Nike Logo, History & Branding: Business Logic in Simple Swoosh Logo Design

Forewords: Why is Nike logo design successful? How does Nike logo help the shoe business grow? - Let's study Nike logo design, history and branding strategy now! Find out the business logic of "How the simple logo - swoosh helps Nike's branding & expanding".

From this article, you'll have an overall picture of Nike logo design, history and evolution of business branding. When study Nike logo and business, we've found a connection between its logo change and brand in different business phases, which we are happy to share with you.

Hopefully by reading through the article, you'll find some inspirations for both business building and logo design. We hope you find our online logo maker handy to create a custom "swoosh" logo as you wish.

Part 1 - Nike Logo Design, History & Branding

We all recognize the famous solo swoosh symbol, but it's not a mere swoosh of all time. As the world's leading shoe & apparel brand, Nike has several major logo variations:

Back to January 25, 1964, Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) was created as the predecessor of Nike business. By that time, BRS was doing shoe trade businesses.

Blue Ribbon Sports logo

Image: Blue Ribbon Sports logo.

On May 30, 1971, the company changed its brand from "BRS" to "NIKE" with its logo changing to current swoosh logo, mainly because they had switched their businesses from previous shoe importing & selling to shoe manufaturing & selling.

Nike founder Phil Knight paid his student Carolyn Davidson (in Portland State University) $35 to design the first Nike logo. Interesting is that Knight wasn't very satisfied with the first Nike logo at first sight, but Carolyn's design met Knight's shoe logo requirement of "simple with stripe".

Note: Back to the time between 1960 and 1970, stripe was shoe industry term for logo design.

1.1.Swoosh Logo Evolution: The Process of Logo Simplification

Nike logo design has undergone several major changes. When Nike reputations & products upgraded to a new generation, Nike would change its logo design.

Nike logo modification is a trace of logo simplification:

Phase One: We see the first big update of Nike logo, changing from Nike's first outlined logo to a solid logo. The logo font changes from cursive serif font to Nike Font that is similar to Futura Bold Condensed Oblique Font. The new solid swoosh logo looks more stable.

Nike changed its 1971 logo to 1978 logo

Image: Nike changed its 1971 logo to 1978 logo.

Phase Two: In the second round of the major update of Nike logo, Nike team deleted the text of "Nike" from its previous combination logo design (in Nike official words, it's Debranding redesign). Finally, it becomes a sharp logomark.

Nike logo changed from 1985 to current one

Image: Nike logo changed from 1985 to current one.

We can view Nike logo evolution as a process of Nike exploring business, culture & brand building. Each time of the modification, Nike branding logo is coming closer to its final & better version.

Now, Nike has reached its ultimate, simplest logo. By removing merchant/brand name, the final version Nike logo is more generic and human.

1.2.Simple Logo Design Advantages:


  • a.Avoid too much information in design. And, audiences won't feel overwhelmed or consume too much.
  • b.Simple color scheme makes a logo feel more trustworthy.
  • c.Simple logo feels more iconic and beautiful.

1.3.Business Logics & Wisdoms in Nike Logo Design:

Nike Business Logics: Make a change & brand at the best timing.

Nike debranded its logo at the best timing. They waited for debranding until their business became sizable and worldwide recognized.

Nike Logo Design Wisdoms: Less is better + Pronounceable logo.

"Less is better" is the wisdom of Nike logo throughout Nike's logo modification. By eliminating the typeface, Nike logo shares boldness and exploration spirits.

Another wit is to make its logo shape pronounceable - as swoosh can be interpreted as "like", "check", "tick", or "right". Naturally, "Nike" can be seen as a combination of "New" and "Like".

By the way, Nike is the goddess of victory in Greek mythology, but Nike hasn't officially said they borrow goddess idea when designing the logo.

Nike godness for victory in Greek mythology

Depict Image: Nike godness for victory in Greek mythology.

Similar Reading: Starbucks Logo Design | Secrets of Adidas Logo Success

Part 2 - Free Simple Logo Ideas Similar to Nike Logo

If you are building a brand or running a business and want a simple logo similar to Nike logo, then the free simple logo ideas below may pique your interests:

red right logosuqare check logomagnet check logoorange check circlecolorful stripe logocircle zebra stripe logoraccoon stripe logosports logo abstract black

Like any template above? Just click it to make it yours!

Part 3 - How to Design Your Own "Nike" Logo for Free in Minutes?

Anyone can effortlessly make a custom logo he wants, as long as he finds the right logo tool.

DesignEvo with 10,000+ logo templates is the perfect logo designer online. To make your own branding logo, just follow:


  • Find your favorite logo template: Visit DesignEvo logo maker - https://www.designevo.com/logo-maker/ and explore different logo ideas by trying various keywords, such as, "swoosh", "stripe", "right", "check", "speed", "sports", "run", "basketball", "motion", "speed" or others.
  • Search keyword for similar Nike logos

    Image: Search keywords for logo designs that are similar to Nike logo.

  • Click in a favoriate template and customize your logo: Enter your logo name, slogan, and select an element to see other design options of it.
  • Customize your own Nike logo

    Image: Customize your own "Nike" logo.

  • Preview and download your logo: You'll have 3 options - FREE, BASIC and PLUS.

Part 4 - Wrapping It Up

Nike logo design is a huge success now. By studying Nike logo design, history & branding, we can feel that Nike indeed thinks a lot for its logo. You might get impressed by Nike stories and wish a similar logo, then DesignEvo.com is always a never bad logo app for option.

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