Girls Scouts are about more than just cookies. For a century, they have helped young women to grow, gain confidence, and learn valuable life skills. While they’re probably best known for their yearly cookie sales, Girl Scouts provide a safe haven for many girls who are looking for friends and a way to be part of something larger than themselves. One of the major pieces of the Girl Scouts brand is the Girl Scouts logo, which has been in place for over thirty years – but has also been through some significant changes over the lifetime of the organization. The Girl Scouts logo has, in many ways, grown alongside the organization.
Girl Scouts Logo Design Elements
The girl scouts logo shape is that of three female faces in profile, coming together to create a shape that’s a bit like a shamrock. It’s certainly a shape that puts women in the forefront, but also one that works incredibly well as an identifiable piece of marketing. It’s the kind of shape that works whether or not you realize exactly what it’s supposed to be, making it one of those abstract logos that does its job well. The shape also cleverly evokes a connection to nature, something that’s always been a core part of the Girl Scout experience.
The green color has become synonymous with the Girl Scouts as well. The color is that of nature and growth – again, key components of the scouting organization. The current wordmark font is lowercase and friendly, representing both a sense of belonging and a sense of youth. It’s a triumph in terms of being able to compress the entire message of a scouting organization into just a few very basic elements.
Changes and Evolution
It’s hard to describe the original shape of the Girl Scouts logo as anything other than an outline. The thick lines were drawn around a stylized version of the Seal of the United States, in a style that’s very much of the turn of the 20th century. The logo update in the 1920s kept the eagle but brought a more familiar shape, one that honestly looks far more similar to the logo of the Boy Scouts than anything else. Another shape change would come in the 1940s, losing the eagle and putting a border of shamrock-esque shapes around the central shape of the logo. The 1960s spirograph-esque logo would be the final change before the organization moved to its current iteration.
Oddly, the Girl Scouts logo didn’t really have a color until the 1980s. From 1910 to the present, the logo was largely rendered in black and white outside of a few specific instances. The move towards the green logo was likely in response to a renewed interest in outdoor activities, as well as an attempt to make sure that the logo was actually able to capture the eyes of consumers.
From 1910 to 1980, the word ‘Girl Scouts’ was actually absent from the Girl Scouts logo. Instead, the logo prominent featured the letters ‘G’ and ‘S’, usually in the center of the logo. The letters were most prominent until 1960, at which time they shrank almost to the point of being illegible. The move to using the full name of the organization came in the 1980s, largely in an attempt to create both a better brand identity and to bring the name of the scouts back into the public consciousness.
The biggest influence on the Girl Scouts logo is, of course, the Boy Scouts logo. Though the current logo is easily differentiated, most of the earlier logos were more in line with the organization’s all-male counterpart. The current logo seems more influenced by charitable organizations than anything else, with clear nods to organizations like The United Way in its design.
Few companies have followed the Girl Scouts lead in terms of logo design. Because the Girl Scouts have effectively cornered the market in scouting organizations for girls, few competitors exist to learn from the logo. As such, there aren’t any real examples of groups that have riffed on the organization’s logo design.
- The Girl Scouts have more than 2.4 million members.
- The first Girl Scouts troop was organized in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia.
- Girl Scouts cookies have been sold since 1917.
The modern Girl Scouts logo is a great example of simplicity in action. It says everything it needs to say, but it doesn’t overwhelm the consumer with information. The Girl Scouts are still an evolving organization, so it will be interesting to see if the group decides to update their logo again. If they do, you can be sure that the change in logo will go along with a change in ethos.