August 13, 2014
I don’t play golf. I don’t even watch golf. So why did I design a golf logo?
One thing I’ve come to understand about being a designer is that you don’t have to be an expert about the subject you’re designing for. All you have to be is a good storyteller.
When I took on this project to rebrand the golf program of the Rockford Park District, I had no idea how rich Rockford’s golf history was. As I engaged with managers during the creative brief process, the whole story and vision behind the program came alive. It engaged me as a storyteller, and drove me to want to tell its story well with the visual branding.
The Rockford Park District (RPD) was established in 1909, and within three years, the first golf course was built. There was a lot of debate on whether a public entity should run a golf course, but the RPD leaders at the time agreed that—because of the values and lessons golf can teach—golf should be made available to all people, not just members of a county club.
This core belief was the seed that grew and flourished into what the golf program at the RPD has become. There are now five golf courses with public play, lessons programs, tournaments, leagues, and outings. It is the only comprehensive golf program in the area.
When I began designing, I was directed to not to approach it in the traditional—or obvious—way (ie. golf balls, greens, flags, etc.). The managers wanted something that clued the viewer into the story, but wasn’t overtly “golfy.”
I landed on using a cropped view of a ryegrass spikelet for the logo mark. It is a grass common in prairies native in Rockford. Also, the significant quality of a prairie is its complex root system, which allows the entire prairie to be burned and still grow back every year. This connected with the story of golf for the RPD. It’s truly a legacy sports program with deep roots, giving it strength to grow, even through tough times. The five florets represent the five courses, and the five elements of their comprehensive program.
For next season, I’ll be developing each courses logomark, and I am excited to learn each of their individual stories.