TSA Logo Contest Finalists

Last month I announced a contest to redesign the TSA logo. Here are the finalists. Clicking on them will bring up a larger, and easier to read, version.

Travis McHale
Will Imholte
Rhys Gibson
I love to fly and it shows

Vote in the comments. The winner will receive a copy of our most recent books, a fake boarding pass on any flight for any date, and an empty 12-ounce bottle labeled “saline” that you can refill and get through any TSA security checkpoint.

Voting will close at noon PST on Sunday, February 21.

EDITED TO ADD (2/22): Winner here.

Posted on February 14, 2010 at 3:28 PM439 Comments


Daniel February 14, 2010 3:52 PM

I like the fifth too but I just finished reading about Operation ‘Cyber Shockwave’ and the phrase Security Theater is very much on my mind. So I’m going with #3.

James February 14, 2010 3:55 PM

I’d have to go with the Department of Security Theatre as well.

It’s clean, snappy and wasy to understand. Everything a logo should be. And it gets the point across to boot. 😉

Mike February 14, 2010 4:02 PM

Will Imholte (#2)

The logo is original yet attractive and the security theatre bit is more implied & subtle.

Donald February 14, 2010 4:03 PM

I have to vote for the second one, it has the three-word motto and it has the mask symbols to represent “security theatre” — it packs the most meaning into one symbol and looks good doing it.

Daniel D February 14, 2010 4:15 PM

I vote for the fifth “I love to fly and it shows”. Simply brilliant on the ‘I see Paris, I see France’ 🙂

monkey think, monkey vote February 14, 2010 4:17 PM

I vote for McHale (#1). I like the emphasis on the motto and the clear graphics.

B. Real February 14, 2010 4:18 PM

Wow, hard choices:
(drumroll please)

#5: I love to fly and it shows
Especially the banner in the talons

(Close runner ups for me are #2 and #4)

Markus February 14, 2010 4:35 PM

The Departement of Security Theatre is just too good. It looks so genuine too. I’m sure with an official paper with its letterhead you’ll get through any TSA checkpoint with your bag of weapons of mass destruction !

Todd February 14, 2010 4:50 PM

I vote for Will Imholte’s design: the masks of theatre, the silhouette depicting the dependency of opacity backed up only by symbolism. It all sums up what seems wrong with the TSA’s approach.

EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy February 14, 2010 5:30 PM

All good, but Rhys Gibson’s is the best.

Honorable mention for Travis McHale and Kurushio who also got the feel of these things right.

Paul February 14, 2010 5:34 PM

#3 (Rhys Gibson) & #4 (Kurushio) do it for me. I love the irony in taking away the Statue of Liberty’s lamp.

Chasmosaur February 14, 2010 5:36 PM

Rhys Gibson, Department of Security Theater.

Can I vote an honorable mention to I Love To Fly And It Shows?

Randy February 14, 2010 5:46 PM

Kurushio gets my vote. It was a very tough choice between that and “I love to fly and it shows”.

Nicolai February 14, 2010 5:53 PM

I’d have to support Travis McHale as top here, with Rhys Gibson second. This assumes you’re using single transferrable vote 🙂

Cahwyguy February 14, 2010 5:54 PM

I like Travis McHale’s of all of them, but I think it would be better if the motto was in latin (for then it would fit better with other government logos).

Clive Robinson February 14, 2010 5:55 PM

It’s a tough choice but,

“I love to fly and it shows”

Is the winner for me as it’s “denuded turkey” image is “Just so topical”.

I’m thinking I need to blow it up (to A3 size) and make an iron on transfer out of it for a nice white XXXXL T-Shirt I have 😉

Rob February 14, 2010 5:55 PM

#1, Travis McHale, I like that one a lot because it looks legit from afar, but when you look closely at the keywords and the Eagle’s possesions it strikes you.

Baron Dave Romm February 14, 2010 6:19 PM

They’re all really good, and my Conceptual Artist Hat is doffed to #5, but I’m going to have to go with #1, McHale’s, because it’s closest to one that they might actually use. Or have used, and I didn’t notice.

Suzanne February 14, 2010 6:31 PM

“I love to fly and it shows” is far and away the winner in my eyes.

