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Energy Department will pay you $5,000 to design a new logo for plug-in cars

The Ford Focus Electric car is displayed next to a home charging station at the L.A. Auto Show in Los Angeles on Nov. 29, 2012. (Jae C. Hong/AP)
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The Department of Energy is giving away $5,000 in cash to a creative individual who can design a logo for its plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) program.

But there are a few specific limitations on the creative process.

DOE is looking for a new logo that “can evoke through imagery ideas of: Electricity, the ‘fun’ factor of PEVs, PEVs’ cost savings, environmental sustainability  and energy security,” according to the contest entry rules.

That’s a lot to fit on  one bumper-sticker-sized design, so DOE helpfully (or intrusively depending on your opinion of government) took away some of the decision-making. Like the colors. You have two choices for a main color: shades of dark blue or dark green. The agency even provided a list of specific color codes to use, like Pantone 7484 or HEX 007934. And for accent colors, the logo can include only light blue, light green, yellow, red and/or light gray.

DOE also prefers the font  “Gotham,” described on as “an honest tone that’s assertive but never imposing, friendly but never folksy, confident but never aloof.” If that font is unavailable, the feds will accept “Calibri” as a suitable backup.

Although all entries will be the same colors and in the same fonts, originality and creativity are worth 300 of a possible 1000 points on the judges’ scorecard. And the logo, according to entry rules, “should be unique enough that it could be easily recognized by the general public in the future.”

The new logo will represent EV Everywhere, a White House initiative to make electric vehicles as affordable as gasoline-powered cars by 2022. The winning design will “help individuals realize that PEVs are a viable option for them, and position DOE as the definitive resource for unbiased, objective information about PEVs.”

Act fast. Entries are due Sept. 25, 2015, and the winner will be announced Oct. 26, 2015.