Nike Logo Is 40

By Toon Creffield →
The Nike "swoosh'" is a design created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University. She met Phil Knight while he was teaching accounting classes and she started doing some freelance work for his company, Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS).

For seven years after its founding in 1964, BRS imported Onitsuka Tiger brand running shoes. In 1971, BRS decided to launch its own brand, which would first appear on a soccer cleat called the Nike, manufactured in Mexico. Knight approached Davidson for design ideas for this new brand, and she agreed to provide them, charging a rate of US$2 per hour.


In the spring of 1971, Davidson presented a number of design options to Knight and other BRS executives, and they ultimately selected the mark now known globally as the Swoosh. "I don't love it," Knight told her, "but I think it will grow on me."

Davidson submitted a bill for US$35 for her work. (In 1983, Knight gave Davidson a diamond Swoosh ring and an envelope filled with Nike stock to express his gratitude.)


In June 1972, the first running shoes bearing the Swoosh were introduced at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Nike continues to use the brand today.

Nike Logo Is 40

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Toon Creffield

Graphic and Digital Designer from Sheffield England and owner of the Estetica Design Forum.