I see Paris, I see France 🙂

aikimark February 14, 2010 6:59 PM

#4 (Kurushio) gave me a chuckle and, so, gets my vote.

The artwork could use some touch-up if it wins.

Chris February 14, 2010 7:12 PM

Ha! These are all great. Gonna vote for the third one (“Security Theater”) with an honorable mention towards the “body scanner” one.

Nice work to all of you. =)

Owen February 14, 2010 7:18 PM

My vote is for Will Imholte’s (#2). I especially like the masks alluding to the theatre aspect the TSA loves to employ.

jambarama February 14, 2010 7:37 PM

All of those are quite good, but I chuckled out loud at the “I love to fly and it shows” turkey logo.

Steve February 14, 2010 8:07 PM

I’m torn between #3 and #5. I like #3 (Dept of Security Theatre) best, but #5 (I love to fly ..) gave me a good laugh.

altjira February 14, 2010 8:38 PM

Oh jeez, can we only pick one? Can’t there be changeable ones, like the threat levels? Very well, I reluctantly pick – No. 3. The toothpaste did it for me.

Steve February 14, 2010 8:39 PM

Rhys Gibson’s the clear winner for me. It looks authentic, and the you read “security theater”, which gave me a big laugh.

Fulano de Tal February 14, 2010 9:18 PM

The third (Department of Security Theatre) is the clear top choice; the fifth (Love to fly and it shows) is not too far behind. The others are not as good.

wrs February 14, 2010 9:53 PM

“US Dept of Security Theater” is great, though “I love to fly and it shows” tops it all. Plus, it can be used in foreign countries as well which happen to have a bird.. like Germany.

So, I vote for the naked bird.

Islandia February 14, 2010 10:33 PM

Initially, the humor of #5 (I Love to Fly and It Shows) struck me, but I’ll have to go with #3, mostly because I like the inclusion of “Security Theatre” in the logo.

John Wunderlich February 14, 2010 10:43 PM

I vote for #3, “Security Theatre” and would like to be first in line for the actual patch. I can put it on over a T-shirt that I was thinking about making. It would say “I support the arts” on the front, with a large “Screening Security Theatre” on the back.

Willie February 14, 2010 10:48 PM

I have to call #5 (“I Love to Fly and It Shows”) my favorite because it’s just funny, but #3 (Gibson’s “Security Theatre”) is probably the one that most closely resembles a genuine government agency logo.

Eric February 14, 2010 11:10 PM

While they all have there merits. No. 5 actually made me laughs out loud. Its seemed to capture the silliness of surrounding the TSA and their policies.

csrster February 15, 2010 1:59 AM

I’m going for #4. It really gets the “Trading your freedom for our job security” message across.

Volli February 15, 2010 4:17 AM

I vote for #5: “I love to fly and it shows”. Funny and well made from the design point of view.

Derob February 15, 2010 4:34 AM

For me the winner is #4 (kurushio), followed by #5(love to fly), #1 (Hale), #3 (Gibson) and #2 (Imholte), though the last three are close. #4 is for me the winner because of its satire, #5 follows because its original and I like its graphics, #1 because it is a very clear logo, #3 is also clear but has the problem of the no-fly list being a bit large and ugly, and #2 is just too delicate to serve as a logo

Matt February 15, 2010 5:16 AM

I love to fly has got to be the funniest. US Department of Security Theatre is very convincing though.

Kashif February 15, 2010 5:29 AM

#3 – Gibson (US Department of Security Theater), but would have loved the addition of #4’s banner (“Removing Dangerous Objects since 2001”)

Frederic Merizen February 15, 2010 6:08 AM

#4 (Kurushio)

Not the best drawn, but the eagle taking away its own liberty is right on so many levels

BM February 15, 2010 6:49 AM

Too pity, since I am too late (I’ve got know about contest it only now), so I could not help on time. 🙁 Well, if all of these co-called logos are for http://www.tsa.gov/ then all are crap and better leave original as it is, if we talk here about brand. None of these sort of “logos” are follows even basic rules, not to talk about other things.

