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From Stripes to Global Icon: The History of the Adidas Logo

From Stripes to Global Icon: The History of the Adidas Logo

What comes to mind when you think of Adidas? It could be the iconic three stripes that adorn the brand's shoes and clothing. Or maybe the classic trefoil logo has become synonymous with sportswear and streetwear. Either way, the Adidas logo is undeniably one of the most recognisable symbols in the world.

But have you ever wondered about the story behind this logo? How did it come into being? What inspired its design? And how has it evolved? In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the fascinating history of the Adidas logo, tracing its origins back to the very beginning of the company and examining its evolution into the global icon we know today. So sit back, lace up your favourite pair of Adidas kicks and get ready to discover the story behind the stripes.

But first, the History of Adidas

Adidas And Puma History

Adolf Dassler's foray into the world of sports shoes began in a very unassuming place – his mother's laundry room in Herzogenaurach, Germany. In the early days, he made the shoes by hand, never suspecting that this would be the start of something big. But as his products became increasingly famous, he knew he was onto something special. It was only a short time before his older brother Rudolf joined the business, and together they built a thriving company.

By the Second World War outbreak, Adolf and Rudolf were selling around 200,000 pairs of shoes a year, a testament to the quality and popularity of their products. But their partnership did not last. In 1947, the brothers split up and went their separate ways. Adolf registered his company as Adidas AG, while Rudolf founded Ruda.

Interestingly, both brothers used the exact naming mechanism for their companies – combining the first letters of their first and last names to create a concise title. However, while Adi's acronym proved more successful, Rudolf did not have the same luck. Ruda was eventually renamed Puma but could never match his rival's success.

Despite the split, the Dassler brothers' legacy lived through their respective companies. Adidas became increasingly successful, innovating in sports footwear and apparel and sponsoring some of the most famous athletes ever. Puma, on the other hand, created its niche and became a renowned brand.

Looking back at Adidas' humble beginnings, it's hard not to marvel at how far the brand has come. The evolution from a small workshop in Herzogenaurach to a global powerhouse is a testament to the enduring appeal of quality, innovation and a bit of sibling rivalry.

Dassler: 1924

Dassler Logo Design

When Adolf Dassler founded Adidas in 1949, the company's logo was simple but eye-catching, highlighting the co-founders' names. The logo featured the surname “Dassler” in a bold, sans-serif font, with the “A” and the “S” slightly overlapping in the middle.

Below the name was a unique emblem – a bird carrying a shoe in its beak. This design was intended to convey the lightness of the shoes produced by Adidas and underline the brand's commitment to innovation and quality. The emblem was placed on a shield, giving the logo a sense of strength and durability.

The Original Adidas Logo: 1949

Original Adidas Logo 1949

After the original Dassler brothers' company split, Adolf Dassler renamed his share Adidas. The name was derived from his first and last name, with “Adi” being a nickname he had adopted. A fitting name for a brand that would later become one of the most famous and influential names in the sports and fashion industry.

The new name came with a new logo that would stand for Adidas for decades. The original Adidas logo was a simple but effective design highlighting the brand name. The letters of “Adidas” were arranged in a bold, sans-serif font, with the “D's” elongated to look like they were holding a shoe.

Above the brand name, the founder's name, Adolf Dassler, was drawn in a graceful curve. This was a nod to the brand's origins and a tribute to the man who started it all.

Adidas Logotype: 1950

Adidas Logotype 1950

In the 1950s, the Adidas logo underwent a significant change. A more straightforward design replaced the original logo with the brand name and a bird carrying a shoe in its beak.

The new logo consisted only of the brand name, with the letters arranged in a bold, sans-serif font. The name was white on a black background and placed in a rectangle with rounded corners. This simple but striking design helped establish Adidas as a leading sports brand.

A notable change in the new logo was the sharpening of the ends of the “a's”. This design element gave the logo a more modern and streamlined look and reflected the brand's commitment to innovation and quality.

Geometric Refinement: 1967

Adidas Logo Design 1967

In 1967, Adidas introduced a new version of its iconic logo. This updated design differed from the previous design, which featured sharp ends on the “a's” and a dot above the “i”.

