Is This The Real First Chris-Craft Logo?

Pre Trademark Logo on Hull? Or boat name?

As part of our time digging into old photos and ads from the 1922 Chris Craft world, one thing popped out to me as a designer and font lover. The Very early Chris Craft logo font! Now, this was not a trademarked logo until the 1930’s, but you can see an attempt to create a look and feel. Maybe a bit complex for speed and ability for others to apply.

Note the A and R are the same as the Chris Craft logo on the hull at the top of the story

Rose Mary Font on CC#1

Same R, A and H is a similar font to the A with duel cross stroke. The C adn R have a slight loop at the end. I would imagine this was adjusted since it looks like a G. The Dash looks like it stayed with the Pre War Logo

But before the Pre War Logo there appears to be a Pre Trademark Logo! There, we have coined a new term for the judges. Now to be fair, it appears that this sort of type was just around 1922 ish and before the 1930 year, the pre war logo was done.

So, here is it all makes sense from a graphic standards point of view. Chris Smith % Sons was the company, Chris Craft was A Craft, built by Chris Smith. Like a Mustang is a Ford. At some point it made sense to stream line the name to Chris Craft, and you can see the genus of Chris Craft and Marketing that early into the history of the company. MARKETING. I can imagine the meetings to discuss all that now. The fights, the family issues. WOW. These most iconic brand of boats on earth and it started in a human way.

And this variation on the name. Chris Smith Craft

It sure is fun to find a subtle detail on a cold winter day. Just about 3 weeks from Lake Dora time! Woohoo, have you sighhned up yet? Found a room? Got some shorts out!

10 replies
  1. Sean
    Sean says:

    Sorry, but I don’t think I buy the building of a brand image master plan through font & dedicated marketing… It’s just the lettering guy and it went something like:

    Hey get “Joe” to paint ROSE MARY he’s got a steady hand. And then… “Joe” just became the guy that painted all the boats. The name shortened for practicality. Hey “Joe” paint Chris Craft on that boat… The font is just “Joes” idea of something fancy. The similarities are there because “Joe” did them all. I look in my mothers school books from about the same era (1930’s) where they had taught many exercises for penmanship and calligraphy. She had beautiful handwriting. “Joe” just did it with a paintbrush.

    Down the road when the company got bigger and started to advertise in print they probably said: “Make the name like Joe paints on the hull. That looks nice”. I’m sure the terms “logotype” or “font” never came up. They never considered the engagement rate or, inbound marketing effects due to the look of “Joes” painting style. No focus groups were consulted and no analytics on the long-tail keyword were done. It just looked nice right from the start and that’s who they became. It was a simpler time. But, you can believe anything you want ’cause it’s all conjecture.

  2. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    As a fellow ad guy, Matt, I pay a lot of attention to fonts. (In fact, right now I am sitting in a conference room, about to present a new font and identity program to a very large company.) And I’ve always felt that fonts were the Achilles heel of restoration. If you’re going to pay attention to every other detail, shouldn’t you choose a font that’s appropriate to the era of the boat? I’m no boat show judging nerd, but it seems like that should be considered.

  3. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Well, I’m sure that even young Chris Smith couldn’t tell us since he didn’t arrive until 1927..So we may never know…Meantime, I kinda like Sean’ explanation

  4. Briant
    Briant says:

    No offense to anyone but I see that that marketers and salesmen haven’t changed in decades….Mr Chris said that anyone could afford to own his boat…..I seriously doubt that claim. $3200 back then is about $46,000 today…and not everyone could easily blow $45k on a toy today. In the days prior to unions and workers rights, $3200 was a boatload of cash. Even more difficult then in 1921-24….

  5. Dean
    Dean says:

    Interesting font discussion but I am more facinated that the direction of the funnel/vents is different in the two boats shown in the ad and by the windshield on 67-A that seems more modern than the flat windshields seen on most Chris Craft triples of the 20’s.

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