The Nike Logo - Paper Lime Creative
The Nike Logo
Write By: Katie Dooley

The History Behind the Nike Logo

If you’re a small business in Edmonton, Alberta, it might feel like the extensive marketing materials Nike has are irrelevant. But, looking to companies like Nike, or Apple can help guide your visual communication and design projects! These companies started small too, and they are experts and connect with their target audience


What does Nike represent?

Nike is the world’s leader in sportswear and athletic products. They represent a dominant and innovative brand of high-quality athletic apparel for every athlete, aka, anyone that has a body. Their impact on sports and athletic wear has taken the world by storm. Worth $163 billion, Nike has continued to be a force and a champion for change in communities all over the globe through the power of sport.


How they came up with the famous logo

Created in 1971, the Nike logo by Carolyn Davidson who worked for Blue Ribbon Sports. Her accounting professor, Phil Knight, approached her to draw up a logo inspired by the Adidas brand and encouraged movement

After designing several logos, Knight chose the swoosh. In Greek mythology, Nike is the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Goddess wing is like a “swoosh”, which is the sound of speed and movement. In battle, warriors would say, “Nike,” to each other as a way of thanks.

Carolyn received $34 for creating the design and continued doing graphics for the company.

The logo changed in 1978 to bold, capital letters, and modified in other colours.


The significance of the swoosh logo

The “swoosh”, or, “check”, is even recognizable without ‘Nike’ print above it. The simplicity of the logo makes the design versatile. It allows designers to create eye-catching graphics for other products and marketing. 

A great example of this is the Jordan “Jumpan” logo designed in 1984 for the Nike Air Jordan brand. It consists of a silhouette of the famous basketball player.


How Nike is dominating in sports marketing

Nike uses diverse models, celebrities and athletes in their marketing to promote their products and appeal to their customers

Do Tiger Woods and Serena Williams ring a bell? When consumers see them sporting Nike, they also want to wear Nike. The most talented athletes in the world are endorsed or sponsored by the brand, which brings in big business and attention

This elevates their marketing campaigns to another level. Even if without famous faces though, their product quality is consistent and reliable.


How you can use Nike’s branding strategies for your business

Nike’s brand is modern, innovative, factual, and minimalist. The quality of their marketing and products, mixed with the familiarity of their logo makes them a leader among athletic brands. Nike’s brand strategy is great for you to use in your own brand with these 3 tips:


It’s more than a product or a service, it’s a story

Nike is great at pulling the heartstrings of audiences. Whether it’s to inspire them to get active or instill laughter from a humorous commercial. It all boils down to emotion. Next time you’re thinking of what to do for your brand, think about your story and what feelings you want your audience to have.


A compelling tagline

Just Do It… That’s Nike’s famous tagline. This slogan is a mantra for consumers to not delay, and get up and do whatever they need to do. Added to the logo in 1988, the slogan inspired millions to do more than just exercise. Ensure that if you’re creating a slogan it relates to your brand.


Create a logo that makes an impression, but still looks simple

Sports logos have empowering stories behind them that encourage people to engage in physical activity. If the sports brand sells apparel and equipment, a simple and versatile logo is a must. This will make sure it looks great on shoes, golf balls, hats, and more.


Ready to just do it?

If you are looking for graphic design in Edmonton, contact us! Paper Lime Creative is a full-service design studio. We specialize in branding and logo design that conveys your brand’s message to your target audience and keeps them coming back for more.