Adidas Logo

adidas logo

The Adidas logo is so widespread and familiar that it’s almost impossible to believe that the iconic three stripes once belonged to a completely different company.

Who designed the Adidas logo?
Adolf ‘Adi’ DasslerThe name of the person who designed the original three stripe logo is unknown. The emblem was bought by the company founder, Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler, from a now-defunct brand Karhu Sports. In 1971, the trefoil logo was unveiled, which was also chosen by Dassler.

Meaning and history Adidas Logo

adidas logo history

When Adolf Dassler started making sports shoes in his mother’s laundry room in Herzogenaurach, Germany, he probably didn’t even dream that this was the start of one of the world’s largest sports brands.

In 1924, his older brother Rudolf started to work with him. In the course of time, their products gained recognition. By the WWII, Adolf and Rudolf sold around 200,000 pairs of shoes annually.

After the brothers split up in 1947, each of them founded his own company. Adolf Dassler registered Adidas AG, while Rudolf registered a company called Ruda. Although both the brothers used the same mechanism to coin the names for their companies (combined the first letters of their names and surnames), Adi’s acronym proved to be more successful, while Ruda was soon renamed Puma.

Old logo (Three stripes)

How come that the three stripes that have been the core of the Adidas logo for about 70 years made their first appearance on products made by another company?

Back in the 1940’s, Finnish company named Karhu Sports manufactured footwear embellished with three stripes. Adolf Dassler liked the design and the way it looked on the sides of the shoes so much that he decided to buy it. As Karhu Sports was experiencing financial problems due to WWII, its owner eventually agreed to sell the trademark to the emblem for an equivalent of €1,600 and two bottles of whiskey. Now, Adolf Dassler started to put the three stripes on sides of the footwear produced by his company.adidas symbol

The logo debuted on Adidas footwear in 1952, following the 1952 Summer Olympics. Dassler himself felt absolutely in love with the emblem and even referred to his firm as “The three stripes company.”

It wasn’t the brand’s only logo, though. Another, a more complex emblem was developed for print/marketing purposes. Here, a sports shoe was depicted with the words “adidas sportschuhe” below and “Adolf Dassler” above. The shoe was sandwiched between the extended stems of the “d’s.” The company opted for one of the bold versions of the ITC Avant Garde Gothic font.

We should also mention the variation of the three stripes theme unveiled in 1962. It was then that the legendary tracksuits with the stripes going down the sleeves and legs were first introduced. No need to say that such tracksuits have become classic and are still sold today.

Trefoil symbol

Adidas Logo old

In 1971, in advance of the Olympic Games in Munich, the company unveiled the so-called Trefoil logo. It combined the iconic three stripes with three shapes resembling leaves. The word “adidas,” in a slightly different type, was placed below.

One of the reasons why the brand would want to modify the old Adidas logo was that the company was trying to accentuate the fact how much it had grown since Adolf Dassler established it in 1948. However, the brand hasn’t got rid of the original logo altogether – it’s still used on some items. For instance, the Trefoil emblem is used on the Originals range of clothing and trainers; it can be seen on such items as the California t-shirt and Pharrell Williams Tennis Hu trainers.

Mountain emblem

Adidas logo meaning

By the end of the 1980s, the company was looking for ways of updating its brand identity. That was a challenge, though, as the emblem was to stay instantly identifiable and preserve an apparent connection to its iconic Trefoil predecessor. This could have been the reason why as much as seven years passed between the moment when the logo was designed (1990) and when it was unveiled (1997).

Now, the three bars were positioned vertically then turned 30 degrees, which created a mountain shape. The mountain concept was used as the embodiment of the determination an athlete has, his focus and goal-oriented mentality. In this way, the company was trying to imply that the equipment bearing the mountain logo was designed to help a person achieve his high goals.

Taking into consideration the Adidas logo meaning cited above, it was only natural that the emblem was initially used as a sport logo, i. e. placed only on sports equipment, but in the course of time it acquired the status of the standard logo across all apparel.

Horizontal stripes

adidas emblem

In the course of time, the need for a new logo became obvious. And again, a simple repositioning of the iconic stripes created an entirely new impression. This time, the black stripes were placed horizontally. Their length was modified, too: the lower line was the longest, the one at the top was the shortest (about one-third of the longest line), while the second stripe was twice as long as the shortest one. The stripe design was placed next to the wordmark insignia, which apparently remained unchanged.

Other versions

Adidas Logo
Today, the company uses more than one emblem, so the logo shirt is bearing depends on the range it belongs to. For instance, the Adidas Style Essentials range, which deals with the fashion market, typically uses the logo where the signature three stripes are placed inside a circle shape.

Also, in advance of the 2008 Olympics, the company unveiled a new logo, a combination of the Trefoil symbol and the Olympic torch.

Who created the logo?

 

Although the company hasn’t revealed the names of all the team members, we do know that at the time the Three Bars Adidas logo was being developed, the Global Creative Director at Adidas was Peter Moore, one of the most influential names in the athletic footwear industry. He had a strong influence on the concept.adidas new logo

Moore’s experience in sportswear exceeds thirty years. He became the first global creative director at Nike and was among those who helped the brand achieve its current role. After developing the first Air Jordan concept in the mid-1980’s with his colleague Rob Strasser, he left the company to co-found a sports marketing company Sports Inc. based in Portland. Also, his partnership with Rob Strasser resulted in creating Adidas America Inc. in Portland, where Moore became the Worldwide Creative Director.

Font

The choice of typeface seems to perfectly fit the clean, almost Spartan brand identity, which is characteristic of Adidas. Since 1949, when the company was founded, the logo has always been based on the ITC Avant Garde Gothic font.


There has been some playing around with the nuances of the shape of the letters and their weight in the Adidas symbol. Versions that appeared later were bolder than their forerunners; the “a’s” had a slightly different top right end, while the dot above the “i” turned from a circle to a square in 1971. Also, the proportions of the “d’s” grew closer to those of the “a’s” starting from the 1971 logo. And yet, the basic structure of the glyphs and the way they were positioned remained the same. That’s why the overall impression has stayed perfectly consistent. It’s hardly possible to detect the difference in the typography of different versions of the logo unless you compare them side by side.

Color

Color Adidas logo

The company has been exceptionally consistent in the color scheme of its primary emblem. The black logo on the white background has been used ever since the company started its work. And yet, as this is the type of emblem that is placed on a wide range of products of varying colors, it’s only natural that a designer has to adjust the color of the symbol each time.


For instance, in case of a black background white logo seems an entirely appropriate choice. It can also be often seen on the apparel of many other colors, including blue and dark purple. At some point, the company used a blue logo extensively, but the current official Brand Guidelines list this version as an outdated one. The document also forbids altering the color scheme of the emblem, for instance, using a purple or green logo.

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