Nike Logo

Nike LogoNike Logo PNG

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of sports equipment, shoes, and apparel, Nike employs over 45,000 people. The brand alone was estimated $19 billion in 2015.

Who designed the Nike logo?
One of the most iconic logos of all time, the Nike Swoosh, was created in 1971 by a young graphic designer, Carolyn Davidson. She was hired by the brand’s co-founder at the end of the 1960s, who wanted the logo to represent the movement and dynamics.

Meaning and history

Nike Logo history

The Nike Swoosh logo was created by Carolyn Davidson in 1971. Interestingly enough, Phill Knight, Nike’s co-founder, who had commissioned her for the project, initially did not like the logo (or so he said).

Moreover, the very fact that he found the designer was a mere coincidence. At the time he was teaching an accounting class at Portland State University, where she was a student. One day the girl was sitting in a hall at the university talking to her friends. She mentioned that she does not have enough money to take oil painting, and Knight overheard these words. So, he offered her $2 per hour “to letter some signs”.


Nike Logo 1964

The company’s earliest logo featured its original name “Blue Ribbon Sports.” The text was placed under the interlacing letters “BRS.” Although there is a legibility issue, the letters look unusual due to the stripes and unique shape.


Nike Logo 1971

Yet, the iconic swoosh is way better memorable and more impressive than its predecessor. The company co-founder, Phil Knight, got it totally by chance, without having to pay a lot of money to a renowned professional. The designer that worked on the swoosh, Carolyn Davidson, was only at the very start of her career, and yet she managed to create one of the greatest logos of all time.


Nike Logo 1971

Another, more cluttered version of the swoosh, was used at the same time. The word “Nike” written in lowercase letters right across the emblem ruined its splendor.


Nike Logo 1978

Over time, the company’s design team experimented with the Nike logo adding or removing the name of the brand. Due to the italicized font, it looked rather dynamic.

Who made the Nike logo?
Carolyn DavidsonThe Nike Swoosh was created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, who was studying design at Portland State University. She received $35 for the job, which today equals $217. Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who was an accounting teacher at the University, offered her to design the logo when he heard her complain she didn’t have the money to buy oil painting supplies.

Nike logo

Symbol modifications

Nike symbol

Although the Swoosh has looked almost the same since 1971, in fact there were minor changes in the emblem. For much of its history, the symbol included the name of the company. Over the first seven years, the word “Nike” was given in a type that imitated handwriting and used the Swoosh image as a background. The emblem sported the same dark shade of blue that can be seen on some of the modern versions. The logo featured negative letters and symbol on the dark blue background.

nike swoosh logo

In 1978 the name of the company was placed above the symbol. A new type was chosen, all the letters were given in capitals. The 1985 version looked almost identical but for the color scheme: blue was replaced by a dark shade of red.

Currently, the company prefers to use the solo swoosh, the most usual color scheme being the combination of black and white. Also, it is not rare for the Nike Swoosh logo to appear next to the “Just Do It” slogan. The first time this version was used was in 1988.

How much did the emblem cost?

Nike emblem

Believe it or not, Carolyn Davidson initially received as little as $35 for creating one of the world’s most recognizable emblems (about $215, if adjusted for inflation in 2017). However, this sum does not look that strange taking into consideration the circumstances. To begin with, at the time Davidson was not actually a professional designer, while Phil Knight, who commissioned her for creating the Nike logo, was just at the beginning on his way to success.

And, yet, in the course of time the designer received much more. In 1983 she was invited to a company lunch, where Knight presented her with a diamond ring and an envelope with Nike’s shares. They were $150 worth back then, but now their cost has reached $643k. Carolyn Davidson says she is not a millionaire today, yet lives quite comfortably.


The name of the Nike logo, “swoosh,” now known throughout the world, conveys the sound of high speed (wind whistling). It has become a symbol of perpetual and uninterrupted motion. The tick in combination with the later slogan “Just do it” was designed to stimulate athletes to action, new accomplishments, and achievements. Nike is one of the few companies, which logo has its own, unique name, which is not associated with anything else.

The Swoosh icon is one of the most recognizable logos among customers and athletes. It can be seen not only on sneakers but also on all the products of the brand. As for the web icon, it is usually executed in a monochrome palette, looking progressive and minimalist — with the solid black swoosh in a white background, or a white smooth placed on a plain black square with rounded angles.

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Font Nike Logo

For more than 20 years since its creation, the Nike logo included the name of the company. For much of the time, it was written in Futura Bold, all-cap typeface. The minimalistic sans-serif type looked straightforward and energetic, which went well with the company’s core values. It was only in 1995 that the wordmark was removed. By that time, it was obvious, that Nike does not have to include its name in the emblem to make it instantly identifiable – it was already known all over the globe.


Color Nike Logo

The dark shade of red added to the logo in 1985 can still be seen sometimes, along with other colors. Yet, generally, the black-and-white version is the official standard.

Nike SB logo

Nike SB logo

The Nike Skateboarding brand includes shoes, apparel, and equipment for skateboarding. The logo looks almost identical to the regular one, except for the letters “SB” below the swoosh.

Nike AIR logo

Nike AIR logo

For the Nike AIR logo, the standard Nike emblem is complemented by the word “AIR” written in a thinner, clearer all-cap type.