Here’s a trivia question for you White House afficionados out there: Which side of the White House is depicted on the $20 Bill?
If you answered the North-facing side, you’d be correct, at least since 1998. The north side is also the side used in the official White House illustrated brand logo, which is most often seen on the wall or podium during Presidential press conferences. But would it surprise you to know that for at least a few years from 2003 – 2009, the official White House Logo had a rather subtle mistake?
The original circa-2003 White House logo and an image of the North Face, indicating the inconsistencies. Image credit AdWeek.
The north face of the white house features a long row of windows, with alternating arched and triangular pediments over the first story windows. In 2009, a young New York design firm was invited to submit a proposal for redesign of the classic illustrated facade logo, and as they began to do their research they noticed a rather glaring mistake in the current White House logo. The window directly right of the center had the wrong shape above it – a triangle instead of an arch!
Hello Monday, the design firm who noticed the mistake, was recently interviewed by AdWeek in an extremely entertaining article on the mysterious history of the White House logo’s rather hard-to-catch mistake, which is as delightfully full of conspiracy theories and elusive information as you could possibly want it to be. It’s like a graphic designer’s version of “National Treasure”, but with less Nicholas Cage and a far less satisfying resolution – in the end, Hello Monday’s logo submissions were never used, and the mistake was mysteriously fixed – but replaced with a different one! Now all four of the right hand windows have the incorrect pediment shape!
At least Hello Monday didn’t try to steal the window.
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