“I love to fly and it shows” — I’d call it “I love to fry and it blows”. What the hell is this? A fried chicken? Or stomach check in a zoo? Who knows…

“Will Imholte” — author must be a true guy from The Soviet Russia… All artifacts in a place: colors, a pentagram and three dudes (the happy, the sad and the eagle) to drink a vodka together. Prevet-ryespyekt!

“Travis McHale” — a nice rubber stamp for a typical health certificate from the hospital, but probably not the best brand for a TSA logo.

“Kurushio” — not sure why eagle has to uproot hair of Statue of Liberty, but certainly he might get burned by a fire.

I have a trouble getting why people love to make things fugly. 🙁 All logos looks like a bunch of amateurs learning Microsoft Paint. Folks, you have nobody who actually paint?

You’ve end up with a saying: “We wanted make it the best, but we’ve done it as usually.” ©… 🙁

I vote for original. Leave as it is, don’t ridicule the world.

peri February 15, 2010 7:24 AM

I vote #5, “I love to fly and it shows.”

I also wanted to thank everyone who submitted. It was all funny and I wanted to especially point out #4, Kurushio’s logo, eagle attacks statue of liberty; that was hilarious!

ccurvey February 15, 2010 7:26 AM

“I love to fly and it shows”. That’s going on my TSA “love note” that I put in my checked bags the next time I fly.

Rich February 15, 2010 8:56 AM

#5: I love to fly and it shows.

I love #3 for all the reasons people have stated, but #5 made me laugh out loud. It was very hard choosing between those two.

RSaunders February 15, 2010 9:04 AM

Five fabulous entries, I have to go with Kurushio for pointing out a farce without using the word “farce”.

David February 15, 2010 9:06 AM

“I love to fly and it shows….”, if I can vote for only one. I loved Kuroshio’s also, but I have only one vote to give for my country.

Winnie Omodt February 15, 2010 9:46 AM

#5 – ex-Pan Am stewardess, Registered Nurse, politically progressive – oh yes, #5. Just shows how far off the mark we are.

Mailman February 15, 2010 10:03 AM

#5, I love to fly.

I love the creativity of it, and being from France, I love the idea of a TSA logo that mentions Paris, France.

George February 15, 2010 10:11 AM

I vote for Travis McHale because of its clarity. But I would replace “tedium” with either “stupidity” or “arrogance.”

Rhys Gibson’s is better in some ways, but I would not have known what the eagle had in its right talon without a caption explaining it as the no-fly list (which the TSA doesn’t actually maintain).

Kurushio has a nice concept, but it’s just too “busy” for a logo.

Will Imholte and I Love To Fly get disqualified for needless factual inaccuracies. It’s the TRANSPORTATION “security” administration, not the “Travel security administration.” And the TSA is part of the Homeland Security Department, not the DOT.

That said, I will note that “to a small mind, a nit is an elephant.”

PLH February 15, 2010 10:34 AM

My vote is for “I love to fly and it shows”. It is humorous and incisive without being mean-spirited, and conveys a sense of absurdity in a more subtle way than the others. I can forgive the minor inaccuracy (TSA being part of DHS, not DOT).

Anonymous February 15, 2010 10:36 AM

Kurushio for the concept (though the art needs a little cleanup).

The others make me smile, but Kurushio makes me angry and reminds me why. I don’t want to smile about the TSA, that’s a big step on the road to acceptance.

Old Zeb February 15, 2010 11:16 AM

#4 well drives home the point that what was once revered is now denigrated. And they are all great!

Tangerine Blue February 15, 2010 11:21 AM

Highest Quality: Imholte
Funniest: I love to fly
Best Message: Kuroshio

Overall favorite: Kuroshio. Could use more polish, though.

Krinslo February 15, 2010 11:23 AM

I don’t understand number three. What is the eagle clutching? It’s unclear. It looks like… a newspaper.

Number one uses the same basic design but the graphic itself is much more clear, with the toothpaste and boxcutter. And the “weakness, tedium, farce” motto is very clever.

Number one wins.

Krinslo February 15, 2010 11:31 AM

Another reason I like the first one, McHale’s is that it’s the most sly and subversive. You don’t notice right away that it’s a parody. You could probably give a patch with this design to a TSA guard, and he’d throw it on without realizing…

And again, the boxcutter and toothpaste are better graphics than the toothpaste and (whatever it is) of Gibson’s.

