Geographic Borders as Logo Elements

I’ve got one of those opinion questions. I’m working on a logo for a volunteer organization, political-adjacent group, and while I was sketching ideas based on their original (which is the MT state outline with some text and other elements included that I’m trying to simplify) and for some reason I found myself wanting to divorce the concept from the state outline entirely. The thought just stuck that it seems a little odd to use geographic borders in logos. I thought about it a bit while I was sketching, and I remain a little conflicted.

Not odd as in unusual, because I see it all the time - at least here in Montana, and I know I’ve seen examples for some other states and countries being used in the same way - but odd in that it feels…overly specific, maybe is the right way to describe it? Geographic borders are typically either very rigid or very rough, and not every state, country, or other geographical region has a border shape that’s good for a logo design, whether it’s simplified/abstracted or reproduced completely faithfully.

Additionally, there may or may not be legal ramifications on borders, since they’re kind of a thing that are set by governments and may or may not be controversial (see the Nine-Dash Line, for example). I don’t think that applies in the situation I’m currently in, but it was something I thought of while I was thinking on the topic.

But if it’s recognizable, then it’s a pretty quick way for groups working specifically within those geographic areas to indicate that’s their focus - like in this case where it’s a “put this on the ballot for this region” sort of deal. There are other ways to indicate regional affiliation, like animals or features or symbols that exist, but then you hit whether those are recognizable for that specific area, or if they could be associated with another group or region.

TLDR, If I were to summarize, I think I’d say it feels like kind of cheap and tacky, but also effective enough that I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m curious what others think - is it something you’d try to avoid, or am I just being persnickety about nothing too important?

In the past, I did lots of work for state government agencies. Their go-to logo solutions seemed to always involve the shape of their states.

I avoided it for two reasons. First, geographic borders were never designed with aesthetics in mind, and second, it’s the obvious solution in the absence of a better idea.

There might be exceptions, though. Texas, for example, has a very recognizable and nice-looking shape that’s used so often that it’s become a situationally acceptable cliché. Montana, like my state of Utah, wasn’t quite as lucky.

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