Objective of the Project

As many of you learned through the writing of your logo history report, many company’s wordmarks, such as Nike, were the result of a designer doing research, often based on a word, the company name. The word Nike was the name for the Greek Goddess of victory. The goddess Nike was often depicted with wings in classical art. The Nike swoosh resulted from Carolyn Davidson’s idea to have put a visual mark that referred to the word Nike on a sneaker.

In order to help you play more with the meaning of words, we will use our class lab time in the next few weeks to do this project. You will pick a noun from any language . Then, do the following:

Phase 1: Using the library databases and other resources provided on our class site , investigate the etymology of the word you have selected. Write a short history of the word’s origin that you have learned from your research.

Along with your written history, provide images from your research and provide an audio file of the word’s pronunciation. Cite 4 sources using MLA style for the history of the word you selected. You are write this history in story form if you like.

If you were a young designer like Carol Davidson back in the 1970s researching the word Nike, here’s some images of what you might have found in books (this was before the digital world of images). The ones below were all from the internet. You have the advantage of doing research online–use our library databases and sources such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Digital Collections, more than 490, 000 works from around the world available to search, many of which are in the public domain.

Phase 2: Develop multiple styles of writing/portraying the same word. You can use different languages to do this or hand letter the word or draw it. Below are images of Carolyn Davidson’s hand lettering of the Nike work mark and some additional sketch showing on the word mark and swoosh would appear together.

Nike Wordmark & Swoosh Sketch

Nike Wordmark & Swoosh Sketch

Source : graphicdesignforum.com

 Logo Sketches with U.S. Patent Office Letter

Logo Sketches with U.S. Patent Office Letter

Source: https://www.nicekicks.com/

Carolyn Davidson

Carolyn Davidson

Source: www.nicekicks.com/

Once. you have done your research, you can adapt from the information you learned and play with ideas for how to represent it. You can use your own style of illustration. Below are some artist renderings of the goddess Nike.

Illustrations TK

Below are some images of the word Nike on merchandise in other languages.

These image are to give you an idea of how your word could be set in other languages. The sneakers on the left, were controversial because the Greek letters were not correct. Sometimes, you can’t just do it, you have to check you work carefully after you do it.

Phase 3: Do a short slide deck or Tik Tok video presenting your word to the class

For Discussion

The name of the Uggs brand originates in an Australian word Uggs which referred to any sheepskin boot. This NPR story discusses an interesting battle over the right to the trademark Uggs.


Metropolitan Museum of Art Online Collection

New York Public Digital Collections

Morgan Library Online

City Tech’s Library Research Guides and Databases

Additional Resources for this project can be found in our Course Resources/Design Publications and Course Resources/Design Resources. Also, don’t forget to use your Writing and Grammar Tips Resource Page.



Rubric TK. It will be done in Blackboard