After he saw my Space Shuttle patch design, Erik Lindbergh, the grandson of the famous aviator, asked me if I wanted to design a logo for "LEAP". An inspiration came to me instantly, and that same night I made the concept sketch shown below.
LEAP stands for Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize. It is a suite of new technology awards designed to stimulate meaningful advances in the fledgling electric aircraft industry. LEAP's aims to bring electric flight to more people and serves as a vehicle for creating a powerful project-based curriculum that will address the need for effective science, technology, engineering and math education.
My vision for the LEAP logo was a jumping figure, making great strides, stretching the technology, reaching for a star that represents an attainable goal that is just within grasp. I wanted to emphasize upward movement, so the arms, legs, proud chest, head, and star all point in that direction. The star, itself, has a separate inner part that looks like an arrowhead pointing skyward (and in retrospect, resembles a paper airplane). The outstretched "wings" of the star represent both literal flight and flights of fancy associated with dreams of progress. They also represent the idea of students "stretching their wings" by discovering their own abilities through the LEAP educational programs.
My original concept had the figure bounding over a shadow, representing the overcoming of obstacles. I also had thoughts of including a subtle reference to Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis with an arch element in the shadow. But, Erik didn't want to overemphasize that aspect. As it turns out, the head ended up looking similar in shape to what I had sketched for the shadow, and its crescent moon form provides a good companion for the star.
I adapted the LEAP logo for use as a physical trophy to present to prize winners. At right is a concept rendering. Erik's response when seeing it for the first time was, "Damn that looks good!"
The first trophy representing the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize was awarded to Yuneec, Sonex, and Axel Lange on July 30, 2010. The ceremony was held at the World Electric Aircraft Symposium at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.