1989 Skate America Pin: Crossword Puzzle Effect.

Profile: Lapel Pin – 1989 Skate America, Indianapolis, Indiana

By 1989, more than seven years had elapsed since a major figure skating championship had been contested in Indianapolis, Indiana. The last was the 1982 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, held in January of that year at the old Market Square Arena (since demolished). But that all changed when 1989 Skate America came to the city in October, a competition that was commemorated with a more unique pin when compared to most prior Skate America events.

The parallelogram design of the 1988 Skate America pin set a new standard by varying in shape from the plethora of ordinary circular and rectangular event pins usually seen. So then along comes 1989 Skate America with a pin designed in the shape of the host state, Indiana. Interestingly, the state outline is done with significant detail, showing the circuitous path of the Ohio River that divides the southern border of Indiana from neighboring Kentucky and the similarly irregular border between southwestern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. The pin is nicely done, and although the shape certainly was a refreshing change, the pin wasn’t a home run by any means.

Although the shape of the 1989 Skate America pin certainly was a refreshing change, it wasn’t a home run by any means.

The familiar red and blue skater pictogram used on most Skate America pins since 1981 makes another prominent appearance at the center of the pin. And in an homage to the 1981 pin, the words “Skate America” sit just above the skaters and are designed in a similar font and reversed to blue from a gold color surrounding them. The year “1989” is at the top of the pin, centered horizontally. On a gold color base metal, the pin measures approximately 3/4″ x 1‑3/16″ (1.9 cm x 3 cm).

Where things go a bit wrong is with the arrangement of the city and state, just below and to the left of the pictogram. The crossword puzzle styling, with “Indianapolis” running vertically and “Indiana” trailing horizontally from the third “i” in Indianapolis, is rather predictable and a bit amateurish. It may have been a better design decision to stack the city and state names in a more traditional way in the white space just below the skaters, even when considering that the size of the lettering would have needed to be smaller. The crossword puzzle effect is a perfect example of the old saying, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1989 Skate America Pin: Crossword Puzzle Effect. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.

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