Mother Nature Inspired That mountainous skyline squiggle that constitutes the Patagonia emblem pairs perfectly with the brand’s signature typeface. It was thoughtfully selected not only to reduce well on shorts, jackets, and backpacks, which it certainly does, but also as an ever-present nod to the…
Mother Nature Inspired
That mountainous skyline squiggle that constitutes the Patagonia emblem pairs perfectly with the brand’s signature typeface. It was thoughtfully selected not only to reduce well on shorts, jackets, and backpacks, which it certainly does, but also as an ever-present nod to the company’s quiet, passionate roots in adventure and championing worthy causes.
You recognise Patagonia gear at a glance without any outlandish show of enlarged lettering or complicated geometry. The mature and understated presence has been their vibe from the very beginning, backed by a tradition of ethics and awareness. Rock climber Yvon Chouinard took inspiration from the Andes Mountains in Patagonia when he devised the image. In the 1960s, Chouinard and business partner Tom Frost used their excursions to innovate climbing technology by using aluminium chocks in place of traditional pitons that would damage the rock wall.
Enter Designer Jocelyn Slack
The business interests shifted toward apparel, and as Chouinard transitioned to specialising in outdoor sports clothing, he enlisted designer Jocelyn Slack to model his logo after the striking silhouette of a specific ridge above El Chalten: the Cerro Fitz Roy. Slack rendered the Patagonia logo impeccably, but modestly credits Chouinard as the true author of the image, citing the detailed and specific vision he conveyed through his photographs and directives.
Now every article of Patagonia clothing recalls those early adventures on South American cliff faces and, by the 80s, the line included advanced insulating jackets, moisture wicking long underwear, and softer non-pilling bunting fabrics — some in bright colours, all designed to encourage both the excitement and peacefulness of the outdoors.
With a workplace culture of surfers, skiers, hikers and activist-minded outdoor enthusiasts, Patagonia has always held clear allegiance to policies and causes that protect the environment and preserve the many prized landscapes like the mountain ridge displayed in its logo. This emphasis harkens all the way back to those early days when Chouinard perfected the aluminium chocks.
Taking a Strong Political Stance
Notably, Patagonia refuses to hold back their contempt for the Trump administration, surprising and delighting consumers with an all-caps slogan, VOTE THE ASSHOLES OUT, printed on the underside of their clothing tags. The move earned them the praise and admiration of longtime buyers, along with a swath of ‘non-outdoorsies’ who’ve never purchased a fleece pullover in their lives.
Naturally, Patagonia adamantly opposed Trump’s debasement of the national Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments, but for anyone who views these gestures as a kind of partisan stunt, keep in mind the full breadth of their activism. The company’s entire Black Friday intake in 2016 went directly to non-governmental environmental organizations, and they even pulled their Facebook and Instagram ads in objection to the platforms’ rampant spread of false information.
Indeed, of the many brands who tout generalized “company values” through their websites and mission statements, Patagonia is one of the few who actually walks the walk – regardless of whom they might alienate from their consumer base. The decades-old logo now serves as a powerful symbol connecting buyers to the natural world while also reminding us to prioritise our stewardship of the planet.
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