Convenience store operator 7-Eleven is part of the Japanese group of companies Seven & I Holdings headquartered in Dallas. He owns over 60,000 retail outlets worldwide, mainly in Asia and North America. Each mini-market sells food and drinks 24 hours a day.
Meaning and History
The modern chain of stores was laid in 1927 when several ice traders merged to form the Southland Ice Company. Their business was indirectly related to food because ice blocks were used instead of electric refrigerators. The firm turned one glacier into a freezer to offer locals eggs, milk, and other perishable goods around the clock. The business turned out to be profitable, so the leaders decided to increase the number of commercial outlets.
This is how a whole retail chain, Tote’m Stores, appeared. It got its name from the totem poles of Indians standing in front of the entrances to the shops. A similar pillar was depicted on the logo, which made the identity coherent. The company went bankrupt during the financial crisis. Still, it returned to the market and even succeeded in the liquor trade when Prohibition was repealed in the United States.
After World War II, the retailer renamed all Tote’m Stores to 7-Eleven. The new name indicated the extended opening hours: the stores were open seven days a week, from seven in the morning to eleven in the evening. Then they got a logo that reflected the new name. In 1963, retail outlets began to switch to around-the-clock mode. It all started with a store located near the University of Texas. It didn’t close at night so that students could buy something on their return home from soccer competitions. It turned out to be so profitable that the rest of the network followed suit. The graphics change did not affect its name and logo in any way.
In 1999, Southland Corporation, which owns convenience stores and franchise rights, ditched its old name to 7-Eleven, Inc. It continued to develop so that in 2003 the 25,000th store was inaugurated. Now the company is known for its impressive range of products and its corporate logo, which has changed many times. Despite the redesigns, it almost always featured a red-orange “7” on a green background.
1927 – 1946
Around 1927, the Southland Ice Company began using its glaciers to store beverages and food for retail. This is how the first Tote’m stores appeared. Over time, the trading network adopted a logo that consisted of several inscriptions. In the center was the big word “TOTE’M” against a background of white clouds. Each letter looked like a ritual statue, but the first “T” with the figures of an eagle and a man stood out most of all. The wings of the bird spread out to the sides formed a horizontal “T” line.
Both the name and the visual symbolism of the brand were associated with a real totem pole that stood in front of the entrance to one of the stores. It was a souvenir brought from Alaska in 1928. The company owners realized that such a marketing tool increases the number of customers, so they were not too lazy to install totems near each outlet.
The lower half of the logo was occupied by additional inscriptions: “SERV-ICE” and “THE YEAR-ROUND.” The designers made the letters three-dimensional, extending the dark outlines at the bottom and left. The text was placed diagonally, while the distant characters were smaller than the close ones, making the lines seem to go into the distance.
1946 – 1953
In 1946, the Southland Ice Company had several City Ice and Tote’m outlets. The owners decided to unite them under the common name 7-Eleven, which indicated the opening hours from 7:00 to 23:00, a rarity for grocery stores. To highlight its main competitive advantage, the retailer has incorporated “7-Eleven” into its new logo.
The brand name looked like a shining sign in the shape of a four-leaf clover – a powerful talisman of good luck. It was turned to the left and appeared three-dimensional due to the wide white border with silvery shadows. The center section was green. Inside was a red number “7” crossed by the white and green word “ELEVEN.”
1953 – 1969
There was a two-dimensional version of the emblem with a round base. The seven acquired clear wide lines in it, and the inscription “ELEVEN” became black and oblique. In this case, the word was on a white background, crossing the red number in the middle. The name of the chain of stores was located inside a white inverted trapezoid with a frame of thin lines. That, in turn, was placed in a green circle. Under the letter, “E” was the registered trademark.
1969 – 2004
The designers have divided the seven into two blocks: orange and red. In addition, they repainted the circle and lettering in turquoise, removed the thin lines around the edges of the trapezoid, and rounded its corners. At the same time, the word “ELEVEN” was aligned horizontally and received a new font. The logo designer insisted that the last letter “n” be lowercase because that way, the image looked harmonious. Due to the decrease in the trapezoid, the lower edge of the number “7” protruded slightly beyond its limits.
1978 – 1986
Gradually expanding, the company has updated its identity. As a result, the logo’s shape changed: it became square, and the white trapezoid moved up and even went beyond the frame. The developers again used green instead of turquoise, which gave the image a traditional look.
1986 – today
In 1986, 7-Eleven got a brand name that is still relevant today. Its base is a turquoise rectangle. The rest of the elements are the same as those on the 1969 round emblem: a white trapezoid and an orange-red seven with the turquoise word “ELEVEN.”
2013 – today
Another version of the logo is used for stores in Ohio and Chicago: a light green square with white lowercase “eleven” in the lower half. The two-color number “7” remains, but now it sits directly in the square, without a white inverted trapezoid base.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The most prominent feature in the 7-Eleven branding is the lowercase “n,” which is as large as the uppercase “E,” “L,” and “V.” This makes the company logo one of the most recognizable in the world. Rumor has it that the wife of the founder of the brand suggested lowering the “n” to make the lettering elegant. Whether this is true is not known for certain. Retail executives have never confirmed or refuted the unusual theory.
The typeface of the word “ELEVEN” is as close as possible to Humanist 521 Extra Bold Condensed – a geometric sans-serif with contrasting thick strokes. At the same time, as already mentioned, in the main version of the logo, the letter “n” is lowercase, although, in size, it coincides with “ELEVE.”
The color scheme is fairly stable – only the hues change. The base is always green or turquoise, and the number consists of two blocks: orange and red. Depending on the version of the emblem, the inscription can be emerald or white.