Just Do It



Just Do It © Ilan Wittenberg 2023 Limited Edition of 9 + 2AP Buy Now


Lost and Found at Long Bay beach carpark: Two (2) Nike shoes (left and right), size 13, made in Indonesia; both smell really bad.

The iconic Nike “Swoosh” was created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University. Accounting instructor Phil Knight (Nike’s co-founder), overheard Davidson say that she couldn’t afford oil painting supplies for her graphic design class and asked Carolyn to design a logo for his new shoe company that “had something to do with movement”. The Swoosh design took Davidson around 17.5 hours to design. She was paid $35 for her work. At the time, he stated of the logo, “I don’t love it, but it will grow on me.” In 1983, Knight presented Carolyn with a box of chocolate swooshes, a gold diamond ring engraved with the Swoosh, and 500 shares of Nike stock, worth about US$4 million today.

Nike’s logo has played a significant role in key moments and campaigns in the brand’s history. This includes the rebranding of Blue Ribbon Sports, the famous “Just Do It” campaign in the late 1980s, and the 1992 “Dream Team” Olympics campaign featuring iconic basketball players such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. In 2018, Nike made a bold statement on social justice issues by launching a groundbreaking campaign with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, using the now-iconic tagline “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” While the campaign was controversial at the time, it proved to be a huge commercial success for Nike.

Nike takes its name from the winged goddess of victory in Greek mythology. Athletes who sought victory revered Nike, and she symbolized triumph. She led Zeus into battle as Eris, the goddess of strife, led Typhon. During their fight, Nike shielded Zeus while he wielded thunderbolts and freezing rain. Zeus defeated Typhon by using fire and ice, claiming victory over the Titans.

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