Puma Logo: History, Evolution and Branding

Puma, one of the leading sports brands in the world, manufactures some of the best athletic footwear and accessories. We will explore the brand’s history, logo, color and brand positioning in this article.

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“Not that many years ago, Puma was languishing behind its rivals Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. No longer. Under the stewardship of its global director of brand and marketing, Adam Petrick, Puma has been growing much faster than its competitors, and its stock has delivered superior returns. This past October, Puma made its debut on our list of the world’s most valuable sports brands.”

Puma Logo: History, Evolution and Branding

Not only has Puma grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, but it has also made its mark on various environmental practices. An article published in The Guardian mentioned that Puma was the “world’s first major company to put a value on its environmental impact.”

Apart from following various sustainability programs, Puma has also obtained labor-friendly accreditation from Ethical Clothing Australia for its Australian-made goods.

Puma: Brand History

After returning from World War 1, Rudolf Dassler worked in a porcelain factory as a salesman. Later, he worked in a leather trading house where he brought his experiences as a shoemaker, which he had gathered from working with his father.

Rudolf, along with his younger brother, Adolf, established a sports shoe factory in 1924. The brothers called the new factory “Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik.” Initially, the brothers manufactured the shoe from their mother’s laundry. Their mother, Pauline, ran a laundry in Franconian, a town in Herzogenaurach, Germany.  

The electricity in Franconian was unreliable, so the brothers, sometimes, had to use the power generated from pedaling a stationary bicycle to run the factory equipment. This incident reveals the hard work that the brothers put in to turn the company into an iconic one.

In the 1936 Summer Olympics, the brothers went to Berlin and convinced sprinter Jesse Owens to wear one of their spikes. Owens won four gold medals!

This incident is important in two counts: one, an African American, Jesse Owens, was sponsored for the first time, and second, the Dassler brothers began their successful journey. And before World War 2 could begin, the brothers were selling more than 200,000 pairs of shoes yearly!

In 1948, the brothers split the company due to contradictory views on running the business. Adolf formed Adidas while Rudolf established Ruda. However, Rudolf changed the name to Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler.

The split gave the town of Herzogenaurach a new name, “the town of bent necks.” The nickname was given because the town dwellers often stared at a stranger’s feet to see which shoes they wore.

Puma Logo Branding (Rebranding)

Puma Logo: History, Evolution and Branding

Puma has changed its visual identity eleven times in its history. Let us quickly explore each one.

1948 – 1968

The first visual identity of the shoe company featured an elongated “D” and a black cat that leaped amid the letter. The monochrome image is beautifully crafted; however, Puma markets the 1958 emblem as their first logo.

1951 – 1968

The 1951 redesign brought more lettering and geometry to the original logo.  The 1948 emblem was now placed amid a double hexagonal frame with Rudolf Dassler Schufabrik inscribed in the space between the hexagons.

1958 – 1968

The 1958 design featured a shoe with the wordmark placed on the top. The new logo symbolized the spirit of sports. The redesign only remained with the brand for two years.

1968 – 1970

The black cat came back in the 1968 version of the logo. The minimalistic design looked unique and grabbed the attention of the audience quickly; however, this logo also remained with Puma for two years.

1970 – 1974

The black cat was replaced with a white one in the 1970 redesign. The puma appeared more vertical in the 1970 redesign. The logo appeared balanced and elegant.

1974 – 1976

The 1974 redesign added new elements to the logo. The cat changed its color to black, and the wordmark got a makeover with a sans serif typeface. The letters were rounded at the angels of the wordmark. The entire design was placed within a black rectangular frame.

1976 – 1978

The 1976 logotype featured italicized letters. The cat was replaced by a thick line placed beneath the elongated “P.” The new logo was simple yet modern.

1978 – 1980

The leaping black cat made a comeback in the 1978 redesign, and the letters of the wordmark were capitalized. The elegant cat leaping over the wordmark looked balanced and extremely graceful.

1980 – Present

The 1980 redesign is one of the two logos in use today. The soft contours of the cat are extremely pleasing to the eyes. The 1980 logo redesign is timeless, relevant and elegant.

1980 – 1988

The 1980 redesign was a combination of the leaping cat and the addition of a light gradient image to the wordmark.  The 1980 version of the logo remained with Puma for eight years.

1988 – Present

The present logo is almost identical to the 1980 version; however, the contours appear smoother and softer. The iconic Puma logo portrays reliability and the spirit of sports.

Puma Logo Color Palette 

Colors, according to various scientific studies, evoke varied emotions in people. When a specific color is used with different shapes, it could evoke completely opposite emotions. For example, if red is combined with a rectangle or square, it may evoke passion, happiness and safety. When the same color is used with a downward-facing triangle, it may symbolize danger.

Brand designers understand the importance of colors, which is why they intelligently combine them for the benefit of the company. From a company’s logo design to website to billboards, brands use colors to attract specific types of customer groups.

Puma uses five hex colors to represent their brand. You may easily find these colors in their logos, website, stores, billboards and banners. The following are the hex colors the brand uses:

  • 000000
  • 44403f
  • 696965
  • ba2026
  • ae946d
Puma Logo: History, Evolution and Branding

Puma Tagline

A tagline, like a logo, quickly communicates the brand story in one sentence. It indicates the market position of a brand in a few catchy words. Puma is the only sports manufacturing company that does not have a slogan.

With that said, Puma uses various one-liners for its products to create a powerful impact. “She Moves Us,” “Only See Great” and “Keep Pushing Forward Forever Faster” are some of their one-liners that have created a powerful impact.

Puma Logo Fonts

The font used in the logotype is very close to the My Puma typeface designed by Samuel Park. My Puma is from the sans serif family and contains diacritical and Latin Letters.

Puma Logo: History, Evolution and Branding

Brand Positioning

Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand

Kotler & Keller

Puma uses a combination of psychographic, demographic and geographic strategies to evaluate customer’s needs in an ever-evolving and competitive market. After the evaluation process, Puma works out an emotional angle to position its brand; hence, it always appears to offer a value proposition to the consumers.

Final words,

From sponsoring the first African American to becoming one of the leading manufacturers of athletic shoes, Puma has traveled a long way. A graphic designer can learn the secrets of effective branding from iconic brands such as Puma. The leading athletic goods manufacturer has taken its brand to new heights through hard work and innovation.

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