The original Nike logo proposal by designer Carolyn Davidson

Carolyn Davidson designed the Swoosh in 1971 while a graphic design student at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She was originally paid only $35 for her work, but during a shareholders meeting in 1983, Carolyn had been given 500 shares of stock, which she has never sold. Since the stock undergone a split several times, the shares are now worth appr. $750,000.



Hand inked.
Love the whiteout.
Glad they compensated her eventually.


I knew most of this story but I didn’t know Carolyn never sold her Nike stocks. I wonder what she is waiting for?

It’s cool to see all the old design techniques in effect: shaved edges of paper glued over mistakes and redrawn…

I tried to find a portfolio of her work with no luck. It would be interesting to see her body of work throughout the years.

I remember drawing logos with technical pens on Chromecoat. The Chromecoat paper had an extremely smooth surface that could be easily scratched off with an X-Acto blade. This made scratching off ink and fine-tuning those logo edges a lot easier.

No designer’s toolbox was complete without a bottle of Pelikan Graphic White.



Jeez… It’s been so long I’d forgotten that stuff.
Used to use it on inked stuff we touched up for stat camera work.

It was essential for lots of paste-up work to fill in shadowy areas where type was cut and squeezed together. Without it, those spots would sometimes show up on the Ortho film or stats after being shot in the process camera. When in doubt, we’d just fill in the shadowy areas on the mechanicals with Graphic White.

Much as I’d like to say “those were the days”, I am very glad that they’re over. As one grows older, eyesight is the first to go. Next is … funny, I don’t remember.

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OMG technical pens, process blue pencils, stencils, acetate, spray fixer…

Modern designers have no idea the hoops we had to jump through just to make a text change lol. I used to love that 70’s line art (ex: Yellow Submarine Film) and the fashion had a nice clean shape: very Audrey Hepburn classical with a hint of comedy.

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