History: CNH logos, professional modesty and meaning

CNH logo 1969-1981

It began with a drafting style lettered design. Then tall and skinny letters were “in.” Bold letters followed, and finally, torn paper imagery separated an all caps visual. That about sums up 50 years of CNH Architects’ logo history.

Flashy signs and catchy taglines were a bit foreign to the architecture field, and that, like so much else, was all by design.

CNH logo 1982-1985

“We were professionals,” said CNH Principal Wayne Hilbert. “And, ‘professionals don’t advertise,’ was the thinking.”

CNH logo 1986-1995

Five decades ago, architects were not allowed to advertise, Hilbert said, and it took a long time for that to change.

The CNH logos found on job site signage and display boards today remain clean and simple. But there is an intended message to convey.

Wayne Hilbert
Wayne Hilbert

The torn paper edge imagery separating CNH from the remainder of its name relates to the design process. “We go through concepts like crazy,” said Hilbert. “So, we said ‘the torn paper- we have to do a logo with it.’”

The angle of the torn paper offers a visual “creative” twist to differentiate the architects from their engineering counterparts.

CNH Architects logo 1996-present

And, the rip is transparent, which could be interpreted as applying to multiple designs and ideas, represented by the colors it rests on top of.

More recent admirers of CNH’s work may not realize it, but the current logo has been in service since the late 1990s. Like CNH’s building designs, it too has held up well over time.

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