The Nike Swoosh, The Simple Story of An Icon

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The Nike Swoosh, The Simple Story of An Icon

What does Nike check mark mean? This is the story of a logo that has become the most famous in the world.

The History of the Nike Logo

The history of the most famous logo in the world was written in 1971. Phil Knight, the creator of Blue Ribbon Sport, the future distributor of the Nike brand, sought to define a visual identity for his company. Some time earlier, he had met a graphic design student at a university in the city of Portland in the United States. Her name was Carolyn Davidson, and she never imagined that she was about to deliver one of the most iconic logos in history.

In the meantime, Phil Knight approached her with a project for a new line of sports shoes. The entrepreneur was looking for a graphic designer who was creative enough to develop a simple, legible logo. Phil Knight, then an assistant master of accounting at the university, would have called out to her: “Excuse me, is it really you that cannot afford to sign up for the oil painting course?” Carolyn Davidson agreed to work for him for the modest sum of $ 2/hour.

A little less than 20 hours of work was necessary for Davidson to imagine a logo like a comma drawn upside down and then put horizontally. Or $35.

The Big Break

The effect was there: effective, dynamic, memorable. Yet Phil Knight wants to see more. Carolyn Davidson then submitted a dozen variations of logos to him. None really get attention. But now, the marketing deadline was approaching. Phil Knight had run out of time, and that’s the reversed check he chose – the Swoosh was born.

Philip Knight was not convinced: “I don’t like it, but I will end up loving it. Davidson, she was in charge of the graphic aspect of Nike, until the company became too large and they hired a communication agency.

It was a total success – surprisingly but well completed. In 1983, Nike presented Carolyn with a gold ring representing the logo she had created at the time. A strong symbolic gesture that also came with a bundle of Nike actions. The amount was never disclosed.

The logo, meanwhile, has evolved a lot. It was in 1995 that they adopted the definitive aspect that we know of today: a very simple comma, removed the name “Nike”. The sign that the decimal point is enough to signify the DNA of one of the most acclaimed and sought-after brands on the planet.

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