NIKE – Evolution

Logo Story, Jan 2017

Nike, Inc. is a leading American Global giant that has grown to be the world’s largest marketer and manufacturer of athletic footwear and apparel. It is a brand that started with a mere $1200 in the bank, struggled initially to get adequate funding, and later emerged to sign endorsement contracts with world class athletes across the globe.


Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, two running enthusiasts in the 1960s had a passion to innovate running shoes for athletes. Bowerman was a track and field coach at the University of Oregon while Knight was a middle distance runner and student at the University of Oregon, with Bowerman as his track coach.


They manufactured not only shoes and apparels, but went on to become global equipment producers for a number of sports that include basketball, baseball, football, tennis, soccer, cricket, track and field and many more. Nike, Inc. has also acquired popular brands like Converse, Hurley, Cole Haan, Canstar Sports Inc., Starter, and Umbro, to become a leading giant in the industry.

Phil Knight & Bill Bowerman


On January 25, 1964, the company Blue Ribbon Sports was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. Initially, the company used to act as a distributor for a Japanese shoe manufacturer (Onitsuka Tiger, now known as ASICS), from the back of a car.

1971 – the relationship between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger came to an end and gave birth to their own range of footwear that would have the Swoosh symbol designed by Carolyn Davidson, giving birth to Nike.

Today, Nike logo has become one of the most recognizable logo brands in the world because of its simplistic approach towards design, and also the most profitable brand, having a worth of $26 billion.

There are very few brands in the world which can be identified with just their logos – Apple, McDonalds, and Google being some of these. Nike is another company that has managed to create a branding which connects with consumers visually with just a logo – the Swoosh sign.

Since the birth of Nike, the company has stayed with its Swoosh logo and not made any changes to it except the text associated with it and the fonts. Carolyn Davidson, who designed the iconic logo, struggled to manage her expenses when she was a graphic design student in 1971. Phil Knight, her accounting professor, asked her to do some freelance work for their company Blue Ribbon Sports at that time. He liked her work, and approached her again to create a design for their new brand Nike.

Carolyn spent 17.5 hours on thinking of the design that would convey motion on a shoe and also look clean and classic. One major challenge was to make it look different from their competitor Adidas. She went on sketching the design on tissue papers and then putting it on a shoe to see how it looks. She came up with the design of Swoosh which was created using two curved lines depicting motion with the onomatopoeia effect. However, Knight and Bowerman were not impressed with the design but decided to go ahead with the Swoosh.

The logo today represents so much more than just motion – it refers to a lifestyle rather than just a brand or a product, exactly achieving what Knight and Bowerman wanted to.

For a multi billion dollar company that Nike has become today, all the credit could be given to the branding and the design of the products. However, Carolyn Davidson was paid a meagre amount of $35 (equivalent to $206 in 2015) for her 17.5 hours of work on Swoosh. Following Nike’s success, Knight invited Davidson to a company lunch. He awarded her with a diamond ring embedded with the Swoosh and an envelope containing 500 shares of Nike stock.


the checkmark or Swoosh is designed to represent the wing of the greek goddess of victory, nike; the goddess was known to motivate brave warriors

The Nike logo is most popularly seen in dull orange, although the logo was first produced in bold black.

The Swoosh logo is often depicted with the Nike name on top, another example of straightforward branding in commercial mariketing.

As per Vaastu, whenever there is a connect between the nature of the business and the logo, the company will always succeed in achieving their goals.