I worked closely with the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center to create a logo for their Girls in Science and Technology (GIST) program. This program, usually held at the Museum, was moved to a virtual program during COVID-19. Girls in grades 3–8 are the target audience, which I always consider when picking typefaces and styles.
The inspiration for this comes from their mission to bridge the gender gap in STEM. Girls in Science and Technology (GIST) is a fun, educational, hands-on program that provides girls with experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Using the pre-existing dark blue associated with the museum, I added a few more youthful colors to gear it more towards kids, while still calling back to the museum. The swoosh over the 'G' is a callback to the helicopter's swoosh in the original museum logo, but what was fun was that it could also be interpreted as an orbit in space. Bubbles dotting the eye could be read as planets or fizzing bubbles from a beaker. The abstract nature of this encourages imagination and interpretation from the girls in the program. Luckily, planets and beakers both represent GIST, as they teach both astronomy and chemistry!
Another benefit of the GIST program is that they provide girls with female role models. They study STEM disciplines at local universities and work in STEM at local companies and academic institutions. When reviewing designs together, we realized, yet again, how 'male' the museum's perspective has been in the past. They've never had anything with a helicopter designed to be female. With that in mind, I created "Jean," making her a new mascot for the kid's play area, pop in character for CTAs, etc.
We decided to name her Jean. Jean is short for Jean Ross Howard Phelan, who established the Whirly-Girls, an organization for female helicopter pilots that started with 13 members and now has several thousand. The museum has a small exhibit on them, which made it a perfect choice.