Adidas logo history: The evolution, meaning and history of the Adidas logo

Adidas logo history: The evolution, meaning and history of the Adidas logo

Adidas' logo history is one of the most interesting in the sportswear industry. The company has developed from a small, regional sportswear supplier in rural Germany into one of the top athletic footwear and apparel manufacturers. The company is well-liked by many consumers, given that they sell various goods for men and women, including clothing, footwear, and collectibles.

Adidas logo history: The evolution, meaning and history of the Adidas Logo
A man leaves the headquarters of German sportswear and equipment group Adidas in Herzogenaurach, southern Germany, in June 21, 2010. Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE
Source: Getty Images

The Adidas logo ranks among the most recognised emblems in the world. Today, it is one of the most well-known sportswear companies worldwide. Even fans of Nike and Puma instantly recognise those three lines.

Meaning of the Adidas logo

Adidas originals logo meaning
An Adidas banner in view behind Angel Di Maria of Juventus on February 9, 2023, in Turin, Italy. Photo: Daniele Badolato
Source: Getty Images

The emblem symbolises the company's goal of giving athletes worldwide top-notch athletic gear. The mountain represented by the three stripes in the logo represents the difficulties and barriers that athletes must surmount in order to succeed. Additionally, the stripes represent a variety of people and cultures.

History of the Adidas logos

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It all began with a cobbler in a tiny German town. Adolf "Adi" Dassler started making athletic shoes in his mother's bathroom in the early 1920s, shortly after the end of World War One. His older brother Rudolf joined, and the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory was established.

During the 1936 Summer Olympics 1936, Adolf Dassler persuaded American sprinter Jesse Owens to wear his shoes. Following Owen's four gold medal wins, Dassler shoes gained fame. Here is a brief history of the various changes the Adidas emblem has undergone over the years:

The Dassler logo

History and meaning behind Adidas logo
Sandra Trapp, the archivist of Adidas, holds the "Track and Field" racing shoe by Adolf Dassler from 1925, on 26 June 2019, in Bavaria, Herzogenaurach. Photo: Nicolas Armer
Source: Getty Images

The popularity of sports shoes was growing by 1924. Under the Dassler brand, the brothers were peddling 200,000 pairs a year. The original emblem showed a bird holding a thin shoe inside a shield.

After their relationship soured, the brothers broke up in 1947. Adolf registered Adidas, and Rudolf founded Ruda (later renamed Puma). Both offspring were given acronyms derived from the first and last letters of their names (Adi was a nickname for Adolf). Dassler was changed to Adolf Dassler in the Adidas logo's initial revision in 1949. Spikes and the three stripes on the sports shoe added more detail.

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The font and the company name "Adidas" were the only elements of the previous emblem still visible in 1950. It was given in a rectangle with rounded corners and was written in white. The "a's" got sharper at the ends.

By 1967, the dot was replaced by a square, the "s" ends had grown longer, and the "a's" had lost their sharp ends. The design grew heavier as a whole. Even today, this wordmark is frequently used.

The Trefoil

Adidas logo and history
Trefoil logo of the German sportswear maker Adidas on display in the company headquarters in Herzogenaurach, southern Germany, on March 8, 2017. Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE
Source: Getty Images

In 1971, the now-iconic Trefoil emblem was introduced. The now-famous three stripes run through the lower half of the icon, which was constructed from three radiating leaves. The company's name also appears below.

They represented the company's aspirations for expansion in a market undergoing rapid change visually. Major bands like The Doors, Bob Marley, and David Bowie, among others, wore this particular logo, contributing to the brand's emergence in pop culture.

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The Three Bars (mountain) logo

Adidas logo history: The evolution, meaning and history of the Adidas Logo
The German sportswear and equipment group Adidas logo at the company's headquarters in Herzogenaurach, southern Germany, on June 21, 2010. Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE
Source: Getty Images

This emblem, which debuted in 1991, is regarded by many as being the most widely used. The three parallel lines that make up the conventional watermark were still present but angled, and the company's name appeared below. It simultaneously exudes strength and cleanliness.

This emblem is used on the company's athletic line, Adidas EQT. This is the original, which is now widely recognised as the company's distinctive style and can be found on various items, including shirts, trousers, and, of course, shoes.

Adidas NEO

In 2002, the stripes were contained within a circle and appeared to be three paths leading into the distance or an animal scratch. Here, the stripes have a stylised appearance with narrower ends sweeping a gentle arch towards the right.

The logotype's font is still the same, and the emblem is still very flat. This logo now represents the Adidas Style product lines.

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The Adidas Wordmark Logo

History of the Adidas logo
Adidas AG President Herbert Hainer sits in front of his company's logo in Berlin on 28 June 2006. Photo: CLEMENS BILAN
Source: Getty Images

This debuted in 2005 and is distinguished by its left-to-right-running, horizontal, straight stripes. The company's wordmark emblem pays homage to the three-stripe pattern that made the brand easily recognisable. The logo is comprehensive enough to represent every aspect of the brand while still adhering to the company's overall style.

The Three Bars

The new 2022 design has not changed all that much, and the emblem still bears the recognisable mountain motif. However, the current one did away with Adidas' well-known wordmark and appeared to move the three stripes closer together.

Facts about the Adidas logo

Adidas logo history: The evolution, meaning and history of the Adidas Logo
FIGC President Gabriele Gravina during the unveiling of the partnership between FIGC & Adidas at the Adidas store on January 18, 2023, in Rome, Italy. Photo: Marco Rosi
Source: Getty Images

The Adidas emblem has undergone many changes since it was first designed. It is interesting to note how wise the firm has been to save and reuse earlier iterations of its designs.

In fact, all Adidas original logos made from 1967 are used for various product lines and collections. For example, the standard emblem is used for the Adidas high-performance line, whereas the trefoil one is used for lifestyle and casual streetwear.

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The Adidas logo has been the subject of controversy over its history. Some have criticised the business for using sweatshop labour to produce its goods, while others have charged it with cultural appropriation for using Native American designs in some of its items. Despite these disputes, it is still one of the most recognisable in the world and is a symbol of superior athleticism and fine craftsmanship.

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A Nike endorsement is a dream for any athlete, no matter the sport. Click on the above link above to read more!

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