Born in coffee shop conversations in Charmington’s Cafe in 2011, the Made in Baltimore concept was originally a passion project of a group of local designers and thinkers in Baltimore’s tech sector. A group of small, independent firms felt they were witnessing a burgeoning innovation economy in Baltimore, being led by the tech, design, and maker communities, and sought to create a banner under which to unite them. Among them were Chris Ashworth (Founder of Figure 53), Pres Adams (co-founder of Impact Hub Baltimore), Jess Gartner (Founder of Allovue) and Elizabeth Eadie, a freelance designer and entrepreneur.
Eadie designed the Made In Baltimore logo, and along with her collaborators started madewithloveinbaltimore.org, an online directory of creative businesses in the city. The logo was used by some of the businesses as a promotional tool for a while, but without an organization to manage it, it’s use ebbed over the next couple years.
In 2015, the Industrial Arts Collective sought to create a pop-up shop that would feature exclusively locally-made products, and borrowed the logo to brand their project. The shop was so successful that the organizers decided to turn the logo into an ongoing local brand program. Today, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability runs the Made In Baltimore program dedicated to strengthening the maker/manufacturer sector in Baltimore City.
If you’ve ever noticed that the logo looks like a bottle cap, that’s because it is. The logo itself is evocative of the history of manufacturing in Baltimore in the most simple way: the dimples and circular shape are loosely modeled to look like a bottle cap, which originated in Baltimore City back in 1892 by William Painter. Crown Cork & Seal would become one of the country’s largest bottle cap makers and distributors from their massive plant in Highlandtown. The bottle caps aren’t made here anymore, but the Crown Cork & Seal complex remains a landmark of Baltimore City manufacturing, and is home to several of the Made in Baltimore member businesses.