How Did the Nike Logo Originate? The Story of the Swoosh

Written by SEO-team
May 18, 2023


Nike Swoosh

Nike is the leading brand for sportswear, athletic shoes, and sports goods that has global recognition and reach. The success of Nike has many reasons, but the main contribution comes from its powerful brand logo. The famous “Just Do It” tagline has the second largest impact, and a mix of effective marketing strategies adds to its prominence and fame. Its efficient branding stimulates many people to think about how the Nike Logo Originate happened.

The history offers many insights for businesses around the world and is a perfect case study for any graphic design student. We will discuss the origination of the Nike Emblem, its meaning, the most successful rebranding, and the inspiration that leads to the creation of one of the most recognizable logos in history. The Nike Swoosh has evolved to become a symbol of pride and commitment for the audience.

The Story of the Swoosh

The legendary story of the Nike symbol begins way back from its creation. It is important to go through the details of the key milestones in the history. The following are the most crucial happenings that lead to the success of the well-known Nike Swoosh logo.

Rebranding of Blue Ribbon Sports

In 1964, Bill Bowerman started the business Blue Ribbon Sports with co-founder Phil Knight, a Professor at that time. The business was going well, but Phil Knight believed that they needed to rebrand for growth. For that reason, he assigned the task to one of his students.

Nobody would have thought what started out as a simple rebranding would make history. Adaptability was the first thing to help the business reach its objectives. Resistance to change is the primary factor that halts growth and adversely impacts many businesses.


Who Came Up with the Nike Swoosh logo?

Carolyn Davidson was a student at Portland State University when she was assigned the log design task by the company’s co-founder. She spent many hours thinking and sketching many ideas until she came up with the check mark shape. She then went on to submit the design, but her professor wanted her to refine it further.

What is the Story Behind the Nike Logo?

The brand name was derived from Greek Mythology, as Nike was the name of the Greek Goddess of Victory. The designer used the Greek Goddess for design inspiration and designed a shape that resembled the Goddess’ wing. The iconic logo went through many modifications since then, becoming the Nike’s Swoosh that we see today.

What was the Cost of the Original Logo?

Another interesting fact about the logo is the cost which was a mere $ 35. The professor agreed to pay Carolyn Davidson $2 per work hour and paid accordingly. However, in 1983 she further gifted her a Golden Ring with the Swoosh symbol and an envelope containing Nike’s Stock. It was an honorable gesture of recognizing her services to the brand.

The Powerful Nike Symbol Logo Evolution

The Nike icon, which started as a simple graphic design, continued to attract the masses thanks to the mix of branding and promotion strategies. It went on to become one of the world’s most powerful logos, known later as the Swoosh. The Futura bold font name with capital letters was incorporated later and is occasionally used with the logo.

The power of the brand logo design comes from its use of effective marketing strategies and advertisements. Let’s review them to explore the options to empower brand marks and campaigns.

  • A diverse approach for attracting prospects using influencers from different backgrounds
  • The use of the perfect tagline that complies with its logo, “Just Do It”
  • Advertisements that cater to audience interests, like Sports and Fitness
  • Engaging the audience through sponsoring events and players worldwide
  • Acquisition of businesses that provide products to its target market
  • Competitive and Premium pricing strategies through multiple product lines.


The Nike logo history has many twists and turns that helped in its evolution. The Nike swoosh with an orange hue that we see today is more elegant and attractive. Asking how did the Nike logo originate is one thing, while how did it evolve is another. A student at Portland State University was able to achieve one of the biggest logo wonders.

You can also read about the iconic design of Puma to have a look at its history. Nike had to compete with Adidas, so it has some excellent lessons for marketers. The famous Nike swoosh has many variations for different product ranges and sports, like the Nike Air logo for Nike shoes and Nike SB Logo for Skateboarding events.

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