Dick’s Sporting Goods spans more than 850 locations, the first of which appeared in 1948. But over time, the stores added bicycles, exercise equipment, fitness, camping, golf, fishing, hunting products, and a variety of athletic footwear and apparel. It wasn’t until the 21st century that the company opened new outlets across the United States and made some useful acquisitions, buying Golf Galaxy, Affinity Sports, Golfsmith, and Galyan’s.
Meaning and History
What is Dick’s Sporting Goods?
The name Dick’s Sporting Goods speaks for itself. It’s a chain of stores that carries a full line of sporting goods, including shoes, apparel, and outdoor gear. It is a Fortune 500 company because it is the largest retailer in the U.S. sports market.
Dick’s Sporting Goods opened its first store in Binghamton, New York, in 1948. But several decades passed before it happened because the second location appeared only in 1984. That year the brand’s founder Richard Stack retired, and his son Evard took over the family company. The new owner decided that one supermarket was not enough, so he began to expand the business.
Thus Dick’s Sporting Goods has hundreds of locations, many of them interactive: in addition to sporting goods, they have indoor training fields, simulators, walls for climbing, and other additions. Customers can shoot guns at a shooting range, test the comfort of sneakers on a treadmill or test a golf club on the lawn designed for it.
The retailer’s logo is as elaborate as its concept. But for a long time, it was known only to the people on the East Coast of the United States because the company began expanding to the West only in 2009. The basis of the modern logo is an emerald-colored rectangle, in which the name of the brand is written with balls instead of an apostrophe. Before that, Dick’s Sporting Goods had several other design versions.
1948 – 1958
In 1948, 18-year-old Richard Stack, nicknamed Dick, opened his own business to sell fishing tackle. The idea came to him by chance while working in an army store that sold military gear. The boss asked the young employee if he could add fishing products to the range, and he spent several nights creating a detailed merchandising plan. His boss harshly criticized his concept, causing Richard to become very upset and quit. His grandmother helped him come to his senses: she advised her grandson to create his store and financed it by lending him $300, which he kept in a cookie jar in the kitchen.
Had it not been for those events, the world would never have seen the first Dick’s Sporting Goods logo. At the time, the company was called Dick’s Army & Navy but sold mostly fishing tackle and bait, so under the main sign was a white fish silhouette with the black word “TACKLE.” This element occupied the space below the quadrangular figures with lettering. Above all was a vertical rectangle aligned on the left edge. It contained the letters “D,” “I,” “C,” “K’,” and “S” lined up one below the other.
The upper quadrilateral adjoined the lower one, which read “ARMY & NAVY.” They formed a right angle where two white stripes (vertical and horizontal) with the phrase “LIVE BRIT” were placed.
1958 – 1980s
Ten years after its opening, the small fishing store expanded its assortment. Sporting goods and equipment were added to its shelves, and the store was renamed Dick’s Clothing and Sporting Goods accordingly. The bulky sign above the entrance turned into elegant red lettering. On the left was the diagonal word “Dick’s,” raised at about a 45-degree angle. To its right was the second part of the name: “clothing & sporting goods” in lower case. The logo creators divided the text into two lines and aligned it on the right side for visual balance.
1980s – 1999
In 1984, the children of Richard Stack bought their father’s store to turn a single outlet into a massive chain. Edward W. Stack became CEO. At about the same time, the company changed its identity: the designers created a graphic sign that was not like all the previous ones. It was a turquoise rectangle with white lettering inside. Most of the space was occupied by the word “DICK’S,” which consisted of bold, angular letters without rounding. Dark lines stretched along the edges of the strokes, and the shadows were uneven, which created the effect of volume.
Instead of an apostrophe, five balls of different sizes were lined up one after the other. Three-speed lines next to a small ball emphasized the energy of movement. But the phrase “Clothing & Sporting Goods” at the very bottom of the logo looked unremarkable. The developers made it white and wrote it in a standard grotesque with many analogs. Similar fonts include Yoxall Regular by Roger White, Mytupi Regular by Álvaro Thomáz, Protestant by DGL Regular by Digital Graphic Labs, Nimbus Sans L Regular by URW++, and FreeSans Medium by GNU FreeFont.
1999 – today
Rebranding in 1999 was associated with the renaming of the company. The chain of stores shortened its name to Dick’s Sporting Goods and displayed this on the logo: only the last two words remained at the bottom, and the designers used the same bold, angular font for them as for the top “DICK’S.” Not only has the inscription changed, but also some minor details. For example, the background rectangle has a darker border and a lighter gradient. And the ball shape that replaces the apostrophe now extends slightly beyond the base.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The most iconic element of the Dick’s Sporting Goods logo is the stylized apostrophe. It consists of four balls: basketball, soccer (soccer), baseball, and golf ball. Three short stripes at the bottom of this design evoke a sense of dynamism: it seems that the balls are not just painted but are flying forward one after the other.
The lettering font is roughly similar to Machine Medium, created by designers Tom Carnase and Ronne Bonder. Its free counterpart is called the NFL Dolphins. But judging by the general shape of the letters, they most closely resemble the Blunt Regular typeface from the Miller Type Foundry. The only difference is that Blunt Regular has no cut edges.
The authors of the logo used an unusual color combination, combining several green tones in the form of a gradient: Green Sheen (#74B096), Bangladesh Green (#006150), and Myrtle Green (#2E7E6A). The largest ball is orange, Deep Saffron (#F89B34). The inscription is entirely white, and black is present in limited quantities.