Walgreens is a drugstore that is advertised with an easily recognized logo. Since it's development in 1901, the logo has undergone a series of changes. It's a clean and simple logo that states the name of the company, but it does so with a tremendous impact with its cursive styling. Here is the history of and story behind the iconic Walgreens logo.
A special design for a special business
Charles Walgreen opened the first drugstore in the year 1901. He understood the value of a strong and impactful logo. The very first logo for the business was designed for the store, and it was a lot different than the logo we see today.
The very first logo was made in a handwritten font that was a custom grey color. It was clean and simple. The drugstore enjoyed a modest amount of business, and the original logo remained in place for 50 years. It is worth noting that the first log said "Walgreen" and not "Walgreen's."
The evolution of the Walgreen logo
In 1951, the company began to expand and grow. Changes in the identify brand also created an urgency to update the logo. This would be the first change in the logo. The grey color was changed to red to make it more memorable. Another addition was made to the design with a mortar and pestle added in blue coloring and the slogan "The Pharmacy American Trusts. The logo was also changed from "Walgreen" to "Walgreens." The addition of the"S" was a big change.
The second update
The Walgreen logo remained the same from 1951 for a period of 30 years. After three decades, the second update was made in 1981. A new element was added to the scheme of the logo with the depiction of a family.
The new symbols featured the white silhouettes of a woman, a man, and a child with the child in the middle against a black background. The color of the name Walgreens was changed to white. It was a basic black and white logo that would endure for another 12 years.
New styling in 1993
The next changes made to the Walgreen logo included a restyling of the logo with red word mark and a more prominent aesthetic. A depiction of the mortar and pestle was added to the logo and the mortar was placed above the emblem and colored red. The cursive script was still maintained with the S remaining as a constant.
The last changes made
The 1993 version of the Walgreens logo remained unchanged until 2005. The mortar was eliminated from what is now the current version of the log and the letters were also changed. To make a stronger visual impact, the letters are broadened and streamlined. The cursive script still remains.
Controversy over the Walgreen's logo
At a glance, the Walgreens logo is still simple, and it's hard to imagine that a logo that uses the name of a company could become the subject of controversy, but it did. Wegmans had an issue in 2008, over the similarity of the Flying W styling in the Walgreen's logo with their Rochester based company.
When compared, there were noticeable features that were arguably, similar. Walgreen's, however, ended up suing Wegmans in 2010, because the Walgreen's logo was created much earlier than the Wegmans' logo created from an old logo in the 1930s.
Controversy connected with symbol
If you have ever seen the logo that Rochester-based Wegmans began using back in 2008, you could have noticed the similarity to the Walgreens’ “Flying W”. That was the reason that made Walgreens sue Wegmans in 2010. However, Wegmans stated they actually used one of their old logos that was created much earlier than the Wegmans’, in the 1930s.
Walgreen's takes the high road on logo disputes
Another controversy surrounding the Walgreen's logo is its similarity with The Washington Nationals logo. The famed baseball team faced potential logo infringement penalties because the two logos are strikingly similar. Since the team developed its logo years after Walgreen's there was a potential conflict.
After discussions and the beginnings of legal action, the Walgreen's team met with the Washington Nationals' legal advisors and struck a deal that was lucrative for both parties. Walgreen's agreed to all The Washington Nationals to keep their logo, although similar to Walgreen's, without any further legal action if they would agree to a compromise.
The out of court settlement provided that beginning in 2013, the team had to change it's name to the Washington Walgreens for a total of twelve games a year and this change would commence for the following ten seasons.
The second condition maintained that the chain had the option of choosing four of the Nationals' players to represent the drugstore in television commercials for a period of five years, and Walgreens would become the official drugstore of the team.
A part of this promotion also required two members of the Nationals team to become licensed and practicing pharmacists who would work at the counters located in the Walgreen's in the D.C. metro area for an undisclosed amount of time.
The Walgree's logo is still recognizable by its iconic script style font. The first logo that remained in force for 50 years has evolved to reflect the elements of advertising that make it memorable, although they've not been that dramatic. It still maintains a clean and simple styling, but the introduction of different colors has made it stand out more.
Broadening the size of the letters helped to achieve that goal as well. The company has experimented with a variety of aesthetic changes through the decades, but the Walgreens logo is still easy to recognize and the changes were accomplished without a total revision so those who remember it from the early beginnings are still reminded of the store when they see the symbol.
You can also read:
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee