Puma is a renowned sportswear brand that dates back to 1948 when the company only had 14 employees; today that number has grown to over 19,000. It has retained its reputation and is ranked among the leading sports brands globally, along with others like Nike and Adidas. Many people do not know that Adidas and Puma were founded by two German brothers, passionate about making sports shoes. You may also be curious to know how a puma and sports are related; thus, we have researched the history of the Puma logo. Below is everything we discovered.
A Family Dispute Led to The Founding of Puma
Rudolf and Adolf Dassler were two brothers who had grown up watching their father run a shoemaking business. Therefore in the 1920s, the two decided to team up and venture into the sports market. Their dream came to pass when they founded Gebr-der Dassler Schuhfabrik, their shoemaking company that was successful because each of the brothers had a specific skill set. While Rudolf marketed the products, Adolf was in charge of production and looking for creative ways to make the shoes. Their product became so popular that athletes wore them during the 1928 and 1936 Olympics held in Amsterdam and Berlin.
They say nothing lasts forever, and unfortunately, Gebr-der Dassler Schuhfabrik was taken over by the army during the Second World War. As a result, instead of making the sports shoes they were known for, the brothers were forced to make boots for the soldiers. Things at home were also not looking great because Rudolf and Adolf's wives were not getting along, and the brothers knew it was time to go their separate ways. Consequently, in 1948 they shut down the family business, and each of them still determined to continue with the shoemaking business formed their own companies. Adolf founded Addas while Rudolf established Ruda; the brothers coined the names by combining the first letters of their first and last names.
Adolf later changed his company's name from Addas to Adidas because Addas was too similar to a company that already existed. Rudolf, on the other hand, a marketing guru, wanted his products to sell fast. He, therefore, changed the company name from Ruda to Puma. According to CatchUp, Rudolf wanted his products to embody the attributes of the puma: agility, strength, speed, endurance, and suppleness, similar to what a successful athlete needs.
The Evolution of The Puma Logo
When Rudolf founded his company in 1948, he still incorporated the puma in the logo. Therefore the first logo, which the business used from 1948 to 1951, comprised a black silhouette of the puma, jumping through the letter "D" to pay tribute to "Dassler." A white dot symbolized the eye of the Puma. In 1951, the same logo was used, but this time they incorporated a few changes. The puma's image jumping through "D" had the word "puma" at the bottom, and a hexagon encompassed them. At first, according to Logos-World.net, there was a version that had the image of the jumping Puma inside a simple geometric figure. However, in 1957, the word "puma" was introduced, and a black and white contour added to the hexagon. In 1958, the hexagon was turned into a wide frame to fit "RUDOLF DASSLER SCHUHFABRIK." Each of the three words on each side of the hexagon.
According to Turbo Logo, Puma manufactured its first football boot after the Second World War ended. Therefore, it made sense for the company to change from the jumping puma and introduce an entirely new non-official logo in 1958. It was a football boot with the words "Puma Formstrip" at the top of the image. Puma was written in a thick sans-serif while "formstrip" was in Italics. That logo was in use for ten years when Rudolf commissioned Lutz Backes, a caricaturist, to design the next one. The change from the football boot was because Rudolf felt it did not signify the characteristics of the puma he had set out to incorporate in his logo.
Changing the Logo To Incorporate A Cougar's Body Parts
When Lutz was commissioned to design a different logo, he drew a black panther and added the head and legs of a cougar. That logo was used from 1968 to 1970 when the only change was instead of the puma being black, it was white. The cat also appeared to change from jumping forward to upwards. The tail also went from being on the same level as the body to being raised. That long tail caused Rudolf to joke that he had to pay more in advertising fees. Lutz had a chance to be rich when Rudolf offered to pay him a cent for each product sold bearing the logo. However, the caricaturist declined and asked to be paid 600 marks only, a costly mistake because he would be a multi-millionaire considering Puma products' success. Rudolf also gave him a sports bag and a pair of shoes in addition to the one-time payment.
In 1974, the puma was once again modified by being painted black. On its left was "puma" and the entire image was in a rectangular box. In 1976, the company did away with the jumping puma image and only had "puma" where "p" was in lowercase while the rest were uppercase. However, since the jumping cougar image has become synonymous with the brand, it was only fair to reuse it; hence in 1978, it was reintroduced. The cougar was placed at the upper-right corner as if leaping over "puma." The only change in the logo in 1980 was the addition of a translucent formstrip on "puma" that was removed eight years later when the company went back to using the 1978 logo that has remained to date. Although the main colors have always been black and white, sometimes, they use red and white.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith