Nike's swoosh was designed in 1972 by a graduate student named Carolyn Davidson who was paid $35. It has gone on to become the most powerful global marketing logo of the century. The swoosh has succeeded in communicating Nike's brand value and philosophy to countries and cultures around the world without saying a single word.
It is an astonishing achievement in a message- and media-saturated environment to achieve such cut-through and consumer attachment. The fact that Nike is a relatively new company, makes the potency of its logo even more striking. What sets the swoosh apart from the Others is its recent age, and the speed at which the logo has become a social and cultural signifier. It has succeeded in the difficult act of pre- senting a branding tool as a fashion statement, and a commercial endorsement that's still accepted as cool.
It has been shaved into heads and even tattooed on to flesh. The swoosh was introduced in 1972, the same year that Phil Knight's running-shoe company, Blue Ribbon Sports, changed its name to Nike, after the Greek goddess of victory. The Nike swoosh became synonymous with the brand and its 'Just do it' advertising campaign. It is regarded as shorthand for winning, achievement, excellence.
The company has now toned down its more aggressive and controversial marketing campaigns, but the swoosh goes on. Whether it's Tiger Woods, Ronaldo, or any other sports celebrity sporting the Nike cap, trainers or shirt, there's no mistaking the brand, because there in all its simple glory, is the Nike swoosh.