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It’s winter and there is cheer in the air with twinkling lights, glitter, shimmer and sparkle around every corner. Oh joy! The holidays are festive and fun – why not sprinkle that pizzaz into some of our more mundane functional items for a little additional cheer?

Today’s festive target is the email signature.

Email signatures are common and often overlooked during the sea of hundreds, or thousands of daily correspondences. With so many other pressing issues on the drawing board, we hardly give them much thought until more information is needed – what was her extension again? Where should I send these drawings? It is functional and necessary, end of story.

Or is it?

Today I took on the annual task of updating our office email signature to notify our clients when we will be closed during the holidays. Critical information to assist with project deadlines and schedules …  and similar to most things that cross my path, I immediately saw a design opportunity waiting in the wings. Score.

So let’s get started.

If you haven’t paid close attention to the The Gates + Associates
Logo before now, no problem. Here is very the brief recap to get you up to speed: It is made up of 4 shades of green in a square. It is a representation of hills and a landscape. The arch of the hill reflects the G for “Gates”. That is months worth of design boiled down to two sentences.

And if you are a visual learner, like me – here is the image.


The challenge is to add some seasonal flair to our standard logo while also remaining holiday neutral.  (No favoritism to Christmas here!) And because it is just too much fun to perform these types of creative tasks, do not get lazy and just recycle last years in an effort to save time and miss this opportunity.

Here is last years. Tempting to reuse, right?

Signature Gift Tag

No. Push through and get designing.

Cheerful holly, rustic wreaths, subtle snow, a strand of lights – the possibilities are plentiful. Today, however, the pine cone stood above the rest. Hey, they even grow on trees and we are in the landscape design industry. Win/win.

So what happens when our logo meetings a pine cone? A simple deconstruction.


From this starting pine cone, 14 designs were born. After an office wide vote we were able to narrow it down to 3. (Modifications and suggestions where also supplied during this time, bringing the choices up to 18. Not shocking in an office full of designers! Ha.)

Since we could not get a clear winner, we now have 3 office signatures for people to pick from. Feel free to email various members of our staff to see which was there personal favorite.



This pine cone will soon find it’s way into our holiday cards, gifts and other materials, so keep an eye out.

I hope you have enjoyed the tale of the pine cone signature and it has inspired you to add a little extra cheer to your day.

Happy Holidays!