope-Emperor is courting carpal-tunnel. It's an issue we will seek to resolve next year.

If you'd care to enter this contest, create your version of the new Enron logo, place it on the web, and send me the URL. I will then announce it to the list, and at least 2,000 people will look at it.

This contest closes January 12, 2002.

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