40 Years Of Swoosh: From Nike Air To Nike Airplane Hangars

So, here's a cool story: In the middle of the summer 40 years ago, a company called Blue Ribbon Sports needed a logo, its 33 year-old co-founder (Phil Knight) went to a graphic design student he'd met a few years earlier, and the company that eventually became known as "Nike" chose the logo that eventually became known as the "swoosh".

40 years later, the swoosh has proven to be more versatile than they expected.


Yep, that's the ventilation fan for Nike's custom-built airplane hangar.

It's been almost two months since I went out to Oregon to visit Nike Headquarters and cover Nike's elite high school football camp. It was like visiting Google's campus, if Google's campus was sports-themed and full of star athletes at all times. And free sodas. There were free sodas everywhere. But today, this really puts the free sodas in perspective. 


According to Complex Magazine, the 40,000 square foot complex "houses three Gulfstream G5 Jets for traveling executives" and "also features amenities like a lounge, gym, meeting spaces, executive suites, and a gourmet kitchen." (So... How can we all become Nike executives?)

You can find a slew of other photos at the French site that provided the original photos, and all of it looks every bit as badass and futuristic as we've come to expect from Nike at this point. Which is funny, because 40 years ago, the Nike Swoosh was just the "least awful" option. As one design blog recounts:

One day in 1969, the student, Carolyn Davidson, was approached by Knight and offered $2 per hour "to make charts and graphics" for his business. For the next two years Davidson managed the design work on BRS. "Then one day Phil asked me if I wanted to work on a shoe stripe," Davidson recalled. The only advice she received was to "Make the stripe supportive of the shoe." Davidson came up with half a dozen options. None of the options "captivated anyone" so it came down to "which was the least awful."

40 years later, thanks in large part to the Swoosh, "Nike Air" is a double entendre.

Dream big, y'all.


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