Sunday, May 29, 2011

Graphics from the Deep: Submarine Insignia by Ray Young

U.S.S. Loggerhead

Believe me, I wasn’t looking for submarine insignia, when I came across this torpedo-toting loggerhead turtle. But when I saw him in his teeny tiny sailor hat at the University of Wisconsin (Wisconsin Maritime Museum) digital archive, I knew I was meant to post it. Not only is it Memorial Day weekend, it is also Fleet Week in New York and there are sailors everywhere.

The menacing loggerhead was one of 14 submarine insignia designed by Ray Young, a product designer at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company. Manitowoc built 28 submarines during WWII, the last 10 of which had emblems designed by Young. Due to the stealth nature of submarines, a logo is not displayed on the vessel itself, but it is printed on stationery, made into jacket patches, mess hall items, and home-port flags.

Young’s illustration talents were discovered during an in-house “bake-off,” to design the emblem for U.S.S. Kete. His piece, a fish blowing a torpedo from its mouth, was a huge hit and once other commanders saw it, he was flooded with logo requests. “I knocked out an insignia every month,” Young said in an interview with the Herald Times Reporter.

Young also designed four insignia for subs from the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut.

U.S.S. Kete

U.S.S. Kraken
This insignia for the U.S.S. Kraken earned the
distinction of “most outstanding sub insignia in World War II.”

U.S.S. Macbai

U.S.S. Menhaden

U.S.S. Lagarto commissioning party invitation

U.S.S. Corsair

U.S.S. Halfbeak


  1. Hello! I'm a brazilian submarinist retired. I worked in Submarine Humaitá (Oberon Class), Submarine Bahia (ex USS Sea Leopard) and Submarine Tamoio (first built in Brazil). Now i'm a graphic designer student and i would like to do a search about submarines insignias. Could you help me indicating sites or books about the subject? Thanks a lot! PS. I really like the turtle!

  2. I just found your blog doing a google search and wanted to say thank you for it! Ray Young was my grandfather. What a great piece on his work. He was very proud of the insignia that he produced for the submarines you mentioned. I have photos of all fourteen, if you are interested. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails