The swoosh logo :: just leave it

The Nike logo: from humble beginnings to universal recognition.

The Nike logo: from humble beginnings to universal recognition.

Nike adopted the swoosh for its logo in 1971. It’s symbolic, it’s iconic, and it’s very appropriate for their business. (And was designed by a college student, btw.) So what is it about the swoosh that makes so many decision makers want to use it for their logo? It’s everywhere. And no one uses it as well or as meaningfully as Nike.

A new swoosh for Capital One. But WHY?

A new swoosh for Capital One. But WHY?

It seems that both big and small companies in all industries think a swoosh logo is also right for them. Take Capital One for instance. What does their new swoosh say for them? That they’re fast moving? Is it an orbit? Does it intimate forward thinking? Truly these are not unique concepts, even if that is what they’re thinking. How about coming up with a logo that distinguishes them from the competition? One that focuses on their key strenght(s).

I have to wonder what motivated each of these companies to adopt a swoosh logo. Did they see swoosh logos everywhere and figure that was the thing to do? Did they subconsciously “copy” the swoosh from one of the few companies that use it successfully (Nike, Intel)? Did they see it as hip or trendy or otherwise worthy for their compay’s most valuable asset — thier brand?

Here are some examples of the swoosh logo gone wild. I’d love to know what they were thinking. Let’s start with the swoosh on the top.

Maybe this insurance company is saying, "We've got you covered."

Maybe this insurance company is saying, "We've got you covered."


They're using a double swoosh! But what are they saying with it?

They're using a double swoosh! But what are they saying with it?


This is PVCC's new logo! Actually designed in 2007, not 1985.

This is PVCC's new logo! Designed in 2007, not 1985.

PVVC actually describes the thinking behind their new swooshy logo, saying the swoosh, “symbolizes PVCC’s location and scenic campus on a rolling hillside in Albermarle County.” Really? That’s a blue rolling hillside?

But the swoosh abuse doesn’t stop there. Some companies put the swoosh on the bottom. I’m not sure what that means. They’ve arrived here very quickly? Take a look at these.

What is it that is flying out of Illinois and around the letters?

What is it that is flying out of Illinois and around the letters?


Why did TopFlite put their swoosh below their name?

Why did TopFlite put their swoosh below their name?

There are so many swooshy logos out there. Now that you’ve read this, you’ll proably be seeing them for weeks, with a million variations. Here are a few who have their swoosh on the top, but on the left, rather than the right. (There seems to be an endless number of ways to abuse the swoosh.)

I wonder what they trade?

I wonder what they trade?


Honestly, there is so much more wrong here than just the swoosh.

Honestly, there is so much more wrong here than just the swoosh.

Just as the swoosh logo is nothing new, neither is ranting about it. Here’s another great post on swoosh abuse by Elbowruminations. The author makes some great points on not just the possible thinking behind the swoosh craze, but on the drawbacks. Just in case you were thinking that a swoosh logo is just what your company needs.

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2 Responses to “The swoosh logo :: just leave it”

  1. Esteban Says:

    My favorite bad swoosh is Burger King. They took a perfectly good logo and stuck a blue swoosh around it for no reason whatsoever.

    • authorjen Says:

      It’s interesting that you mention that, Esteban. I have some thoughts on the subject of the Burger King logo — swooshiness aside. In fact, I think I feel a new blog post coming on….

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