We easily associate the 70s with stylised hippie fashion and, shall we say, daring colour palettes. Being born in the early 70s myself, my memories of the decade are mostly vague but the family photos display an interesting array of fashion choices, haircuts and interior style!
The 1970s was also a decade where a great number of stellar global brand marques were designed, some of which are surprisingly modern and timeless.
Obvious 70s brands, not listed below, from the 70s include Chupa Chups (designed by Salvador Dali) and Biba (created in 1973). Both are typical of what we think 70s design is with curvaceous organic 'flower power' forms and flowing typography.
Whether you believe the design and tastes of this decade were fearless or a style travesty, there was some seriously sharp graphic design going on. Here are our top five logos, born in the 70s:
Even though Nintendo has switched their logo 17 times since the above design, it remains remarkably intact – proving the strength of slow and evolutionary design updates. Red was a very popular colour choice in the 70s and set against a white background it feels very timeless with the lozenge proving resilient as a design feature.
This mustard-yellow and muted red colour combination puts the Kodak logo at the forefront of forward thinking 70s design. Created in 1971, it sets the text within the iconic K-shape that served them well until it was designed away in 2006 – perhaps a reflection of the brands inability to survive the shift to digital in the 1990s?
The Nike swoosh is the most iconic icon ever in my opinion and one that has only seen minimal evolution in the last 50 years. The logo was famously designed by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University for a fee of $35. Pressed by a tight deadline, company’s co-founder, Phil Knight approached Davidson in 1971 to craft the logo. Though Davidson came out with several concepts, the “Swoosh” was chosen. I'd just love to have seen the other concepts!
The Polaroid logo was designed to reflect their unrivalled colour photography technology that reached its peak in the mid-70s and supplied two thirds of the market globally. It was a very modern design for the time, wanting to appear futuristic and technical with clean black font to maximise the contrast to the rainbow icon. Very tight letter spacing creates a compactness that we wouldn't normally see today and I would describe it as a print only technique.
Last but not least, Apple. The initial start-up logo was a rather Victorian mini scene of Newton sitting under a tree, and I for one, can't help thinking that inspiration must was been drawn from the '72 Polaroid design (who were at the top of their game in '77) in the creation of the first 'modern' apple logo as seen above. Steve Jobs hired Rob Janoff who created the world-famous bitten apple and they have never looked back.
The increasing importance of graphic design is really evident during the 1970s with such a large volume of lasting work. The above examples also prove that a well designed logo that is nurtured means you build an incredibly strong brand identity over time. Be ready to innovate around the core graphics, like Apple do, and you will have plenty of scope to create highly effective campaigns.