Nike, Great Use of Semiotics

You might have heard the word semiotics… Wait, you haven’t, well let tell you about this powerful word used by companies and brands.

Semiotics is an investigation into how meaning is created and how meaning is communicated. Its origins lie in the academic study of how signs and symbols (visual and linguistic) create meaning.

During our lives, we are expose to culture, messages that influences out ability to interpret the things we see. For example, you understand from an early age that a red intersection means stop. We understand the messages behind symbols thanks to that culture and previous experiences.

A great example of good use of semiotics is the sport company Nike. Their logo is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world

Nike Logo

Nike Swoosh — Victory at all costs

Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman founded Nike in 1972. Caroline Davidson, design student at the University of Oregon, designed the company logo: she came up with the Swoosh. The Nike owners didn’t like it initially but decided to keep it as company logo.

The wordmark removal highlights the power of the swoosh as a stand-alone symbol: the logo is not directly connected to the company but to the brand values.

The swoosh is can’t be identified with a real-life object; therefore, the viewer can interpret it using the logo actively. Th swoosh can be seen as a boomerang, a smile, a check sign, a wing depending on the viewer interpretation.

The Swoosh is a synthesis of Nike values: dynamism, energy, performance and above all, Victory at all costs.

If you want to create a brand, make sure make a logo with strong semiotics!

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