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History of Adidas Logo

You must have heard that ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’. While this is repeated often, no one talks about the quality of imitation. Would a cheap knock-off be the ‘best form of flattery’? Because if that is the case, which brand had cheaper copies than Adidas? One estimate said 10% of all Adidas products in Asia might be fake. This excessive counterfeiting of the German brand is due to two reasons: first, their products are top class, and second, anything with an Adidas logo on it sells like a hot cake.

The logo is more than just a visual mark; it’s a representation of a lifestyle, a commitment to excellence, and a connection to a global community. The Adidas brand identity transcends borders and cultures. It is a universal symbol of sport and lifestyle. Whether on sneakers, jerseys, or hoodies, the logo continues to inspire and resonate with people worldwide.

Behind this immense popularity is Adidas’ brand history full of collaborations with artists, designers, and celebrities that keep the brand fresh and relevant. Customers associate it with iconic athletes, memorable moments, and personal victories.

We haven’t forgotten the brand’s collaboration with Kanye West for Yeezy. The partnership resulted in the creation of the Yeezy line. Its sneakers featured innovative designs and technology and became highly coveted and sought-after worldwide.

Then there are also collaborations with Lionel Messi, Beyonce, Raf Simmons, Alexander Wang, Pharell Williams and a number of other celebs we drool over.


A brief Adidas logo history

The Adidas logo is a powerful symbol that encapsulates the brand’s essence and resonates with customers worldwide.

But it wasn’t always the Three Stirpes or the Trefoil we know today. Adidas logo evolution has spanned over decades as the brand grew from a small family-owned business in Germany to an apparel and sportswear juggernaut.

Adidas Logo origin

Adidas was founded by Adolf Dassler in 1949, it primarily produced sports shoes. It launched its first logo in 1949, and it consisted of a shoe hanging between the two “d” alphabets. Underneath the logo was written the German word for “sports shoes,” “Sportschuhe.


If you look closely, there is one other very subtle detail – the three stripes. However, in this design, the symbology wasn’t part of the logo but etched on the shoe sitting between two ds.

These strips will now feature on every logo the company will be designing in years to come.

The story behind the iconic telltale stripes is also interesting. Although people believe that the three stripes have some numerological meaning, the truth is that they were initially there only for design purposes and later became associated with the brand.

The founder, Adolf Dassler, tried many numbers of stripes but he concluded that only three stripes stand out in terms of design and appear prominently in photography. Since then, the design has become a world-famous trademark that symbolizes Adidas. 

The new logo of a diversified company

In 1972 Adidas expanded from a shoe seller into an apparel company. This diversification also called for a new logo to represent the company’s expanded products.


This led to the creation of the Trefoil, designed by a German creative agency. It drew inspiration from florals as the new logo featured three leaf-shaped foils. The iconic Three Stripes found their place in this logo as well, and this time, the stirpes ran through the three foils.

The Trefoil logo was printed on every clothing manufactured from 1972 and on shoes from 1976. However, in 2000, the company decided to use the Trefoil on its Originals products only as a mark of respect to the brand’s heritage. 

Three bars are introduced

In 1989, the brand decided to create a new logo. It sought the help of a designer and creative consultant for a new logo. This led to the creation of the Adidas Equipment logo, inspired by the brand’s commitment to providing athletes with the best gear possible.


The new logo was released to the public in 1991. It had the trademark Three Stripes arranged in the form of three bars.

Adidas Neo: A fresh approach


Adidas Neo was a sub-brand launched by Adidas in the early 2000s. It aimed to capture a younger and more fashion-forward audience by blending sportswear with street style. The Neo line featured casual sneakers, apparel, and accessories that resonated with urban aesthetics. It was all about comfort, versatility, and a dash of trendiness.

The Neo logo was an innovation to the Adidas logo design, and it underwent several transformations during its existence. The early logo retained the iconic Three Stripes but with a twist. It incorporated a more contemporary font and often featured a stylized “Neo” alongside the stripes.

The Neo logo exuded youthfulness, often appearing in vibrant colors. It aimed to resonate with the energetic spirit of its target audience.

However, around 2018, Adidas made strategic decisions to streamline its sub-brands. As a result, Adidas Neo gradually phased out, and its products merged into the broader Adidas Originals line.

Logo typography


The Adidas logo is a prime example of minimalist design. Its typography embodies simplicity, which has stood the test of time. Adidas uses a sans-serif font because they are clean, modern, and easy to read, particularly in small sizes often used on clothing labels or logos. This choice reflects a focus on functionality and a clean aesthetic, aligning with the brand’s image of performance and innovation.

Using all lowercase letters creates a more casual and approachable feel. It suggests a brand that is relatable and not overly formal. This aligns with Adidas’ desire to connect with a broad audience of athletes and everyday people.

The consistent use of the same typeface across all branding materials reinforces brand identity and creates a sense of unity.

Meaning of Adidas logo

The Adidas logo or, Adidas symbol or Adidas emblem – whatever you want to call it – has always exuded a sense of consistency. It always featured the stripes, which became the brand’s identity.

Not only that, but the company has also always tried to use its logos for subtle messaging and spreading the values that it stands for and express its commitment to providing its customers with the best quality products.

The Adidas logo resembles a mountain meant to convey the idea of individuals overcoming obstacles and pursuing their goals. As for the logo with a round emblem, it represents the world and adapts to changes quickly.

The iconic Three Stripes logo carries several meanings that evoke the brand’s identity and resonate with customers:

Heritage and tradition

The Three Stripes logo has been a consistent element of Adidas branding since the 1990s. This longevity symbolizes the brand’s deep-rooted heritage and tradition in the sports and athletic apparel industry. Customers recognize and trust the logo as a symbol of quality and performance.

Performance and Quality

The Three Stripes themselves represent the brand’s commitment to performance and excellence in athletic wear. Adidas has a long history of providing high-quality products designed to enhance athletic performance, and the logo serves as a visual reminder of this dedication to quality.

Distinctive brand identity

The Three Stripes logo is instantly recognizable and distinguishes Adidas from its competitors. It has become synonymous with the brand and is a powerful tool for building brand recognition and loyalty. Customers associate the logo with Adidas’s reputation for innovation, style, and authenticity.

Dynamic and energetic

The design of the Three Stripes logo conveys a sense of motion and energy, reflecting the brand’s dynamic and progressive nature. This resonates with customers who are actively seeking products that help them perform at their best.

Global appeal

The simplicity of the Three Stripes logo allows it to transcend cultural and language barriers, making it universally recognizable and appealing to customers worldwide. This global recognition strengthens Adidas’s position as a leading international brand.

The simplicity of the Three Stripes has handed the brand immense advantages. These are easily recognizable even from afar and can be reproduced on various scales and the lack of complex details allows for various interpretations, adding a layer of intrigue and fostering brand association with different values.

The Adidas three bars logo joins the ranks of iconic logos like Nike’s swoosh and Apple for several reasons. It has had a significant cultural impact, transcending its origins in sportswear to become a symbol of fashion, lifestyle, and urban culture. It has been embraced by athletes, celebrities, and consumers around the world, cementing its status as an iconic emblem of style and athleticism.

Final Thoughts

Despite several iterations of the Adidas logo over the years, the typography has retained its essential characteristics, maintaining a sense of timelessness. This consistency in typography reflects the brand’s enduring heritage and tradition while also allowing for evolution and adaptation to contemporary design trends.




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