Logodotes: W.C. Winks Hardware

[Over the 30+ years I've worked professionally as a designer, interesting side stories have come up about my identity designs. This is one of an ongoing series of "Logodotes" - anecdotes about my logo designs.]

Jane Winks Kilkenny passed away, at the age of 98, in December 2009. For nearly five decades she managed the day-to-day operations of a Portland institution W.C. Winks Hardware. I first met her in 1996, following her retirement, when daughter Anne Kilkenny hired me to design an identity for the business, which had been without a logo throughout its previous 87-year-old history. In one of our early interactions, Mrs. Kilkenny bluntly informed me that she didn't like the new logo at all.

W.C. Winks Hardware was established in 1909 by William Caldwell Winks and his daughter Jane stepped in to run the business upon his death in 1945. In 1996, his grand-daughter Anne Kilkenny provided me with one of the few existing photos of the founder (above left) as a possible centerpiece for the first logo for the hardware store.

In designing the symbol I hoped to convey a historical perspective for the retail establishment. Making use of ovals with banners, to showcase a stylized representation of Winks, graphically hinted at the turn-of-the-century founding of the business. The typefaces Horndon, Copperplate Gothic 33 and Copperplate Gothic 31 added to conveying a look of the time.

When the finished logo (above right) was presented to Anne Kilkenny, she was very pleased, and told me "it looks like the logo that would have represented the store when it opened in 1909." Shortly thereafter, at the Winks Hardware annual holiday party for customers and staff, Jane Winks Kilkenny told me, "I don't like the logo at all; it doesn't look anything like my father."

In 2001, Winks Hardware moved from its long-time Pearl District location to a much larger building in the city's Central Eastside Industrial District. The logo was prominently displayed on the front of the building as signage. Anne Kilkenny and her husband Jon Naviaux drove her mother by to see the completed new location of W.C. Winks Hardware. "The logo looks really good," was her first comment.

The W.C. Winks Hardware logo became an element of an anniversary image in 2009 when the store celebrated 100 years in operation (above).

Since its introduction the Winks Hardware logo has appeared in the books American Corporate Identity/14, New Business Card Graphics 2 (Japan), Letterhead and Logo Design 7, Graphically Speaking, LogoLounge - Volume 1, Logo Design for Small Business 2, Logos from North to South America (Spain), 1000 Retail Graphics and The Best of Letterhead and Logo Design.

© 2010 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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