40th anniversary of the Swoosh

In 1971, Phil Knight, the owner of Blue Ribbon Sports (I know, the first thing I thought of was beer, too), wanted to launch its own brand of running shoes distinct from others that it imported. Knight approached Carolyn Davidson, a freelance graphic designer he hired couple years prior at the princely hourly rate of $2, and asked her to design a shoe stripe for this new brand with the only guiding direction to “make the stripe supportive of the shoe.” Among the half dozen designs the “swoosh,” inspired by the Greek goddess of victory Nike, was selected in June that year with Knight commenting “I don’t love it, but it will grow on me.” And how much did Davidson charge for her work? $35.

I think it’s safe to say that through shrewd business and marketing strategies, the world grew to love this swoosh. I know I did. When I moved to this country at the age of 7, the first thing I remember drawing in art class: my brand new, dope Nike Air high-tops. Anyhoo, here’s a hilarious Nike related newspaper correction.

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