Bass Pro Shops is a privately owned outdoor, fishing, and hunting store by Johnny Morris. It is represented by 200 sales pavilions in the U.S. and Canada, visited by up to 200 million customers a year. The stores feature distinctive designs in five styles, from outdoor nature with trees and waterfalls (Outdoor World), outposts (Outpost), swamp and river motifs (Stick Marsh and White River Outpost) to sporty options (Sportsman’s Center). All of the stores have giant aquariums, the most famous of which, Wonders of Wildlife, is in Morris’ hometown. The outlets feature in-store merchandise from White River Marine Group (boats), Offshore Angler (fishing products), and RedHead (clothing and gear). The empire generates about $6.5 billion in revenue.
Meaning and History
What is Bass Pro Shops?
American retailers owned by privately held BPS Direct, L. L. C. offer various outdoor, hunting, and fishing products sold in stylized pavilions. Today there are about 200 outlets with 40,000 employees. The company’s revenue is $6.5 billion.
The giant’s story began with a small shelf of merchandise in the basement of his father’s liquor store. At the age of 21, it was a good deal for Johnny Morris, who was seriously into sport fishing. From every trip to competitions, he brought trollers and bait and sold them to local fishermen. The young businessman used his profits to open businesses that produced boats and equipment for tourist sites and nature preservation. Therefore, the first independent Bass Pro store did not appear until nine years later (1981). It gradually grew into a large business consisting of manufacturers, stores, cafes, and museums that teaches Americans to admire, love, and cherish wildlife.
Although the company logo has changed four times, these changes have not been significant. The shape of the emblem and visual signs remained constant. Only the color display was refined.
1971 – 1972
The first logo was devised for Morris’s retail “enterprise” in the basement of his father’s store, where he was assigned several shelves. The logo shows a perch, a fish that the businessman hunted professionally for five years. In America, perch is called bass. And it was bass fishing products that Morris originally sold. The prefix Pro indicated products for professional sport fishing.
Although the list of products later expanded greatly, the image of bass and the name of the stores remained the same.
The logo was notable for its simplicity and brevity. In the yellow circle of the emblem at the head in capital letters was the owner’s name. Below in the center was a picture of a curved, mouth-opening fish. It wore a brown Brown-Derby pot (the name of Morris’s father’s liquor stores). On the sides of the cauldron was written the very name Brown Derby. And at the bottom, in large red letters, is the name Bass Pro Shops. Below are small letters: Headquarters in Springfield.
The logo gave a full picture of what kind of merchandise the firm offered, where it was located, and who the owner was. Well-designed accents were made on the perch and the name of the outlet. On the whole, the logo resembled a fisherman’s medal. This association was reinforced by the brown trim and the image of the fish, which was consistent with what the Bass Anglers Sport Society used.
1972 – 1977
Fishing and hunting items became more popular than my father’s wine and liquor merchandise. They were still sold in the backyard but no longer needed the father’s store name on the emblem. So the logo was redesigned. A hint of Brown-Derby was removed from it.
Overall, the sign stretched out and took on an oval shape. The perch image was moved to the left side, and the fish replaced the logo border with its curve. Inside the medallion was the name of Bass Pro Shops, as an already registered trademark with a special badge. Below is a small print was a reference to the Springfield location.
The emblem was made of black and white, which was closer to the name of the bass depicted on the logo, as it belonged to the black bass family (Micropterus salmoides). The store was still in the shadow of his father’s shop, which is accurately reflected by the black and white scale.
1977 – 1984
The businessman was in no hurry to expand the retail chain. His efforts were focused on not just selling other people’s goods but organizing his businesses. By 1978 the first shipyard to build Tracker Boats opened. In addition, Morris was preparing to open his first independent store. These ideas of promotion and active development were reflected in the renewal of the emblem. It changed to red with a light gray background. The reference to the headquarters location was removed from the logo since the boat manufacturer was located in another city.
The light grey and red created a nice contrast and conveyed an idea of energy and confidence.
1984 – 1998
In 1981, the first full store opened in Springfield. Once the outlet and businesses began generating income, Morris diverted the funds to his core mission of conservation. He bought land and set up the Big Cedar Lodge resort complex with caves, a conservation museum, and a nature park. The idea of closeness to nature is reflected in the updated logo, which has acquired more natural colors.
The perch is reminiscent of one of the stuffed animals exhibited in the businessman’s stores. It was made in green, red, black, and white colors (in nature, the fish has a green tint of scales and a darker pattern on the sides). The background of the logo went back to yellow, and the company name to red.
Yellow corresponds to the emblem of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And red is the color of blood and attention to wildlife issues.
1998 – today
The businessman continues to devote a lot of money to protecting nature, and he makes entire oases out of his stores. He introduces visitors to the animal diversity and beauty of the wild world. The largest wildlife sanctuary was opened through his efforts, and he contributed to conservation organizations. The stores sell gear, but they also offer classes on how to stay in the wilderness.
As a result of his work, Morris received the Roosevelt Conservation Award in 1990. This recognition is reflected in the logo. It became even more natural. In its latest incarnation, the logo has become three-dimensional, and the fish’s coloring closely resembles that of a living fish. The letters of the name also have a shadow and seem to be three-dimensional. They and the black trim are stylized as scales. The lettering and the perch seem to rise above the yellow background. It demonstrates the grandeur of the company’s accomplishments.
In 2017, Morris absorbed its biggest competitor, Cabela’s. And today, it is the most unique and authentic fishing and hunting store. It continued to carry on its mission and was awarded the Audubon Medal in 2019.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The primary colors of the emblem for a long time are yellow, red, and green.
- Yellow is associated with a sunny day, a good mood, and blooming nature. It suggests prosperity and profit.
- Red is the color of leadership (Tracker boat #1 in sales in America), blood, warning of caution, and care.
- Green is the color of nature, bodies of water, fish, and camouflage clothing.
The lettering font is a stylish serif Accia Moderato Bold Italic.