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A History of the Nike Swoosh Logo

You’ve seen the shoe, and you know the Swoosh — but chances are you don’t know much about the history of the Nike logo, let alone that a woman was behind the iconic design.

The memorable emblem was created in 1971 when a Portland State University graphic design student named Carolyn Davidson was approached by Nike’s founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, who explained to her that they needed a logo for their soon-to-be launched sneaker brand.

At the time, Knight, a track runner, and Bowerman, a coach, had recently changed the brand’s name to Nike Inc. after originally calling it Blue Ribbon Sports when the brand launched in 1964.

In a 2011 interview with “The Oregonian,” Davidson shared that she agreed to take on the project, charging Knight and Bowerman $2 an hour for her work with the final invoice coming to just $35.