TSA Logo Contest

Over at “Ask the Pilot,” Patrick Smith has a great idea:

Calling all artists: One thing TSA needs, I think, is a better logo and a snappy motto. Perhaps there’s a graphic designer out there who can help with a new rendition of the agency’s circular eagle-and-flag motif. I’m imagining a revised eagle, its talons clutching a box cutter and a toothpaste tube. It says “Transportation Security Administration” around the top. Below are the three simple words of the TSA mission statement: “Tedium, Weakness, Farce.”

Let’s do it. I’m announcing the TSA Logo Contest. Rules are simple: create a TSA logo. People are welcome to give ideas in the comments, but only actual created logos are eligible to compete. (When my website administrator wakes up, I’ll ask him how we can post images in the comments.) Contest ends on February 6. Winner receives copies of my books, copies of Patrick Smith’s book, an empty 12-ounce bottle labeled “saline” that you can refill and get through any TSA security checkpoint, and a fake boarding pass on any flight for any date.

EDITED TO ADD (1/6): Please leave links to your submissions in the comments, and I will add them to the post. After the contest is over, I’ll choose five finalists and post them. The winner will be chosen by popular acclaim.

The Entries:

Sean Flanagan
Tom B
Rhys Gibson
Baz (1)
Baz (2)
Russell Nelson
Tonio Loewald
I love to fly and it shows (1)
Pox Voldius
I love to fly and it shows (2)
Brendan McTague
Andy S.
Pope Noonius I
Travis McHale
Matthew Williams
Will Imholte

EDITED TO ADD: vote on the finalists here.

Posted on January 6, 2010 at 8:42 AM147 Comments


kashmarek January 6, 2010 9:04 AM

I think you will get the attention of TSA and it won’t be at the airport (or maybe they will just wait until you come to them).

William January 6, 2010 9:12 AM

If the TSA are not paying attention to this blog then they are in an even worse state than they appear to be in.

Bruce Schneier January 6, 2010 9:13 AM

“I think you will get the attention of TSA and it won’t be at the airport (or maybe they will just wait until you come to them).”

Excellent. I’m sure the winner will license his design at a reasonable price.

RonK January 6, 2010 9:16 AM

I don’t have a logo, but their song is surely (to the music of the Village People song Y.M.C.A.) : “It’s safe to fly with the Teeee Ess Ay” (someone will have to work up new hand gestures, I’m sure with a little imagination one could generate a funny YouTube video).

Carlo Graziani January 6, 2010 9:23 AM

Picture of plastic bin with a pair of shoes, and a pair of boxer shorts, on a conveyor belt.

Motto: “Preventing Yesterday’s Plots, Today”

Jon Williams January 6, 2010 9:31 AM

Too bad I’m no graphic artist. The motto really should be “You have nothing to fear if you’ve done nothing wrong”, but I can’t think of a good, simple logo. Perhaps a head with a gun pointed at it?

Kingsnake January 6, 2010 10:11 AM

Picture of a bottle of water above “You can have my bottle when you pry it from my cold, dead hands”

Baz January 6, 2010 10:12 AM

I doubt Cory’s t-shirt can be bettered. How about

‘Abandon all liquids, all ye who enter here’, or

‘Totus mundus agit histrionem custodiae’ (‘all the world’s a theatre of security’, adapting the Globe Theatre motto. I hope that genitive is right.). I think I’ll do a logo for this one.

peri January 6, 2010 10:14 AM

This is the best contest so far this year!

I would encourage making the saline bottle prize clearer by saying “an empty 12-ounce bottle labeled.”

Tyler Thompson January 6, 2010 10:25 AM

You know, we could always have CafePress (or similar print on demand) print the logo on the thongs they sell that say “Electronic Scans are Overrated. Full Body Pat-Down Desired!” or something similar – http://www.cafepress.com/+womens-thongs

I need to do a little bit of work with a motto and design… I’m not artist, but I may be able to photoshop something together.

Great idea, by the way.

curby January 6, 2010 10:35 AM

Why is an association with the noble eagle necessary? A headless chicken, limbs flailing uselessly, would clearly be more appropriate.

It’s a shame that we’ve few graphical designers amongst us. It’s time to spread this out on the usual diggreddit sites. =)

Jeff Wegerson January 6, 2010 10:36 AM

I’m thinking something like Smokey the Bear. A picture of a bunch of passengers jumping a terrorist with the logo, “Remember, only you can prevent terrorism.”

