AMHS unveils new logo for 50th anniversary

Circular seal part of ferry system's 'branding effort'

The Alaska Marine Highway System rolled out a new logo to commemorate the state-run ferry system’s 50th anniversary Monday, announcing the news to subscribers of its email newsletter.


The new logo contains “a lot of symbolic things,” said Mike Neussl, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ deputy commissioner for marine operations, and was adopted as part of the 50th anniversary celebration at the AMHS.

“In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Marine Highway System, we decided we needed a logo to commemorate that,” Neussl explained.

The AMHS was officially formed in 1963, after several years of the territory, and later the state, operating a single ferry in Southeast Alaska.

Danielle Adkins, the ferry system’s marketing director, said the AMHS has wanted a new logo for several years now and is using the anniversary as a “launch pad.”

The circular logo, which replaces the previous logo of a ferry ship next to the words “Alaska Marine Highway,” centers around a ferry in the water with “Alaska Marine Highway” arranged in a circle around it. An orange banner on the logo’s left side reads “50 Years.”

“The ‘50th’ banner will be removed after the 2013 calendar year … and our remaining logo will stay the same,” Neussl said.

The logo’s blue and white color scheme, Neussl said, is meant to represent the ocean and whitecaps on its waves.

The way the ferry is pictured in the design is also significant, Neussl added.

“The vessel is moving forward … it’s the Alaska Marine Highway System moving forward for the next 50 years,” said Nuessl.

Neussl said the circular design is meant to imitate the portholes of ocean-going ships, but he also said it has an advantage over the old rectangular logo in terms of it being reproduced.

“It’s easier to keep in proportion because it’s a circle instead of a rectangle,” Neussl said. “We have had difficulty with our previous logo being distorted because you stretch it in one direction and not the other.”

Adkins said the new design has value that the old logo did not.

“What we really were looking for was something that could not only be used in print advertising … but we needed something that would be scalable and would also work for, like, our gift shop items, and our embroidery on uniforms,” said Adkins.

Tina Lindgren, vice president of the Anchorage marketing firm Bradley Reid + Associates, said her firm submitted a series of logo designs and variations to the AMHS, which is one of Lindgren’s clients, based on its criteria.

From the designs offered for consideration, Lindgren said, the one unveiled Monday was ultimately selected.

“We’re really happy with the logo that they selected, in particular because we do so many ads, (so) it’s really nice to have an updated logo,” said Lindgren. “It really moves them forward, I think, in the look and feel and treatment of their advertising, too.”

Adkins added, “It will be the new brand of the system, so I expect you’ll see it just about everywhere.”

The AMHS spent about $10,000 on its new logo, according to Lindgren, though she said she could not break down how much of that went into each phase of the process.

“In total, they have a $200,000 budget for the entire anniversary, and it came out of that budget,” Lindgren said.

Those on AMHS’ Sea News mailing list were appraised of the new design, which can also be seen on the AMHS website, before other members of the public, according to Neussl.

“Folks that are interested in the Marine Highway System subscribe to that,” said Neussl of Sea News. “They usually get the first new information about what’s happening on the Marine Highway System, so that was one of them.”

“That’s kind of our avenue for rolling out things first,” Adkins added. “So our Sea News subscribers usually hear things before anybody else does.”

The AMHS is set to announce several new “initiatives” related to the 50th anniversary celebration over the next few weeks, according to Adkins.

“There will be a lot of exciting things coming real soon,” Adkins said.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at


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