06 October 2005

[logo_design] Tales of the Swoosh

Follow this link to a Nike page on the history of one of the world's most recognized symbols.

This news was cribbed from Rob Salzman's About it All–Oregon site, with sincere apology. I felt I should include it here because the story of the Nike logo is one of the classic stories of genius logo design (although, surprisingly, the client was lukewarm with it at first), and since Knight got it when he was still very small (think Blue Ribbon Sports, the seminal form of Nike) he didn't pay very much for it–$35.00, the record says.

The designer, Carolyn Davidson, did not go ultimately unrewarded for her design. She found herself asked to what became something of a surprise party in 1981, where she was awarded a gold swoosh ring with a diamond on and Nike stock. Since recieving the stock it has split three times.

This is a situation that every hopeful logo designer (such as myself) hopes to see themselves in–creation of one of the most beloved logos in use and well-off because of it besides. It makes designers take chances on interesting things.

In other news of all things Swooshy, Nike's absorption of the Bauer hockey identity is all but complete. In a press release dated 4 October, Nike unveiled the new logo of its Nike Bauer Hockey subsidiary, timing it to anticipate several major upcoming hockey happenings, not least the upcoming 2005-06 NHL season.

The new logo incorporates the well-known Bauer mark in a unifying shape. The oblique angle of the shape echoes the oblique angle of the Bauer logo letterforms; when combined with the already-dynamic Swoosh, activity and vital energy are two messages that get communicated, and to the hockey lover, incipient excitement.

Each brings its own baggage into the new design as well. The Nike connotation is obvious. When paired with the familiar image of a company that was, prior to acquisition in 1995, to hockey what Nike was just to just about every other sport, the impression becomes that of a sports equipment juggernaut, with marketing and quality to match. Nike also acquires the heritage and tradition of a brand that goes back to 1917-when Bauer was founded.

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