The History of and Story Behind The Girl Scouts Logo

Girl Scouts

Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to the Girl Scouts than cookies. The organization has been around for over a century, providing a safe place for young kids to come together to learn new skills, develop their independence, and have a lot of fun in the process. One of the most enduring images associated with the organization is its logo, an emblem that’s as rooted in Scout tradition as nature hikes and cookie booths. If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about that iconic symbol, you’ve come to the right place. Listen up as we talk you through the life and times of the Girl Scouts logo.

The History of the Girl Scouts

According to the Girl Scouts official website, the organization was born from the desire of a 51-year-old woman named Juliette Gordon Low to create an organization that would endow young girls with all the confidence, character, and courage they’d need to meet the world head-on. Created at a time in history when women were still denied the vote, Low’s vision was almost revolutionary in nature. Strength, intellect, and individuality were considered male traits, yet here was a woman championing those same characteristics in ‘the weaker sex.’ Low began by teaching a small group of 18 girls in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, everything she’d learned during her life and travels abroad. Soon, the movement gained memento, with more and more Girl Scouts groups forming all around the country. Low encouraged the girls to push boundaries. They played sports, they swam rivers, they camped in the great outdoors, and they learned languages. Finally, girls were given the freedom to enjoy the same activities boys had been taking for granted for years. Since its creation in 1912, the Girl Scouts movement has become a global phenomenon. Spread across 92 countries and with more than 2.6 million members (and 50 million alums), it’s an organization that transcends barriers, that builds friendships, and that aims to make the world that little bit better, one chocolate chip cookie at a time.

The Girl Scouts Logo

At the heart of the Girl Scouts image is its iconic logo. And yet, as turbologo.com notes, it wasn’t until 1978 that the chapter was given its own logo variation. Up until then, it had used the same logo as the one used by the Boy Scouts. That original Boy/ Girl Scouts logo was introduced by Robert Baden-Powell in 1920. Consisting of a stylized version of the Seal of the United States and featuring an eagle at its center, it’s an emblem that’s remained remarkably unchanged for the best part of a century. Barring the addition of a fleur-de-lis and a few minor alterations to the color scheme, the Boy Scouts logo of today is still very much in the same spirit as Baden-Powell’s original creation. The first distinct Girl Scouts logo was created by legendary designer, Saul Bass. It was an exquisite emblem, conveying the same sense of unity and togetherness that the movement had been espousing since its inception. Consisting of three diagonally aligned silhouetted female faces shaped to resemble a lucky four-leaf clover, it celebrated the idea of female friendship, of unity in spite of difference, and of looking to the future. As a piece of marketing, it works incredibly well. It’s instantly recognizable, it exemplifies everything the organization stands for, and there’s nothing else around quite like it. The fact that it pays homage to nature (something the organization itself has been doing for years) is the cherry on top.

The Evolution of the Girl Scouts Logo

Remarkably, very little about the Girl Scouts logo has changed in the years since its inception. The font of ‘Avenir Black’ has remained in use since the 1970s, while the shape itself is still very much Bass’ original creation. In 2010, the logo experienced a very minor alteration that involved redesigning the lower leaf segment to resemble a shield. The inscription was also switched around slightly and changed to black, while the emblem’s signature dark green was lifted to a slightly lighter hue.Other than those minor changes, the Girl Scouts logo of today is still very much the same Girl Scouts logo of yesterday. Considering how successful it’s been, it’s very unlikely that any dramatic changes will be seen in the future.

The Natural Choice

If there’s one thing we all know about the Girl Scout’s logo, it’s that it’s green. The shade may have changed slightly over the years (today’s logo is a slighter brighter, lighter hue than the one originally chosen) but it’s been green all the way since 1978. Which makes perfect sense, really. Green is the color of nature, after all, and if there’s one thing that the Girl Scouts movement has always celebrated, it’s a love of the great outdoors. When nature is so tied up in the movement’s ethos, and when green is so representative of all things natural, there was never really any other option.

Influences

As logorealm.com notes, the biggest influence on the very earliest incarnations of the Girl Scouts logo was the Boy Scouts logo. In fact, influence is too mild a word. For the first few decades of the two organizations’ existence, the logos were exactly the same. It was only when Saul Bass got involved in the 1970s that the Girl Scouts logo took on a life of its own. Bass’ logo drew a clear demarcation between the Girl Scouts movement and the Boy Scouts movement. It was like nothing that had gone before and, strangely enough, it’s like nothing that’s come since. The logo captures the spirit of the Girl Scouts movement. It represents the organization perfectly… a fact that makes it unlikely to be used as the inspiration for many other organizations. Why? Because there is no other organization like the Girl Scouts. There might be other female-driven groups and there might be other charitable organizations, but none of them are founded on the same principles and motives as the Girl Scouts movement. Considering how deeply in tune the logo is with the ethos of the Girl Scouts, it could hardly be used for anything else.

The Lasting Power of the Girl Scouts Logo

As 1000logos.net notes, the Girl Scouts logo has been around since 1978 and has barely changed in all that time. Considering that it’s thought to be one of the most iconic and effective logos ever created, it’s not surprising that no one has dared to change it. Unlike some logos that could quite literally represent anyone or anything, the Girl Scouts logo clearly reflects the organization’s values, goals, and purposes. When you see it, you instantly know what (and who) it represents. When a logo wields that kind of power, any kind of fundamental change would be a marketing disaster.


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