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The new logo featured rounded ends on the “a's” and a square above the “i” instead of a dot. The ends of the “s” were lengthened, making the logo more dynamic and flowing. Overall, the design became heavier and more substantial, reflecting the brand's growing importance and influence in the world of sport and fashion.

Despite several updates and revisions, the 1967 Adidas logo has remained a classic and recognisable symbol. It has been used on countless products, from shoes and clothing to accessories and equipment.

The logo's enduring popularity is a testament to the brand's commitment to quality and innovation. Adidas has been at the forefront of sport and fashion for decades. Its logo continues to represent the innovative style and technology that has made it a global industry leader.

The Adidas Trefoil: 1971

Adidas Trefoil Logo Design

In the early 1970s, Adidas introduced a new element to its logo: the cloverleaf. This iconic logo included the three stripes that had become synonymous with the brand. Still, it also included a new design element to symbolise the diversity of Adidas's products.

The cloverleaf design consisted of three leaves, each representing one of the brand's core values: Performance, Style and Innovation. The plan was intended to evoke a sense of unity and harmony, reflecting the brand's commitment to producing functional and stylish products.

Over the years, the cloverleaf logo has become a famous and iconic symbol of the Adidas brand. It has been used on countless products, from shoes and clothing to accessories and equipment. And although the logo has undergone several updates and revisions over the years, the cloverleaf remains a constant reminder of the brand's commitment to quality and innovation.

Today, the cloverleaf logo is most associated with the Adidas Originals line, which features classic designs and retro styles. This version of the logo is still used today and is a testament to the enduring popularity and influence of the Adidas brand.

Adidas' Three Stripes: 1991

Adidas Logo Design History

In the late 1980s, Adidas underwent a significant overhaul of its logo, introducing a more modern and powerful emblem. While the three stripes remained a central design element, they updated the logo to have a bolder and more dynamic look.

The new logo features more extensive, more pronounced stripes that have been rotated to convey a sense of movement and energy. This gives the logo a sportier and more powerful character and reflects the brand's commitment to performance and innovation.

Initially designed for the Adidas Equipment range, this updated logo quickly became integral to the brand's overall image and appeared on products across the spectrum. Today, this version of the logo can still be seen on products from the Adidas Performance line, which focuses on producing high-performance sportswear for competitive athletes.

Overall, the updated logo represents a significant evolution in the Adidas brand's visual identity, demonstrating a commitment to innovation and a willingness to adapt to changing trends and styles. And while the logo has evolved over the years, the bold and dynamic design of the early 90s remains a beloved and iconic symbol of the Adidas brand.

Current Adidas Logo: 2022

Cover Adidas New Logo Removes Name Before After

The brand recently made headlines with a new logo, just in time for the 2022 World Cup.

The new logo features a modern, sleek, simple, bold design. Of course, the iconic three stripes are still there, but they have been stylised to look more three-dimensional. The lettering has also been updated with a new modern, timeless font.

So why did Adidas decide to update its logo for the World Cup? According to the brand, the new design represents a fresh start, a new chapter in the brand's history. It also reflects the brand's commitment to innovation and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in sportswear.

A notable feature of the new logo is the use of negative space. By leaving parts of the stripes and wordmark transparent, the design has a certain depth and dimensionality that sets it apart from previous logo versions. The negative space also gives the logo a more dynamic feel, as if it were in motion.

Wrapping Up

The Adidas logo has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a small laundry room in Germany. From the original design featuring the Dassler name and a bird wearing a boot to the modern, stylised version we see today, the Adidas logo has become an instantly recognisable global symbol.

Through all its variations, the Adidas logo has remained true to the brand's core values: Quality, Innovation and a commitment to excellence in sportswear. As the brand continues to evolve and push the boundaries of what is possible, it is clear that the logo will play an essential role in shaping Adidas' identity and reputation.

As we look to the future, thinking about what new designs and innovations the Adidas logo might inspire is exciting. However, no matter how the logo changes and evolves, it will remain an integral part of the Adidas brand and represent the company's unwavering commitment to sports apparel and equipment excellence.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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