Keith Fleck made a corporate logo for each state in America, based on its best known brand export

The Seattle-based designer found the most recognisable brands headquartered in each state and represented that state in the style of the corporate logo.

9 September 2021

Keith Fleck has creatively spun the United States’ most iconic and recognisable corporations into branding for the states in which they are headquartered for his new personal project, The Corporate States of America. In the project, McDonald’s logo becomes the branding for Illinois, Coca Cola becomes the branding for the state of Georgia, and Nike’s branding transforms into that of Oregon.

“It was challenging,” says Fleck, who by day is a senior product manager for Microsoft, “because some states have many familiar and iconic brands, whereas in other states I had to dig a little deeper to find local celebrated companies.” However, the exercise was also fun: to “hack” each state and find the right fonts and to play with elements in order to “bring them to life”. Some logos, claims Fleck, look great on their own; you can recognise the original brand immediately, like that of Harley Davidson, Amazon, or Budweiser. But some are a little harder to figure out, especially for those who aren’t familiar with those brands.

Fleck has created several projects of logos and identities for neighbourhoods of cities, “like an older project called,” he tells It’s Nice That. He was thinking of expanding this to states and thought it’d be fun to hack popular logos and turn them into different words: “That’s when the project was born.”

As well as an exercise for the designer himself to manipulate existing fonts, colour palettes and layout, it can be a fun exercise in one’s own observational skills: I found it difficult to determine the branding for quite a few states but I felt pretty good about myself when I figured out Dunkin’ Donuts, Ben and Jerry’s, and Walmart – they represent Massachusetts, Vermont and Arkansas respectively. Somehow, I couldn’t figure out Louisiana (it’s Tabasco!). “In other states with fewer well-known brands,” says Fleck, “I had to dig deep to find local celebrated companies.”

Fleck tells us there’s nothing political about the project, it was a fun challenge for him since he’s a huge fan of branding and identity work. “But, it is a bit satirical in the sense that large corporations and companies do lobby our government. It’s not too far-fetched to say that many of the companies used in the project, inform law in some way.”

The process involved sketching and writing down notes that eventually evolved into the project idea, then researching articles, studies, and Wikipedia on the most recognisable brands in America and choosing each company headquartered in that state. Fleck then gathered all the company logos and researched what fonts were used, before breaking apart and hacking letterforms to create new ones. “For example,” he says, “the Colorado logo is referencing the Coors Brewing Company. The logo is a custom-written script, so not easily replicable. I spent time dissecting and recreating new letters based on the original script.”

View the project here.

GalleryKeith Fleck: Corporate States of America (Copyright © Keith Fleck, 2021)

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Keith Fleck: Corporate States of America (Copyright © Keith Fleck, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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