Famous Logo Design History: Nike

After the previous posts about Adidas and Puma logo history, it is time to take a look at probably the best known and loved sports brand in the world, Nike. We are all familiar with the Nike Swoosh logo, endorsed by a huge list of superstars such as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova, Venus and Serena Williams, a list that could go on and on. The swoosh symbol that is now so famous and loved had a feeble start, and as in any great story, it went from a humble beginning to an incredible future.

In 1971 Phil Knight, founder of Blue Ribbon Sports, hired Carolyn Davidson to design a logo for a shoe stripe. Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, presented Knight with several design options, and even though Knight was not blown away by the swoosh design, he selected the symbol and decided that "it will grow on him" in time. The Nike swoosh did so much more than that. Davidson submitted a bill for $35 for her work at the time, but years later, after Nike logo became famous world wide, Knight gave the graphic designer a diamond Swoosh ring and an envelope filled with Nike stock to express his gratitude.

Knight wanted a design that suggested movement and Nike logo, the swoosh, can be summarized as simple, fluid and fast. These words describe the Nike logo that has successfully grown to be one of the most influential and recognized symbols world wide. The Nike swoosh logo represents the wing in the famous statue of the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike, who was the source of inspiration for many great and courageous warriors. Initially, the mark was addressed as “the strip” but was later named the “Swoosh”, as it described the fiber used for the Nike sport shoes.

In the spring of 1972, the first shoe with the Nike swoosh logo was introduced and some years later, in 1995 the Nike logo got registered as a trademark and has become the corporate identity of Nike. The Nike logo in use today appeared nine years after the original logo was designed, and was slightly modified, being tilted, thinned, and colored in black.

The Nike logo design is an abstract wing, an appropriate and meaningful symbol for a company involved in sports equipment and running shoes, that has the sole mission to "bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world". The "JUST DO IT" slogan and the swoosh logo design evolved into a way of life for many generations. It is quite amazing how a small symbol, a simple yet powerful logo design can contribute to the success of the brand and turn a company into a world star.