Kingsnake January 6, 2010 10:38 AM

Picture of the Warner Brothers abominable snowman guaring the security gate exit as a be-turbaned, dunamite vest wearing terrorist goes in through the out door … “Duh, which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?”

Andrew G January 6, 2010 11:49 AM

How about an image of an ostrich with its head in a suitcase? Many fine slogans to accompany the logo have already been suggested.

Daniel January 6, 2010 12:00 PM

@ Jim: I like “Unencumbered by the Thought Process.”

Add in Latin as play on their show name:
Conloquium cautela, non acta
“Security talk, no action”

L. January 6, 2010 12:07 PM

Clearly the printing on the socks/underwear/T-shorts needs to be done in a metal based ink so that it can be read when you are being scanned.

Snarki, child of Loki January 6, 2010 12:30 PM

Theatrical Security Annoyances

I think ostriches, lemmings and beheaded chickens need to figure prominently in the logo.

Chuck January 6, 2010 12:35 PM

I think their motto should be something short and to the point, like:

TSA — legal molestation

TSA — Grabbed more balls than Jordan

TSA — Keep your knives, we’re here for the pancake syrup

Mark January 6, 2010 12:38 PM

This is so easy, I’ll even donate the prizes to charity. Just make the logo a gigantic goatse.

YXdr January 6, 2010 1:06 PM

Patrick got the order wrong on the words. Instead of:

Tedium, Weakness, Farce

it needs a better acronym:

Weakness, Tedium, Farce

z January 6, 2010 1:36 PM

i suggest a person being body-cavity-searched while holding the knife in its teeth

mission statement could be: constantly searching at the wrong end

Tenaciously Scanning Asses

Mark S January 6, 2010 1:47 PM

My first thought is too simple. The logo could simply be a standard red circle and slash over the word “Everything”.

The slogan is one a friend quoted to me: I don’t know the origin: “TSA Won’t Be Happy Until You Fly Naked And In Chains”.

Eponymous January 6, 2010 1:57 PM

Typically Suspecting Americans
Train Sounds Awesome
Trashed Someone’s Aloe
Targeting Second Anomalies
Tracking Saudi Anarchists

Nathan January 6, 2010 2:52 PM

I like Bruce’s motto suggestion: “Misapplying tomorrow’s technologies to counter yesterday’s threats.”

To illustrate, maybe one of those Star Trek scanners, with the words “scanning for muskets” on the screen.

John Whittet January 6, 2010 4:32 PM

Just FYI, the “circular eagle-and-flag motif” used in association with the TSA logo is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal. It is used in almost all of DHS’s child agencies’ logos (e.g., FEMA, TSA, CBP, USCIS, ICE, etc.). Two DHS agencies do have a “custom” logo—the Coast Guard and the Secret Service.

Nitpicking, I know. I fully support the development of a custom branding for every travelers’ favorite agency.

Clive Robinson January 6, 2010 7:26 PM


If it has to be the usual US bird of pray and not the “wild turkey”.

How about it dropping like a stone with a surprised look on it’s face and wings “blown upwards” by the wind rush.

Around it’s legs on of those 1700’s devices invented to make cleaning soot out of chimnies easy.

If you have not seen one it consists of two small cannon balls with a scisor like contraption to hold a “wild turkey’s” legs. The idea was simple you put it on a live turkey and drop it down your chimney, the turkey flaps maddly on the way down knocking the soot down for you.

On one ball have TSA on the other “Patriot Act” as a motto

TSA Bringing you down since…

Or for a T-Shirt

TSA – For that Personal touch whilst traveling

And of course since Capt Underpats, and the realisation body scaners won’t work,

“Touching Scrotums Authoritivly”

Sick of TSA January 6, 2010 7:46 PM

Let Veronica Mosier be your inspiration. What happens to her is what TSA does to the average air traveler.

PackagedBlue January 6, 2010 8:43 PM

TSA: Totally Search Anything
TSA: Totally Say Anything

TSA, when I first heard that name, I thought, wannabe NSA for Thug Security Apparatchick

Anyway, while ripping on the TSA is good fun, and maybe even trendy, they are just a reflection of our pathetic society.

Scapegoat the TSA, after all the fundamental failures of the USA? Government, Legal systam, Business Protection, Politics, Military, Revolving door, education, and lets not forget, FINANCIAL system.

