Our review of the new Duke Energy logo caught the attention of the orchestrater of the old, original Duke logo. We are honored to hear from Mr. Kenn Compton, a man who knows logos and also how to spin a great yarn. Listen to this! —Brandsinger
Dear Mr. Brandsinger:
A friend sent me your recent blog article about the new Duke Energy logo. You asked "who draws logos in an electric utility…?"
In the case of the old Duke Energy logo, it was me.
At the time, I was the "logo cop" within corporate communications. It was a position of moderate responsibility but little authority. Duke Power had just merged with Pan Energy of Houston and changed the name to Duke Energy. Both companies had internal creative services groups and management felt it would be a good idea to let those folks take a crack at generating the new corporate logo.
Word spread throughout the company that there was to be an internal logo contest. Ideas came in from many different people, including linemen, each with exciting ideas of what the new company's identity should be. Departments heads outside of corporate communications began to take an interest and at least one hired a New York consultant (I forget who) to have a go at it.
Eventually several hundred logos were presented to a small group of managers from the merger team. They narrowed the submissions down to the top ten or twenty and took those to the senior executives for a final decision.
Alas, none of the suggested identities resonated with the folks in the C-Suite. But all was not lost. Over the weekend, one of the top executives had an epiphany while in the shower. He sketched out his idea on the foggy door and liked what he saw. A couple of phone calls later and I was in the office, drawing his vision using less ephemeral media.
First thing Monday morning the new design was submitted to the board and heartily approved. The rest is history.
One more thing: the executive who conceived the logo also asked to choose the color it was to be reproduced in. He chose Pantone 193, which doesn’t really print well in some circumstances. It was later revealed that he was, in fact, color blind.
I haven't been a part of Duke for more than a decade. Who knows what they did to get the new logo.