L A Wald February 15, 2010 11:34 AM

#5 (I love flying and it shows) Gets my vote – it’s hysterical. Hmm, that makes it just like the average response to a security threat.
#4 (Kurushio) is a close second.

@zper – Ballot-stuffing prevention has been provided by Diebold.

Chris Sullins February 15, 2010 12:18 PM

I’m going to say #4, which is the most original by a good margin. The quote is unnecessary, though. Dilutes the message. Someone should clean it up and vectorize it.

Luke February 15, 2010 12:32 PM

#5 “I love to fly and it shows”

it’s great because it works on multiple levels, both as a nudity joke and as a subtler jab at the absurdity of the process: “the emperor has no clothes”

(bonus points for sneaking a double entendre into the name field)

Terry Bennington February 15, 2010 12:33 PM

#1, by Travis McHale. It looks more like a submission offered by a true Government employe in a TSA-sponsored contest… using MS Paint. I would, however, like to see “Transportation Security Administration” replaced with “Totally Silly Agency” or perhaps “Totally Senseless Agency.”

JT February 15, 2010 1:06 PM

Im going to vote for #3 (Rhys Gibson)
The subtly of it is what wins it over for me. You dont realize it, unless you actually take the time to look at it.
Which for me… is just like what the TSA does. At first glance what they do may seem to work, but once you look at it a bit longer, you realize its a complete farce.

spaceman spiff February 15, 2010 1:14 PM

I vote for the last one, “I Love to Fly…” – does he wear boxers, or briefs? 🙂

Andrew February 15, 2010 1:17 PM

“I love to fly and it shows”++

Though “I see Paris, I see France” was a cultural reference that was lost on me until I googled it. Then I couldn’t stop laughing. 🙂

krb February 15, 2010 1:45 PM

I think the “security theatre” entry would be awesome if it had two eagle faces made out like the comedy and tragedy masks.

Leroy F. Berven February 15, 2010 2:48 PM

Kurushio (#4) – best of a good lot, with the most specific connection to the combination of extreme stupidity and ineffectiveness, with restrictions on long-accepted American liberties.

Art February 15, 2010 4:10 PM

I’m voting for Kurushio. The text message is ok, but the eagle descending upon Ms. Liberty really shows the problem posed by the TSA approach. Loss of freedom = a win for the bad guys.

G Snyder February 15, 2010 4:35 PM

I vote for Rhys Gibson’s entry. Some of the others are great ideas, but they don’t fully achieve the proper “official seal” feeling in an artistic sense.

Lou Gehrig February 15, 2010 4:40 PM

Voting for: Kurushio

First we change French Fries to Freedom Fries (apparently because we’re confused over definitions). Only makes sense to go after the next largest French threat – Lady Liberty!

raineater February 15, 2010 5:14 PM

#4 has my vote, but considering the level of confusion generated by the TSA, maybe a revolving sign with the top two or three is best.

Brad Conte February 15, 2010 6:13 PM

#3. As James (from the top of this comment thread) said:

It’s clean, snappy and [e]asy to understand. Everything a logo should be. And it gets the point across to boot. 😉

I agree.

Joe in Australia February 15, 2010 6:36 PM

Rhys Gibson. It’s cleaner and funnier than the rest, although the X-ray one is cute.

Tamara Benson February 15, 2010 7:54 PM

My Vote is for “I love to fly and it shows”.
This one is timely and intelligent. Combines foodie-ism with the theatre of airline safety. Roast this one at 400 for an hour and enjoy.

The others are really great. Rhys Gibson is my second runner up because it looks so official and tells the truth.

Maybe circle the “I love to fly” logo with the “Department of Security Threatre” and it’ll fly the best.

Great contest,

mrobinson52 February 15, 2010 8:32 PM

They are all great and a lot of fun, but the submission by Rhys Gibson has that great heraldic look that the government seems to go for, so that gets my official vote. The submission by Will Imholte is just gorgeous, and the symbolism of Kurushio is fantastic and so true. I wish we could have an amalgam of them all!

PackagedBlue February 15, 2010 8:42 PM

I’m not voting.

While the TSA is screwed in some ways, what else can you get in the USA?

This is how things work, pretty bad, with government programs in these fragmented power days.

