21.06.11 / Permalink / Comments (0)

Nike Swoosh Anniversary

The Nike swoosh was 40 years old on Saturday, and we definitely think that's something worth mentioning on the Art & Sole blog. Designed in 1971 by graphic design student Carolyn Davidson for a mere $35 ($2 per hour for 17.5 hours work), the Nike swoosh has become one of the most recognisable brand symbols of all time.

Davidson originally designed the logo while a graphic design student at Portland State University. Phil Knight, who was teaching an accounting class at the same university, had a chance meeting Davidson and asked her if she'd do some work for what was then Blue Ribbon Sports. After initially working on general design such as presentation boards, Davidson was eventually given the task of coming up with a new mark for Knight's venture.

Under pressure to choose a logo in order to meet looming production deadlines, Knight (together with Jeff Johnson and Bob Woodell) settled on the swoosh after rejecting various other designs. At the time, Knight famously uttered words to the effect of, "Well, I don't love it, but maybe it will grow on me." Despite the new logo, the company wasn't actually dubbed Nike until weeks later, when Jeff Johnson (Blue Ribbon’s first employee) suggested the name of the Greek goddess of victory as an alternative to Knight’s Dimension 6. 

Although Davidson left Nike in 1983, Knight later invited her to a company lunch where she was presented with a swoosh-shaped diamond ring and an undisclosed amount of Nike stock.

Photography by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian

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