Several years ago, I started to take notice of a logo I would see every once in a while. It wasn’t a particularly great logo by the design standards that I had been taught, but it was catching. A train passing by every once in a while would have some freight containers loaded onboard, and every so often one of the containers was emblazoned with a cheerful alligator. Not only was this beefy green alligator illustrated to look ridiculously happy, but he had a shipping container slung over his shoulder and a ship anchor tattooed on his other shoulder – hilarious!
I became obsessed – it seemed like everywhere I went I was seeing shipping containers with this guy on them. I quickly learned that the logo was for an intermodal shipping company called Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and the happy alligator had been around for quite some time.
I decided that the first thing I needed was a t-shirt with this logo on it so I could wear it everywhere. It’s safe to say that every one of us here is pretty t-shirt oriented. So, I began my search like any red-blooded American does and I Google’d it. I found that the logo does have a cult following, plenty of people love finding it and taking pictures of it. It finds itself on many flickr streams and blogs. One blog in particular, though, had my final answer.
A fellow t-shirt lover, John, had gone on a similar quest. In summary, he used MOL’s online contact form to gush about the logo and ask if they had t-shirts available. Unfortunately, their answer was no. To John’s surprise, though, the reply came directly from MOL Corporate Communications manager Ed Huebbe, who added, “I am glad to hear that you are so fond of our beloved gator. Attached are two of the highest resolution JPEGs I have available.” However, the unfortunate “no” response also included the following invitation: “Sorry, we don’t have any shirts. But I don’t see why you couldn’t make one or two for yourself.” John’s surprise was now my surprise as well, I already loved this logo, but now I just love this whole corporate entity.
Through official corporate channels and John’s foresight to write his blog post about his experience, it was now possible for me to realize my dream, and realize it as I saw fit. Though it was infinitely awesome of them to provide the JPEG version of the logo, it simply wouldn’t do for me. I opened up Illustrator and got to work. Within a few hours, I had cleaned up the raster file and now have a really nice vector version of the logo; problem solved. This gave me the ability to size it up and have a shirt made.
Unfortunately, you’ll never see this puppy on the Oxide Design Co. store, because in Ed’s response to John, MOL politely asked that the logo not be reproduced in an attempt to make a profit. But you can have the vector art that I created and make one for yourself, just as I did! Enjoy!