What bothers me is this contest/article is bad theater. Sure, blowing off steam is healthy, and should be encouraged, but not here, and not by an important security insider. IMHO, only BM’s comment, gets this contest right.

Sophisticated professionals can take political mud fights, but the TSA have enough problems of their own, without the elite flaming them. It only causes blowback, something that is not needed now.

Lurker February 15, 2010 10:04 PM

Kurushio — subtle; at first glance it looks like the eagle IS protecting us from something dangerous

SMK February 15, 2010 10:13 PM

Laughed out loud and must vote for Kurushio’s logo. “Removing Dangerous Objects since 2001”. We’ll keep trying until we get it right.

Bruce Clement February 15, 2010 11:11 PM

Well done Mr Schneier, you’ve picked 5 top entries for the finalists.

Kurushio’s logo showing the TSA attacking the Statue of Liberty representing the liberties they have removed from the US. Of course, when you renamed French Fries, I’m surprised you didn’t rename their statue also, perhaps to the Statue of Security.

Rhys’ shield is a beautifully executed mishmash of symbolism, I especially liked the two faced Eagle, but until I read his explanation I couldn’t work out what the scroll was and I still don’t know what the emblems on the eagle’s shield are meant to mean.

“I love to fly” – Brilliant, just brilliant, but not really a shield.

Travis & Will both nicely caught the faux simularity between box cutters (which worked, one time) and toothpaste which has always been theatre. Will’s drawing is technically the better executed but the sillowette doesn’t work for me as an official shield. I might get it done as a tee shirt though.

It’s close, but I’ll have to vote for Travis. My apologies to the others.

none February 16, 2010 12:17 AM

If they all win the TSA could have a confusing array of official logos to keep the terrorists (public) on their toes. In all good theatre we can expect any actor to have many faces.

Olaf February 16, 2010 5:03 AM

#1 and #3 are very good. I doubt anyone would notice them on a jacket they look very official.
But #5 is very funny…..

Ok #3 Rhys Gibson because it really could pass for a real badge.

brindafella February 16, 2010 5:50 AM

While #3 “Security Theatre” looks ‘real’, #2 gets my vote.

#2 “Travel Security administration” has a subtlety in the font size versus visual impact which means that people would be more likely to accept it as the ‘new normal’ without going beyond there.

Jiminy K. February 16, 2010 6:05 AM

#5. While I love the subtle way #3 subverts the classic U.S. government seal imagery, #5 has a joke at least as good with much better-quality artwork – and if the TSA and its ilk stands for anything, it’s the idea that appearance is far more significant than substance.

Bill February 16, 2010 6:53 AM

I vote “I love to fly and it shows”

A numpty sets fire to his underpants, and in reply we Brits get ‘naked’ body scanners.

So the next numpty with a buttbomb(tm) and we’ll be introducing…

Hey, anybody want to try Rectal Scan v1.0 ? Or worse the Beta! Ok ok I’d better stop now.

DayOwl February 16, 2010 7:32 AM

I vote for #3.

Two of the logos were rejected by the security settings on the corporate network. Hmm…

Chris Newham February 16, 2010 7:35 AM

Its got to be “I love to fly and it shows”.

Are there any studies on the safety of these new backscatter scanners that have been rushed in and are now mandatory at (UK) Heathrow & Manchester airports?

Jake McGraw February 16, 2010 8:36 AM

I love to fly and it shows, I feel like “Security Theater” could have done more with the concept.

geekyone February 16, 2010 8:55 AM

I vote Kurushio (#4). I loved #5 and would definitely buy a T-Shirt but I can’t really blame the TSA for something they haven’t fully implemented … yet.

bruce February 16, 2010 11:57 AM

kurushio. while i loved them all in one way or another, there is tons of humor around and not enough pointed satire.

EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy February 16, 2010 2:02 PM

“Are there any studies on the safety of these new backscatter scanners”

They use mm wavelengths, which is non-ionizing. So they are radiation in the strict physical sense of the word, but are not “radiation” in the scary everyday sense of the word. No cancer, no birth defects, no Hulkification. The only effect that they are going to have on you is a modest (presumably imperceptible) heating.

