At least once in your life you obtained the item by Adidas, didn’t you? Well, except for the high-quality and stylish shoes and apparel, the brand has a spectacular story of Adidas logo evolution.
The biography of Adidas brand is so saturated in rich in details, unexpected twists and legend-like events, that it can make you appreciate Adidas much more. You can check out the biopic movie about the brand’s founding brothers (it’s called “Adidas vs Puma”, google it and you won’t regret). But let’s discuss it next time, right now I’d like to look at it from the design’s perspective and come along the way of Adidas logo development.
What does Adidas stand for?
The history of this brand happened to be very complicated with its ups and downs. The world-known brand used to produce sports shoes only and was called “Dassler Shoes” after its founder German cobbler — Adolf Dassler. And as it goes in fairytales for kids, there was a young brother Rudolf, who eventually became Adolf’s rival. Armed with a desire to create something as successful, he founded Puma. What are the odds!
Adolf “Adi” Dassler
Adolf Dassler was born in a small town in eastern Franconia. After returning from the First World War service, he began making sports shoes. Adolf partnered up with his brother Rudolf in 1924 and in 1936 they gained fame by providing running shoes for American athlete Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics.
Speaking of Adidas meaning as the word for naming a brand, it comes from Dassler’s nickname “Adi”. Imagine what would your company’s name be, based on a nickname you had in childhood? Dassler got extremely lucky with his one and registered “Adidas” company in 1949.
The three-stripe company
What stands behind Adidas logo meaning? In 1967 the first design concepts included three stripes along the side of each shoe, allowing Adolf Dassler to call Adidas “the three-stripe company”. Stripes’ meaning in the Adidas logo wasn’t attached to a certain symbolism though. In fact, the three stripes trademark was bought from the Finnish sports brand Karhu Sports. There’s even a story about the price Dassler paid for this Adidas logo version: only €1,600 and two bottles of whiskey — the conditions, suiting Finnish company after the WWII crisis.
All the shoe models of that time just included three stripes on the side instead of a distinct Adidas logo, but serving the significant push to founding one of the most recognizable logotypes of the previous century and nowadays.
Adidas trefoil was born
There’s a little known about the company experiencing some problems with the brand controversy (during WWII Adolf Dassler was attracted by the Nazi ideology) and target audience concerns. But armed with a desire to highlight the diversity, Adidas trefoil was brought to life. It’s an Adidas logo, composed of three leaves, standing for North America, Europe, and Asia — the three main landmasses where Adidas shoes were sold. As you can tell, the three stripes are still here, adding the final touch to the Adidas logo, making it the first corporate symbol of a company. Adidas trefoil has reserved its place for Adidas Originals collection.
Mountain logo as a new Adidas symbol
At the beginning of the 90s creative director of Adidas, Peter Moore helped Adidas logo to find its new dimensions: this time the legendary stripes have flipped the way they started to represent the mountain logo. Three bards, placed in ascending order (inspired by the way the stripes look on a footwear) symbolize the challenging path of achieving a goal. This topic is especially close to athletes, opting for Adidas apparel and footwear.
A year later Adidas had a collab with Salomon Sports, combining the blue color of Adidas logo and red color from Salomon. The logotype was made into a diamond-shaped figure, but there was also the silhouette of a man, raising his arms up, celebrating the victory.
Adidas NEO steps in
The year 2002 is marked by the emergence of a sub-brand under the Adidas group, called NEO and putting emphasis from sport to everyday fashion and the young generation style. All the products from the collection were made more affordable and the Adidas logo appeared as a sphere with the three classical stripes. This Adidas symbol version was often depicted as white symbols on a green background.
When Adidas logo met simplicity
Since 2005 Adidas symbol hasn’t changed from the reduced logotype, containing three stripes only. The introduced “wordmark” Adidas logo is a representation of the minimalistic and iconic look of the brand, paying respects to the origins of a trademark, invented by Adolf Dassler. This Adidas logo version is meant to denote leadership, improvement, and evolution.
For millions of people, the brand has become something more than just the brand, it’s a lifestyle and statement now. Who knows how many more Adidas logo transformations we’ll see in the future. It would be important for the brand’s perception to reward any new version with a symbolic sense as it was with all the Adidas logo predecessors. Otherwise the question “what does Adidas stand for?” will remain unanswered.