McHenry Conundrum Yields Universal Benefit
The impetus for offering this project is, of course, my ongoing but as yet unrequited effort to aid and abet the elected representatives and appointed officials of McHenry County, Illinois in their crusade to redesign the current County Seal and thus end the years of humiliation we’ve suffered from affixing to our documents a seal that is “boring” and “not readily identifiable.”1
I now realize that my previous design suggestions, despite their pristine qualities, may have been out of step with the realpolitik of the region. Happily, a new vision has been revealed unto me that is nothing less than a quantum leap forward in the universe of county seals. Further, while my local loyalties compel me to offer it first to McHenry County, it is readily adaptable to other political entities.
Key to this concept is the enlightenment of the citizenry as to the practical and aesthetic aspects of seal design, which leads us to …
The Design A Seal Project
There are two philosophically disparate strategies for designing governmental seals, (1) the centralized tactic traditionally used by monarchs, emperors, czars, dictators, and county boards and (2) the more populist, every man a king approach. For this project, let’s call these The McHenry Method and the Heck of a Guy Hack, respectively.
Method #1: The McHenry Method
1. A committee or two
2. A computer specialist
A few weeks for the design process plus time needed for discussion and voting for approval
Fee or salary of computer specialist
1. Somehow decide the County’s current seal is “boring”
2. Stipulate that the new seal will be based on the county flag
3. Hire “computer specialist” to design the new boring seal
4. Wait for delivery of draft of new seal
5. Debate and vote on new design, repeat as necessary
Method #2: The Heck of a Guy Hack
1. Use of a computer with access to the Internet
Pro-rated expense of computer and Internet access ($2-5 at Internet cafe)
An exposition of the Heck of a Guy Hack technique, created by modestly revising Signed, (Officially) Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours, a Heck of a Guy post originally published over a year ago, follows:
Signed, (Officially) Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours
Here I am baby
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m yours
From Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Frost may or may not have been correct when he wrote, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” but it’s inarguable that “No one there ain’t who, on occasion, wouldn’t find having ones own official seal darn handy.”
Oh, I suppose one could, for example, spend four years working ones way through medical school and another three or four years in a residency just to qualify to take a couple of exams, which one must then pass to earn a document with a nifty seal to hang on the wall of a Michigan Avenue office to convince patients that they are being treated by an “official” psychiatrist.
But perhaps you are possessed of the kind of noble spirit and independent demeanor that precludes begging a professional guild, governmental agency, educational institution, or other bureaucracy for that entity’s seal of approval to build a house, claim diplomatic immunity, or perform neurosurgery. If that’s the case, why not skip the time-consuming and annoying asking permission part by affixing your own seal of approval?
See what I mean by having an official seal being “darn handy?”
Yep, nothing says official like an official seal.
Nor is there is no reason to limit oneself to one seal. While I am quite taken by the black and white retro look of the Heck Of A Guy Official Seal at the top of this post, the macho federalism of the First Alternative Heck Of A Guy Official Seal shown below has its own appeal. Besides, what better evidence could there be that ones seal is genuine than its proximity to another seal appended to the same document?
And now, thanks to the Official Seal Generator, obtaining ones own official seal is so much easier and cheaper than grinding through med school or bribing a county official.
Go thee hence to the Official Seal Generator
Then, follow the site’s instructions, “Enter some text, choose a border and an emblem, pick your colors, and click the ‘Go’ button. An Official Seal will be generated for you.”
May the certification be with you.
The Non-Mechanical Issues
Obviously, one cannot learn everything necessary to create an official seal by reading one Heck of a Guy post and spending a few minutes with the incredible Official Seal Generator.
No, it turns out that one has to read two Heck of a Guy posts to garner absolute and complete knowledge of official seal design in order to use the Official Seal Generator with optimal effect.
Part 2 of this tutorial is necessary if, for example, one is to avoid mistakes such as the one described in this excerpt from Heck of a Guy post, Oops & Phooey: Seal Broken:
While preparing the graphic for yesterday’s post, Epistemological Revision Enlarges Human Experience – Unless It Destroys The Universe, In Which Case I Apologize, I noticed a smudge on the Heck Of A Guy emblem and, obsessive-compulsive that I am, revved up Photoshop to buff that sucker into pristine condition. Closer examination, however, revealed that the smudge was, in fact, a trademark symbol (“TM”) set in a font size visible only those under 21 or an adult using an electron microscope.
Ultimately, the only problem created by my faux pas was the necessity of redesigning my seal.3 It could have been worse, as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors discovered when that body was first threatened with an ACLU lawsuit unless it removed a nearly invisible cross from its seal and then was sued because it did consequently remove that cross. The only means by which this story’s Kafka Score could have been increased would have been if the suit triggered by LA County’s elimination of the cross from the seal had also been instigated by the ACLU, which led the legal fight to cleanse the seal of this problematic symbol; in actuality, it was another set of lawyers who brought the suit protesting the cross loss on behalf of a LA County employee – but a guy can dream, can’t he? The former and current LA County Seals are displayed below with the troublesome cross circled in blue on the old seal.
Part 2 of How To Create A Superior Seal will include legal commentary, the graphic design principles of a good official seal, and some suggestions for using the Official Seal Generator.
And, of course, the final solution to the McHenry County Seal problem is still in the offing._____________________
- See the following:
- Sealed With A Dis
The Great Seal Of McHenry County Not Great Enough
McHenry County Eye Candy
McHenry County Seal Makeover Makes The News
Baseball, Hot Dogs, Community College, and County Seals
The Passive-Aggressive State of Illinois Seal
- The design process requires 15-20 minutes for the first attempt. Once familiar with the process, the time needed decreases/ [↩]
- The account of the development of the current and legal Heck of a Guy seal can be found at (It Seems Like) The 7th Seal [↩]