Matt Simmons February 16, 2010 2:49 PM

@R. Andrews

I’m going to take your suggestion that I’m a thief as a joke 🙂

I just altered the link that “I love to fly and it shows” posted…for me to look at. It’s a feature of zazzle that you can alter the designs. I just thought I’d share what I made 🙂

greenup February 16, 2010 6:30 PM

#4, Kurushio is my vote, based on “what I think is the appropriate”.

looking back at what the Stated Goals and definitions from Wikipedia, though, points another direction.

You asked for: “a better logo and a snappy motto. …
Rules are simple: create a TSA logo. ”

Wikipedia says:
“Logo is a term used to refer to a graphic mark or emblem commonly employed by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition.”

However it is worth noting that Wikipedia also says:
“The logo (ideogram), is the image embodying an organization. Because logos are meant to represent companies’ brands or corporate identities and foster their immediate customer recognition, it is counterproductive to frequently redesign logos.”

Obviously, though, this contest was aimed at “subvertising”,
Wikipedia Again:
“The wide recognition received by the most famous logos provides the brand’s critics with the possibility of meme-hacking, a process also known as subvertising, turning the marketing message carried by the logo (either in its pristine form, or subtly altered) into a vehicle for an alternative message, frequently highly critical to the brand in question.”

So the “Best” subversive logo would be one that looked like the original, but had the best counter-message… I liked #4 for its message, but #3 is MUCH more similar to the original, and also keeps with strong “red white and blue colors”, intended to invoke patriotism, means it qualifies better, even though I personally think it is somewhat weak/lame.

Again, count my vote for #4, but I think a better answer yet should still come. Not sure the best advantage to take of the results, though.

zuhnc February 16, 2010 7:49 PM

#3 is the best of the group. At a glance, it is official-looking, but the satire shows through on a more thorough look.

False Data February 16, 2010 8:14 PM

If all five logos were struck as protest coins, they’d make a lovely set.

My favorite, by a very slim margin, is Rhys Gibson’s (#3) for its subtlety.

Redfox February 16, 2010 8:59 PM

‘I love to fly and it shows’ is my favorite.

‘Rhys Gibson’ and ‘Kurushio’ are exellent, too.

Peter da Silva February 17, 2010 8:03 AM

Number three is the best looking one: including the masks from the second (possibly in the eagle’s claws) would be an improvement… but much as I like the masks I have to say #3.

Jeff Berg February 17, 2010 11:35 AM

Dept. of Security Theater/Rhys Gibson gets my vote.

Shout out to the Eagle with the innards of a turkey for originality thought. Great work!

IAH Flyer February 17, 2010 4:24 PM

I Love to Fly and It Shows. All very good, but #5 hits the issue on a number of different levels, especially with the current emphasis on rolling out WBI.

Peter February 17, 2010 4:55 PM

I vote for the Department of Security Theatre logo. Why not be honest about TSA’s alleged effectiveness?

o February 17, 2010 7:33 PM

All of these are great…!, It’s hard to choose but #3 and #5 are a wee bit more notable, and #5 I guess is the one that had me off my chair, so #5 it is.

Ilene February 19, 2010 5:56 PM

While Security Theater is definitely nice, I have to vote for #1. Weakness, Farce, and Tedium are simply too true.

Y3K February 21, 2010 4:52 AM

I see Paris-I see France. I’ll go with that.

It can change your whole life, right? All I need now is a bossy first mate and a bottle of bubbly. No kids. We can make them on the trip or have fun trying. As opposed to get rich or die trying.

DHS Color Codes Yellow-Scotch tape. Orange-duct tape. Red-600 MPH tape.

P.S. Can I get an air refueling and barrel roll please?

DaveM February 23, 2010 1:24 AM

I know it’s too late to cast an official vote, but it would be #4 (although the graphics could use some polishing), closely followed by #1. Then #3, #2 and #5.
As an Aussie, I’m used to preferential voting systems!

Dot March 15, 2010 7:22 PM

Travis McHale is the best!

Kurushio – “No inflammable items”???
Shouldn’t that be “No FLAMMABLE Items”?

Leave a comment


Allowed HTML <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre> Markdown Extra syntax via https://michelf.ca/projects/php-markdown/extra/

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.