The Secret Service was undergoing major changes in the early 1970s.. The White House Police Force was expanded and renamed the Executive Protective Service. The Secret Service had taken over the protection of visiting heads-of-state from the State Department, and for the first time in more than 100 years of Secret Service history women were being recruited and trained as agents. The leadership of the Secret Service also changed. James J. Rowley, director since 1961, was replaced by H. Stuart Knight; appointed by President Nixon in 1973. With new faces and new responsibilities came one more controversial change. Since about 1890, agents of the United States Secret Service had been proudly carrying the same silver star design as their badge. Now, Director Knight wanted it changed. In a meeting with the Office of Public Affairs, I had learned that some agents were having difficulty using the old silver star as legitimate identification of a federal agent. In Texas and other southern and western states the silver star had long been recognized and respected as the shield of law enforcement officers. However, agents in New York and other northern states were not getting the same recognition and respect. On more than one occasion an agent had been asked if he had found his badge in a box of Cracker Jacks. The director and some of the deputy directors thought a new badge design was in order. I had left that meeting with a lot to think about. How was I going to come up with a new badge design that would be recognized inter- nationally as the symbol of a United States federal agent and also placate the senior agents who would have given up their beloved silver star for something completely new? I tried to approach this design challenge as objectively and professionally as possible. First, the badge would have to be a design that garnered respect and recognition, both in southern states as well as in the north. Second, the badge needed to depict a federal and not state or local law officer. Third, a design rule I always applied to logos was that the design had to reproduce or print in black and white as well as in color, and that the logo should be recognizable even when reduced to a size of one- half inch.  The current star was black and white, but the finely engraved scrolling on the star blotted together into solid black when printed on letterhead and business cards. I did extensive research of federal badge designs dating as far back as the Civil War. Surprisingly, the final design came together fairly quickly. I decided to create both a Secret Service logo and a badge. The logo would be a five-pointed star reminiscent of the old badge, but with a little more balance. The star would be drawn in clear, simple lines to make reproduction easier. The center of the star would feature a fed-eral shield of the united states; representing the stars and stripes.  Around the shield would be printed the words, “United States Secret Service.” Finally, the color version of the star would be gold with the federal shield in red and blue, and gold text on a blue field surrounding the shield. The badge would have the modern silhouette of a law enforcement shield. Inside the shield would be the Secret Service star; except the wording around the center design would read, “The Department of the Treasury.” Two blue ribbons would flank the star, top and bottom. In the ribbons, gold letters would spell out, “United States Secret Service.” A contemporary American eagle would crest the top of the badge. It took me longer to complete the finished drawings of the star and badge than it did to design them. In the early 1970s, drawing was still done with pen and ink and manually placed type. Color was  applied with brush, pencil, or air brush. There were no computers or color printers capable of doing what I can do now with drawing and paint programs. Finally, the day came when I was to make my presentation to the director’s staff. To say the moment was tense would be an understate- ment. I was rehearsing every possible design rebuttal in my head. To my astonishment, none came. The designs were accepted with no changes -- except for one that I never anticipated. Mr. W., the man in charge of the Office of Public Affairs, was concerned that the star logo only contained the words “United States Secret Service.” Were we not showing arrogance by not including our parent organization, the Department of the Treasury? No matter how I tried to argue the point, the order remained. Include the Department of the Treasury in the logo design. Well, there is a Secret Service star logo designed with both “The Department of the Treasury” and “United States Secret Service” printed around the federal shield, but it was not often used; and with the transfer of the Secret Service to the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, the issue now is mute. Of all of the designs I produced in my federal career, nothing compares to how I feel about being the designer of the badge currently carried by special agents of the United States Secret Service. I know that, at any time, another director could call a meeting and request a new design because of changing times and responsibilities, but I still take pride in knowing that my design has been proudly carried by members of the most elite law enforcement agency in the world for more than 37 years.
US Marshals, the oldest federal law enforcement organization in the United States, has always used variants of the silver star as their badge.
Texas Rangers have always been identified by some form of a silver star.
Secret Service logo, Line art.
Today, Secret Service agents may carry identification that is a combination of the familiar star and shield badge, with eagle, as they did since 1973. But with the transfer of the Secret Service to the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, the words, “The Department of the Treasury,” would no longer appear in the star. The above image is of a Secret Service souvenir cuff link. The new badge may be similar, but I have not yet seen an authentic Secret Service badge since the Homeland Security reorganization.
Illustrators would spend days at the light table painstakingly hand drawing and cutting out the mechanicals for a logo like the Secret Service star. Mechanicals included the line work as well as the color separation negatives which a printer would use to make the plates necessary to print the logo.
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Secret Service badge, 1875-1890.
Secret Service badge, 1890-1973. 
Secret Service badge, 2002 to present?
Secret Service logo, 1973-present.
Secret Service badge, 1973-2002.
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