Logo Design Love

on logos and brand identity design

Sports brand logo designs

Nike Just Do It

A project of mine required a comparison of the world’s most well-known sports brand logos. They’re shown together below in case the quick visual reference might be useful for you.

Adidas — the trefoil logo is still used on the heritage product division
Adidas trefoil logo design

Asics logo design

Champion logo design

Diadora logo design

Ellesse logo design

Fila logo design

Head logo design

K-Swiss logo design

Lacoste logo design

Lotto Sport Italia
Lotto logo design

Mitre logo design

Mizuno logo design

New Balance
New Balance logo design

Nike — 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, modified in 1978 and 1985 by Nike
Nike logo design

Prince logo design

Puma logo design

Rbk — designed in 2001 by Arnell Group
Reebok logo design

Russell Corporation
Russell logo design

Umbroview the Umbro logo evolution
Umbro logo design

Wilson logo design

Should you know the name of the designer responsible, or the year of creation, I’d very much appreciate you leaving details in a comment.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

22 appreciated comments

  1. What about Under Armour?
    Not sure how well known the brand is world wide.


  2. Hi!

    Puma – Design 1948 by unknown, current version sometime during the 1970’s
    Umbro – http://blog.umbro.com/tag/logo/
    New Balance – http://www.hecklerassociates.com/ (not 100% sure)
    Ellesse – ca1975 first brand to put logo “outside” of their clothes…

    Hope it helps a bit,

  3. Great, thanks for providing these (in B&W too!).
    @Adam Kuhn – there are thousands of sports brands worldwide. It would have been impossible for David to provide them all.

  4. Hi David,
    I’m in the midst of doing a sports related identity design and I had this article bookmarked, thought it might be of use:

  5. Actually quite useful, thank you!

  6. In the late 60s adidas expanded into the leisure and apparel sector, and this prompted Käthe and Adi Dassler to seek a new, additional identification mark for the adidas brand. In August 1971, the Trefoil was born, out of more than 100 ideas. Inspired by the 3-Stripes, it is a geometric execution with a triple intersection, symbolizing the diversity of the adidas brand. This symbol was first used on adidas products in 1972, and later became the company’s corporate symbol. Today it plays the important role of representing the adidas Originals collection.
    The original 3 stripes was designed by Adi Dassler and first used on footwear in 1949.
    The 3 bars was designed in 1990 by the then Creative Director Peter Moore, and initially used on the Equipment range of performance products. It is inspired by the 3-Stripes as they appear on footwear. The shape formed by the bars also represents a mountain, indicating the challenge to be faced and the goals to be achieved. Later used as the integrated corporate logo from 1997
    I recently had to do some research too :)

  7. These logos are just very great reference. The first Adidas logo design version, still the most brilliant one in my opinion :)

    Bookmarked and thank you David!

  8. Konstantina

    The ellesse logo started in 1959 as the initials of the founder Leonardo Servadio, L&S. It has taken the above form in 1975. The halfball is the intersection of a tennis ball with ski tips. There is an animation of the logo story here:

    Great article, thank you!

  9. All very iconic, especially the Adidas trefoil and Nike swoosh.

    I’m a sucker for the flowing type on the Champion logo, so slick.

  10. I feel like Diadora, Mizuno and Reebok are all victims of the ‘meaningless swoosh’ syndrome. Nike kind of has a monopoly on the sports-associated swoosh. Other than that, the Adidas trefoil and Lacoste crocodile are nice and unique symbols. Funny though, Lacoste isn’t a company I’d really identify for sporting goods. Maybe they’ve changed their image, but they definitely push the luxury goods angle moreso than sportswear.

  11. It’s amazing how dated the Nike lockup feels, yet how comparatively modern the swoosh is when standing on its own.

    David, what did you get out of this visual research?

  12. Thanks for the help/additional info, folks. That’s great.

    Joseph, the main factor from this comparison was the apparent need for a stand-alone symbol to be used on clothing, footwear, or sports equipment. Whilst Prince, Wilson, and FILA don’t utilise an icon, their logotypes are simple enough to scale well.

  13. Nice collection of logos be interesting to know all the designers who designed them. Like the way you have shown them in one colour, proving that a good logo should work just as well without colour.

  14. Why isn’t Converse here? :(

  15. All of these logos are instantly recognisable and illustrate a great level of design. Obviously Nike and Adidas are amongst the most well-known and instantly recognisable logos in the world, and judging by how little their design has changed over the years it’s clear their original design has timeless properties.
    Looking at some of those others covered here its interesting to note that many have simply been refined in recent years, mostly with curved or bolder fonts in an attempt to make them cleaner.

    The general public probably wouldn’t have even noted these changes, as they are very subtle. Many, including Reeboke, now make usage of italic font styles too.

    Seeing many logo designs in a particular field like this is a good way to compare design and highlight what is successful. More articles doing this would be a good way to build up an understanding of design aspects for different fields.

  16. Eric

    I can verify that the New Balance logo was indeed created by Heckler Associates in Seattle. Heckler Associates is also responsible for such logos as Starbucks and K2.

  17. David, I believe that the Lacoste logo was designed by Robert George in 1933

  18. Although just looking at Adidas, Nike and Puma the link below shows the development of the companies and the sporting industry around them, linking to how their logos developed to reflect those developments.


  19. Eric

    Just read this in the Dec/Jan 2009 issue of Dwell Magazine (article titled “An Introduction to Graphic Design”):

    “The Nike swoosh was designed by Portland State University student Carolyn Davidson in 1971. She was paid $35.”

  20. Jonah

    Kind of surprised Everlast didn’t make the list.
    Don’t know who designed it and I’m pretty sure the company doesn’t know who designed it as its iconic bow tie dates all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century.

    I hear it’s also a fairly big fashion brand in eastern Europe and Asia if your looking for a worldwide reason.

  21. I always thought Mission Hockey had a great logo before they got bought out by Bauer.


    It was also very noticeable on equipment.


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