Announcing the Rust Belt Logo Contest Winner

BRANDING DETROIT: The industrial heartland is meriting another look as its ability to build turns into an era of rebuilding. The Motor City is once again attracting business leaders, artists, and, yes, tourists.


Look around.

Beyond our landscape of factories, there’s a beautiful legacy of metro Detroit’s industrial might. From the Fisher Building to Meadow Brook Hall, our region is studded with diamonds in the rust.

Although it’s popular to reject our past in an effort to compete with the Sun Belt, and although economic foundations have shifted beneath our feet, our identity remains. It’s a brand that still applies as we move toward a retooled future.

Even in this so-called “post-industrial” era, someone has to make things. That requires industry.

Rust Belt pride is a bit of a buzz topic lately (consider the Eminem/Chrysler ad). We like the organic aspect of rust/oxidation. If people prefer to focus on bright, shiny pride, they need only remember: Metal polishes up very nicely.

With that in mind, Hour Detroit asked artists and graphic designers to submit their concept of a logo for the Rust Belt, the “factory-town” region that extends roughly from Buffalo to Chicago.

The submission of Rachel Sperber, a 2010 Wayne State University graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design and drawing, was selected from among the finalists. Her concept is shown here.

“It seemed to me that the logo needed to convey a sense of regional pride, as well as a sense of past and future,” Sperber says. “The worker is the centerpiece. Spreading out behind him are the fruits of his labor: the factory and the car representing past and present, and the wind turbines representing a path forward in green technology.

“I wanted to convey the idea that none of these things are possible without skilled people.” 

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