What is this symbol? Is there any factual reason for it's ubiquity?

I keep seeing corporate logos that consist of the company name encircled by, or spilling out from, a vertically-compressed crescent shape; here’s an example, here and here are a couple more. In some cases, the shape seems to be used to convey movement; in others, it’s tilted to look like part of a planetary ring, or an orbital path or something. There must be dozens of companies that have this shape in their logo.

The examples I’ve linked to above aren’t all that typical, except the Freeserve one, which is the format I keep seeing - a squished crescent with the company name spilling out of the open end.

Does this symbol have a formal name?
Is there some reason for it’s ubiquity - I mean, other than simple lack of imagination or copycatting - is there some graphic design software somewhere that has a ‘logo wizard’ that results in this layout, or something like that?

I would blame Nike.

I believe it’s called a ‘swoosh’, pioneered (?) by Nike.

Hey! It’s go-ahead, dynamic, funky, bla bla bla bollocks.

Well, it’s fairly simple to make: just overlap one ellipse with another ellipse. It also works well to frame whatever text you’re using without being distracting.

I’d guess it’s everywhere because it’s a cheap, easy and effective design element. If you need a logo design in a hurry and don’t want to spend much, an intern who’s never used Illustrator could produce one in under half an hour.

Or if you’re a big design corporation, you can claim it spent three months and charge a six-figure sum for it.

While we’re on the subject of Nike: How do you pronounce it?


“Nike” (as in “spike”)


And, how did the ancient Greeks pronounce the name of their goddess of victory?

The shoe company: Nigh-Kee.
The accurate Greek pronounciation: Knee-kay

‘Swoosh’ (as in Nike’s symbol) is the only term I’ve ever heard for it. There are some logos that have two swooshes together to form a circle, often with a disk or a star at some point. Plain swooshes also have stars or something on them ridiculously often.

‘Swoosh’ seems like a deliberate marketing word, because it conveys an idea of speed, innovation, and being on the cutting-edge. If there’s an alternate name for it, I’d like to know.

There are several webpages/articles devoted to the proliferation of the swoosh logo, such as this one from 2000 and this one about spirals.

I had stumbled across a couple of sites recently devoted to swooshy logos…
This appears to address your question.

My travels seemed to start here.
The links at the end led me here.

It serves me right for previewing…

So, Roches, read the Webjunkie?

Since I read this post I had a look at a tech-company-sponsored calendar behind my desk and realised that no less than three of the logos thereon had variations on the swoosh.

It is rather hackneyed, innit.

…those don’t look anything like the so-called “swoosh” to me. To me the swoosh is a check mark that some lazy designer was too tired to make angular. The listed examples look more like, oh, I don’t know, Saturn rings. They’re 3-D. Stylish ellipses rather than lazy swooshes.

Certainly the Nike swoosh has a more angular look to it, but I think they’re related symbols (I did find this on a site appearing to suggest that the Nike version has evolved from something rather more curved)

Oh, yeah! That is a Saturn ring if ever I’ve seen one. My eye practically inserts the planet for me.

Speaking of ellipsoid shapes, how about UPS’ newish logo? Some designer took the classc string-tied package off the top of the old logo, diddled with the type face and slid that … that … shape … into the logo.

Wow, I had no idea my company was so unoriginal.

Granted, I don’t work for a dot com, and had no idea that this shape was so prevalent. About three year ago we updated our logo. Originally, it was the word “JAZZIZ” inside an oval ring. We decided that it was too heavy, so we modified it be using the ring to cast a shadow, then deleting the ring and leaving the resultant shadow as part of the artwork. You can see the new logo here . Picture the original logo to be the word and a black ring where the hint of what would a white ring is now. Got it?

We did come up with the shape all by ourselves, honest. It was only later that we noticed the similarity to the Nike logo, and immediately started calling the new version the 'swoosh" logo.

Actually, FlyingDragonFan, I think that looks pretty sweet.

How many shapes are there out there to come up with? Even if Nike made up its logo all by themselves, it’s obviously a pretty common shape.

Hey, FlyingDragonFan! What do you do for Jazziz? I work in the industry, and one of my main artists is a fairly well known jazz act. (in their specific genre - Django-influenced Gypsy Swing.

Networking on the SDMB, who woulda thunk it?

This is true. The OP suggests that it’s copycatting or lack of imagination, but of course it’s not that simple. There are only so many “shapes” that can be used, and a good logo design can’t even use all of those (like, a pentagram might be a bad idea). As evidence by our example, the same shape could come about for any number of reasons. cantara’s link to the thestreet.com discusses some of the reasons that a swoosh makes sense for a dot com. A swoosh is simply a good, simple graphic element that makes sense in certain industries. Maybe it’s overplayed, but with thousands of businesses out there, common, useful things are going to be repeated.

The one I’ve noticed a lot lately is the variation of the @ symbol, except with some other letter instead of the ‘a’.

picker, I don’t want to hijack the thread. Check your email.