Why you can’t just slap our logo on your (booty) shorts

Why you can’t just slap our logo on your (booty) shorts

Welcome to the inside scoop on Gatewear’s logo lore!  

For as long as Xander and I (GingerBeer) have been involved with steering the ship here at Gatewear (that’s a decade, if you’re counting), there’s been a steadfast rule: our yearly logo cannot be used by anyone other than Gatewear (and department management on rare exceptions, and only with permission from the head of the department). Not even the logo designer is allowed to print or create pieces with their logo once it’s been accepted as that years’ design. 

Reserved strictly for our official swag, this emblem marks more than your average flair—it’s a badge of honor, a beacon of responsibility that shines across the dusty dances and dazzling chaos of Burning Man.

Our logo is like a not-so-secret handshake. It says that you’re one of the few who maybe actually knows what the fuck they’re doing out in the wild, wild waste of the playa. It's our ticket to being taken seriously amid the chaos of traffic in the lanes, the trash fence in a Perimeter vehicle, the sob stories of D-Lot, and a bunch of other places. So, let’s dive into why this little piece of art on our t-shirts is actually a big deal, and why we guard it like our second-to-last drop of water in the desert.

The Official Badge of Duty

Amidst the pulsating microcosm of Burning Man creativity and chaos, our GP&E logos aren’t just a fashion statement. Think of it as the superhero cape for the unsung heroes of the playa.

When someone sports this logo, it’s not just about the cool custom design that can be seen hanging off of the Hackura while you’re off on an art tour. It’s a signal to all participants, and others, that the person in front of them isn’t just another reveler but someone who can guide, assist, and even help manage emergencies.

And let’s be real: in a place where your neighbor might be dressed as a giant taco, distinguishing the folks who actually hold responsibilities is crucial. It ensures that when you need help, or when you need someone who knows what’s up with the logistics of this behemoth event, you find the right person, not someone who just looks the part.

Why Only the Chosen Few?

You might be thinking, "Hey, it’s Burning Man! Shouldn’t everything be free and shared, including the cool swag?" Well, we’re picky about who gets to wear our logos for a good reason. It’s not just about looking official; it’s about being official. Each person wearing our logo carries the weight of responsibility—we’re trained, knowledgeable, and, most importantly, actually equipped to help. We’re not just wearing a costume; we’re wearing a commitment.

Think of our logo as the guardian of the gate—not just the literal gate, but the metaphorical one that keeps the event fun and not a free-for-all disaster. 

Here’s the scoop: when everyone knows that only certain humans are designated to wear the logo, it creates a circle of trust. This isn’t about elitism; it’s about ensuring that when a participant approaches someone with our logo, they’re approaching someone who won’t just nod and smile but will actually know how to handle the situation—whether it’s getting them through the gate and to their camp, managing a mini-crisis, or helping tens of thousands of people safely exit the city and head for home. 

Earning Your Stripes (and Swag)

So, how do you get to be one of the folks flaunting the official GP&E logo at Burning Man? It’s not as simple as showing up and looking enthusiastic (though that never hurts). Here’s the lowdown on how you earn your stripes—and your swag.

First off, if you want to rock the yearly logo, the one that changes each year of the event to keep things fresh and exciting, you’ve got to put in the work. Specifically, you need to volunteer with the GP&E department for at least three shifts during that year. If you’re a New Blood, your full training shift counts as one of your 3 shifts. If you’re a returning volunteer, refresh trainings don’t count - you’ll need to clock 3 full shifts to qualify.

Taking a year (or more) off, don’t dig the cliquishness of the yearly logo, or just want something different? Enter the evergreen logo. This one’s for the long-haulers, the dedicated souls who’ve worked three or more shifts across any year(s) and continue to be in good standing with the department. 

Why so serious about a logo?

Because at Burning Man, amidst the whirlwind of creativity and freedom, the GP&E logo is more than just a cool design – it denotes perceived authority and responsibility. By restricting the logo wear to those who have truly earned it, we not only maintain order but also cherish and uphold the values that make our department the unique cultural phenomenon it is. This isn’t about exclusivity for the sake of prestige; it's about preserving the integrity of a community that relies on each other to navigate the challenges and joys of the playa.

So next time you see that logo, know that it’s worn by someone who has dedicated their time and energy to make Burning Man an experience that’s as incredible as possible. And if you’re aspiring to wear one yourself, keep an eye out for those shift sign-ups.

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