Long before I knew anything about graphic design, logos or branding, the work of designer G. Dean Smith resonated strongly with me. Perhaps nothing more strongly than his 1968 logo for the Yosemite National Park showing a minimal, line-based representation of the park’s Half Dome rock formation.*
G. Dean Smith (as he was usually credited) was also responsible for some other rather stellar logo work, including the iconic ABC 7 Los Angeles “Circle 7” logo and the Boise Cascade tree logo. His full name was Gordon Dean Smith, Jr.
Sadly, there’s precious little information about G. Dean Smith online, with only a 1987 Los Angeles Times notice of his death to provide some bits of insight into his history & work:
“He was credited with adding degrees of subtlety to corporate and industrial insignias, replacing firm names or initials with simple symbols more suggestive of the sophisticated complexities that make up today’s conglomerates.
“Among his more than 100 other clients were Yosemite National Park, Boise Cascade Corp., J. Paul Getty Museum and General Foods. He was also known for the advanced typographical and photographic techniques employed in his books and brochures.”
There is also this superb image with an overview of some highlights of his work (including excellent logos for CornNuts, Coherent Radiation Laboratories, the San Francisco International Film Festival, among many others):
You can also view a few examples of G. Dean Smith’s logo work on the Logobook website’s page for him.
*The Half Dome logo along with the Yosemite Mountaineering School’s “Go climb a rock” t-shirts were forever fused in my mind. Although the two logos were, apparently, not used together, G. Dean Smith did also design the ‘bundled rope’ logo for the Mountaineering School.