You recognize it—in fact, most of the world will recognize it. The Nike logo, most often called the swoosh but also referred to as the Nike Tick or Nike Check, is one of the most easily and widely recognizable symbols in history. Highsnobiety has released a video chronicling the story behind the swoosh, where it came from and how it got to where it is today.
It’s incredible to think that this simple logo came about as a rush order from Nike founder Phil Knight to one of his students that was working as a freelance designer. Carolyn Davidson worked a little over 17 hours coming up with a design that Knight could use on the boxes of the shoes he was making. Knight’s initial reaction was that he didn’t necessarily love the logo, but “maybe it will grow on me.” Davidson billed Knight $35 for her work. From there, Nike went on to become the world’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment, footwear, and apparel. Nike has sponsored and continues to sponsor some of the biggest names in sports—like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, and more.
Davidson worked on tissue paper, drawing out concepts that she could then lay over sketches of shoes and boxes. Those tissue paper designs led to a logo that hasn’t been changed in Nike’s 50 years. It’s an incredible story of every circumstance converging to create something that will continue to stand the test of time.