I’d say give the TSA a break, and relax some rules and let the guys loosen up, so that when things happen, they do not add to the problems.

Sean January 7, 2010 12:08 AM

To borrow from a British term:

Jobsworths Unlimited

With a cartoon jet plane madly flapping its wings, descending with a pair of iron balls chained to its landing gear.

SteveLaudig January 7, 2010 4:43 AM

I have no logo to offer. Drawing is a bit beyond me. But how about some snappy phrases: “Doing poorly a job that needn’t be done at all.” Or “Just as every creature has it’s hindpart, so does government.” Or, “Gainfully employing the otherwise unemployable.” or “Have it our way.” or “Shut up, hands against wall.” I’ll think of others.

Pete January 7, 2010 9:04 PM

A good motto….


Not original with me, but good.

George O. January 7, 2010 9:25 PM

How about an image from the master:

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”


Or maybe use the two faces of drama to highlight the security theater aspect.

🙁 🙂

Theatre Security Actors

Michael January 8, 2010 1:39 AM

The true expansion for TSA is surely “Terror Successfully Achieved”.

Has any organization done more to terrorize the public than the TSA?

Tonio Loewald January 8, 2010 11:50 AM

The prizes are too good to ignore, so here’s my entry. I’ve tried to capture the “essence” of the TSA, I hope you like it. I think I may print some t-shirts.

Moe January 8, 2010 10:18 PM

Flanagan’s logo (bird flipping the bird is brilliant) + actual name of the agency + Motto (sable scroll, bottom) “Tomorrow’s Technology. Yesterday’s Threats.” = winner, IMO. Bonus points for motto in Latin.

Bonnie January 11, 2010 3:51 PM

I’ll give this idea out ther free for someone to draw it:

The Coat of arms of israel-a light blue menorah. You can use colors you deem appropriate:On the center upright of the Menorah, put the head of the American Bald Eagle turned towards the left- the other candleholders are spread in the shape of feathers. And the upright olive leaves are more spread out like a semi circle underneath.

The words arching overhead read:

Transportation Securitiy Administration

and underneath in smaller letters:

“Subdivision of Israel Defense Forces”

ShadesOfKnight January 11, 2010 4:43 PM

I think that every person should stop on their way to the airport at their local sex shop. Buy the biggest phallus you can. Stuff it in your pants (girls, you do it too).

Wait until you go through the lineup. If they pat you down, when they get hold of it say loudly: “You can take your hand off my penis now.” Or, after the pat down loudly announce that the person deserves a dollar for that handjob.

If pulled aside for imaging screening, make sure that you wait patiently until they notice the object in your pants. When the mention it, loudly say, “Scuse me while I whip this out.” And remove the phallus.

If we could get a movement like this going, the TSA guys wouldn’t be able to hire folk fast enough to deal with the PTSD turnover.

Nick FitzGerald January 11, 2010 5:26 PM

Not a contender and not my original idea, but at a recent conference a well-known NZ security researcher was seen wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with:


Maabel January 12, 2010 6:18 AM

“Integrity, Team Spirit, Innovation” is/was? sewn around the border of the newest TSA (T-errorists S-talking A-irports) patch. Have you EVER seen an organization that had to SEW A REMINDER not to STEAL, LIE, and CHEAT on their own shoulders!!!! They STEAL from the “confiscated” items, BACK-STAB the PASSENGERS (and their CO-Workers) and “INNOVATIVELY” CHEAT on their own tests.
Supervisors PADDING their hours to make house payments.
Supervisors staggering in drunk.
Supervisors exclaiming all NON-Christians should leave the country
Supervisors expressing their desire to see U.S. Senators DEAD
Real good organization.

Bassbusta January 12, 2010 10:27 AM

Picture this:
Elmer Fudd with a finger to his mouth saying “Be vewy, vewy qwuiet, I’m hunting terrorists”, encircled by the standard TSA/Homeland Security text.

Matt January 15, 2010 4:31 PM

What a great idea for a contest! And some of the entries already are pretty sharp…

…which means, of course, that the TSA will steal them too, the next time they’re found at an airport or border crossing…

Maarten January 16, 2010 4:51 PM

Am I the only one who feels this is too much TSA-bashing?
It seems to be Bruce Schneier is risking losing some credibility by launching this contest.

eaglesquadronson January 20, 2010 9:41 AM

Janet Incompetano has ruled all of you to be Right Wing Extremists! You are being watched and targeted.

