One change to the US quarter this year has gone mostly unnoticed. The portrait of George Washington on the coin, which had faced left since its first appearance in 1932, flipped to face right in 2022.
The new portrayal of Washington is a design by American sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser that had been recommended in 1931 to adorn the coin, but was snubbed in favor of John Flanagan’s left-facing offering.
Going left used to be the norm - on currency and on corporate logos. In the early 20th century, as marketing and branding began their development, the design of many logos was based in the centuries-old traditions of heraldry. One of these was that figures on a heraldic shield should face the viewer’s left, because that was the shield-bearer’s right, and it was his perspective, not the eye of the beholder, that mattered.
But over the years, right-facing marks have won out. By 1960, a survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation showed that Americans overwhelmingly viewed rightward logos more positively than their opposites. Perhaps it’s only natural in a culture where we read from left to right, but logos facing right were also seen as moving “forward.”
Today, right-facing logos now predominate. Of the 62 Fortune 500 logos that can be said to be facing or moving laterally, 82 percent go right.
Any company can face its logo to the right, but those wishing to truly differentiate their branding by bucking convention might want to consider looking left.
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