Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Birthday! Nike Swoosh!

A simple check mark established itself as a timeless symbol on this Saturday some 40 years ago. With all the submissions in place, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recognized the Nike Swoosh logo on June 18th, 1971. But what became the designer of this icon, who reportedly gotten only $35 for her effort? Reporter Allan Brettman of The Oregonian tracked down graphic designer Carolyn Davidson, who indeed only billed the company $35, or $2 per hour for 17.5 hours, for her work. An assistant professor at Portland State University and a part-time executive at Blue Ribbon Sports, Phil Knight’s chance meeting with Davidson, then a graphic designer major, landed her a freelance gig with Knight. After years of chart and presentation productions for Knight’s numerous meetings with Onitsuka Tiger of Japan, whose sneakers Blue Ribbon Sports distributed at the time. Knight asked Davidson to create something else, a logo. Disagreements between Knight and execs at Onitsuka made it clear he should create his own firm. But obstacles, especially the mammoth adidas, meant Knight needed something as symbolic as the 3-Stripe. That task went to Davidson.