Chris Larson January 20, 2010 9:39 PM

At least one person has referred to the Douglas Adams description of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, its logo (A planet wiggling fingers in ears, and stick out its tongue), and the accompanying legend “Don’t Panic.”

I would like to suggest that, though unfortunately punctuated, this is perhaps the ideal legend. I’ll leave the latinization to those better educated, but I will suggest a correctly punctuated version of the text:

“Don’t. Panic.”

Eva van Loon January 23, 2010 3:50 AM

The TSA brutalised me at the WA truck-crossing border for over 2.5 hours. Probably there was training going on, for the expected surge of visitors to the Olympics, but that’s no excuse.

I was waved over. Then the car keys were demanded. I was marched inside, where I had to stand up for over two hours. I was not allowed to leave, visit the bathroom, etc.–basically false imprisonment. Then the entrapment phase: demanding I sign a declaration that I wasn’t carrying anything. I said, “There might be something in the car, as I didn’t have a chance to check….” Then a TSA doll walks in with a tiny Mandarin Orange box, about 6 x 5 x 5″. I’d totally forgotten about it. It contained maybe four or five minuscule mandarins. The TSA guy leaned close. “These are from CHINA!” he snarled.

OK, OK, I must be a terrorist!

He went through every scrap of material in my wallet, saying, “This will help you; this won’t help you,” as if my execution was slated for the next hour.

When he and he cronies retreated to their computers and private corners, doing who knows what, I began to cry. I’d been robbed the day before and wasn’t feeling too strong. I cried for 45 minutes straight.

They came back, wanting me to pay a $300 fine. I told them I don’t have $300. They said, “You have credit cards.” I told them the credit cards don’t work, but if I give them permission to try them, it’s an admission of guilt. I won’t do it.

They can see my next words are, “I want to call a lawyer.” I’m thinking of how it’s three hours earlier in HI and I can call my lawyer friend there–as if that will do much good. I’m still crying. All I want to do is drive down to Bellingham, pick up my books, and come back to Canada. Right away.

They don’t know what to do with this soppy old female. They give me a notice: I’m being fined up to $20K. I kid you not. No address, no process for protest or dispute on the page. They want me to sign. I won’t.

They ask for a statement. I give them one, making clear the false-imprisonment and entrapment facts. They let me go, with the stupid page of accusations. Apparently there will be a hearing, date and place and terms unknown, and I may be fined into bankruptcy. I have no idea what to do with it, but I get into the car. I feel raped. My car doesn’t quite feel like mine. I wonder what they’ve done to it.

I spend all of 47 minutes in the US, crying the whole time. I’m still crying when I get back to the Canada Customs. If they give me a hard time, I’ll probably commit suicide or kill somebody.But all they do is have me pay the GST on the books I came to pick up.

For days I feel dirty, besmirched, diminished. Although I lived there for many years, I want nothing more than never again to have to go through the effing US of A.

DS January 29, 2010 12:11 PM

Nice one, Travis — though I would argue putting a pair of toenail clippers in the eagle’s right talon would be funnier.

Balu February 7, 2010 8:32 PM

Great contest. Not much time for artistry, but I summarized my thoughts with a couple of text only pictures — ( how do I submit these ? … not for the contest, too late for that, — just to vent ?
( brief description :
one has be safe, fly naked. opportunities for fondlers, underwear thieves, crotch sniffers with a faint TSA all over it.
The other says “Task force to Screw Air travelers – bomb sniffing dogs, crotch sniffing agents, if you like the smell of biowaste, we have “openings” ” )

Frank February 18, 2010 2:17 PM

These logos need a short phrase, Who knows a good latin translation for

“Perception is Reality”


Frank February 18, 2010 2:23 PM

Another brainiac idea: How about using the two masks typically associated with theatre, except that instead of the crying and laughing masks we have crying and angry masks.

Clive Robinson February 18, 2010 4:17 PM

@ Frank,

“except that instead of the crying and laughing masks we have crying and angry masks.”

Nagh what you want is that pained “internal examination by black rubber glove” expression with overtones of outrage, as your wallet is also extracted and empted at the same time by the glove wielding TSA person with size 14 hands…

And for those of a more delicate disposition please do not hold that thought…

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