The event may still be the subject of rumour and doubt, but the Grand Prix of America is pressing ahead with its bid to join the 2013 F1 schedule, with a logo launch the latest stage of its brand-building exercise.

The Olympics does it with five interlocking rings, Wimbledon does it with crossed racquets, so organisers of the Grand Prix of America - to be staged at Port Imperial on the shores of the Hudson River in New Jersey next June - knew they had to rise to the challenge as they began to establish a brand for their event.

After reviewing dozens of renderings, the group chose a blue-and-red logo that features a stylized Statue of Liberty crown over a chequered-flag helmet, anchored by a single star - but the image also has a hidden, artistic layer.

"If you lay the logo over the Statue of Liberty face, the flag works perfectly with the hair, and one of the chequers in the flag and the star line up with her eyes," graphic designer Aaron Justus divulged, "There's a link that may not be obvious to every viewer, but it's really cool how it worked out."

The logo was created by Racer Media and Marketing, a media and design agency directed by president Paul Pfanner. Although the Grand Prix of America staff considered a number of concepts, the Statue of Liberty was key to everyone. The iconic monument, which represents freedom and international friendship, graces the Hudson River harbour between New York and New Jersey, and appears in the backdrop of views from the proposed pit straight.

Pfanner said it was a fitting symbol for the race, which will run on a 3.2-mile road course in the towns of Weehawken and West New York, fringed by the dramatic New York skyline.

"The constant, through every planning process, was the Statue of Liberty iconography," he said, "It is shared between the New York metro area and New Jersey, something that the whole region and country can claim as an identity. It registers immediately as America to people. It's international, too - it's a gift from France to this country, which is an ironic metaphor; Grand prix racing started on the roads of France and today is headquartered in Paris."

Pfanner, Justus and their associate George Tamayo worked on the brand identity for two months, in consultation with the Grand Prix of America management group. The first step was determining all that the logo needed to represent: the race and other associated events, the locale and the sport.

"We were naming the entity that was responsible for the race circuit and for the promotion and organising of the event - it was the movement of bringing America to F1, rather than F1 to America," Pfanner noted.

Then the graphics came together. The group agreed on the crown element, but Justus wanted it to be distinct.

"The challenge was using such an iconic element and not being clich? or looking like clip art," he said, having analysed 20 other logos that featured the Statue of Liberty to make sure his design was unique.

With the crown in place, Justus mixed and matched elements for the final logo. As he worked with the chequered flag, it flowed into a helmet shape, an unexpected but appropriate result. A star was added as a punctuation mark and the design trio settled on a clean, contemporary font.

"I took four straight days," Justus recalled, "I found elements, created pieces, assembled them and then moulded the logo like a piece of clay to make the proportions right. Suddenly, it came together.

"It doesn't always work out this way; there isn't a formula. This has been rare because we really liked it internally and there's not been any pushback from anybody. That's just not normal. But when people see it, they say, 'That's it!'. It makes sense.

"It has to be as powerful in one colour as it is in multiple colours. At first glance, you have to know what it's trying to say. And it has to be able to reproduce in different footprints and on different canvases. It has to be versatile."

Pfanner credited the Grand Prix of America team, led by executive chairman and promoter Leo Hindery Jr, with the vision that ultimately created the brand.

"Promoting an F1 race is a privilege, but it's also a great responsibility to the sport in general, to the communities and, of course, to the fans," Hindery said, "There is no more instant indicator of that sense of responsibility than the event's logo. We're grateful to everyone involved for giving us what will soon be, I believe, an iconic logo."

"Over time, people will look at the Grand Prix of America iconography just like they look at the wing and wheel at Indianapolis Motor Speedway," Pfanner agreed, "We believe that this can really stand as one of the pinnacle identities in F1. I'm very proud of it - I keep it on my desktop and stare at it. Everybody involved in this knew we were working on something special."


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