Every once in a while we have the opportunity to design a manufactured object. Our creative process on these types of projects involves re-examining scale, proportion, and aesthetics. Although we’ve worked on a number of commercial and industrial products, we have been fortunate to partner with the Garden Grove Police Department to create the city’s 2012 Chief’s Coin of Merit.
The Chief’s Coin of Merit program was launched in 2011 by Garden Grove Chief of Police, Kevin J. Raney in an effort to foster public trust and maintain a positive relationship with the local community. The coin is awarded by each police officer to outstanding citizens who have gone above and beyond to embody the values of courage, courtesy, and commitment. These “Good Samaritans” help advance the department’s mission through exceptional acts of valor.
Chief Raney designed the first annual coin himself, but solicited the support of his fellow officers for the 2012 design. That’s when our good friend and Police Officer Jason Perkins approached us with the project. Related Grey was glad to accept the opportunity to submit a unique original design for the coin.
We wanted to capture several elements, such as unity, patriotism, and pride. The interlaced G’s presented in the initial design portrayed unity between the community and the police department. To manifest law enforcement, we placed a silhouette of a police badge inlaid with the American flag for patriotism. On the flipside of the coin we incorporated four stars to represent the rank of the Chief of Police. Several typographical components were chosen to reflect the community’s public spirit, such as the “In God We Trust” expression found on most American coins. We selected words such as “valiance”, “boldness”, and “fearless” to elicit character traits of the coin’s recipient. Related Grey’s first vector design (right image), as well as some basic 3D renders (image below) were presented to Officer Perkins who consulted with his department to provide several changes.
The department considered the diverse cultural make-up of Garden Grove and decided to remove the expression “In God We Trust”. The badge on the face of the coin was replaced with the city’s police badge, widely used throughout the community in other civic art. The words surrounding the edge of the coin were changed to “courage”, “courtesy”, and “commitment” to reflect the motto of the police department—a motto also written on the side of all department vehicles. Placement of other elements (e.g., the year) was modified, and the Police Chief’s buzz phrase for the coin, Chief’s Coin of Merit, was added.
Officer Perkins submitted the final design for consideration and two months later we received news that our design had been selected and was going to mint (right image).
Every Garden Grove police officer is given one coin to hand out. They must write an explanation explaining the merits of the recipient and hand it in to their chief. You can read the memo given to rG written by Officer Jason Perkins HERE.
Chief Raney also host an annual dinner for all the year's coin recipients. There will be one for the 2012 recipients around January of 2013. We look forward to being there!
It was our pleasure and honor to serve the City of Garden Grove in this small but significant piece of work. We hope that it will greatly help the community in many ways.
To hear interviews with the Chief about the program and learn more about the coin’s first recipient and his amazing heroic story that cost him his life, watch this video made by the Garden Grove News.