Oliver Lundquist, Head of UN logo design team passes away

January 10th, 2009
United Nations Logo Design

United Nations Logo

Oliver Lincoln Lundquist, 92 – architect and industrial designer who is most known for leading the team that designed the famous logo of the United Nations has died at his home due to prostate cancer in Manhattan, New York.

He served in the US Navy and OSS (precursor of the modern CIA) as a Lieutenant during World War II in which he worked with the team assigned for preparing presentations for Joints Chief of Staff and the Washington press corps. In 1945 after the war, his team was given the task to develop an insignia which could be turned into a wearable pin for delegates of the San Francisco meeting of the newly-formed United Nations in which the charter of this organization was to be signed. Donald McLaughlin, a graphic artist of his team came up with a design with the world map surrounded with olive leaves, known as symbol of peace in a number of cultures around the world. The insignia became popular with the conference representatives and was adopted officially as the logo of United Nations.

United Nations Original Logo Design

United Nations Original Logo

According to Lundquist, the blue used in the UN logo design was “the opposite of red, the war color.” The original UN logo was made in an azimuthal projection, which focused on North Pole and the continents rotated around this concentric circle. The original map featured the United States in the central position which according to Lunquist was done because the USA housed this global organization. The map ended just above Argentina which was not part of the United Nations at the time. During subsequent years, the logo underwent several revisions and eventually included all countries of the world.

Oliver Lincoln Lundquist later on in his life joined as partner, the architecture design firms Van Der Lanken & Lundquist and Lundquist & Stonehill and went on to design and renovate several well-known New York city landmarks.