Such a line of business as private insurance in America has a long history. Its prominent representative is the agency GEICO, whose acronym stands for Government Employees Insurance Company. It was founded in 1936 to provide insurance for motor vehicles and groups characterized by minimal insurance risks – public servants, military personnel. Today the company is part of the largest holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, headquartered in Nebraska, providing a wide range of services in its field.
Since entering the market, the agency has changed its image and logo several times in an effort to make it more appealing and memorable. Since the crisis and change of ownership, the latest version developed in 1978 has not undergone drastic changes, except for color changes and the addition of original, engaging characters to “load” the main unchanging element.
Meaning and History
To talk about the emergence of new companies in the 1930s in America during the Great Depression was simply absurd. Creating them was considered the height of misunderstanding of the complexities of the economic situation. At this time – in 1936 – that, contrary to popular opinion, the Goodwin family demonstrated courage and foresight by creating a company that provided insurance for automobiles, government employees, and military personnel.
1948 brought Lorimer Davidson to the company. As an investment banker, a family friend helped renew the investment backdrop by bringing new investors into the company. One of them would be Benjamin Graham, who would bring together Warren Buffett, an entrepreneur and investor in many American companies in the future. He who, buying up the stocks of different companies, became in 1965 the owner of the control stock of Berkshire Hathaway, saved GEICO from bankruptcy in 1976 by buying about 1 million shares.
Buffett acquired his first Public Employees Insurance Company shares in 1951.
As early as 1958, Lorimer Davidson took over the reins from Goodwin, who decided to retire.
In 1959, the agency established its headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, aided by twenty years of insurance success.
The company continued to grow successfully in the ’60s, opening several new offices across America.
But the early ’70s were a harbinger of failure. The demise of the Goodwin family and the misguided policies of the new management led to a crisis. In 1976, the company’s stock dropped from $61 to $2. Buffett came to the rescue at this critical moment, investing $45,713.
With such a generous investment and careful underwriting, GEICO was not only able to stay afloat but continued its expansion into the 1980s.
In 1993, the new chairman and CEO Olsa Naisley funneled a significant portion of the funds into advertising. Her moves yielded high results, multiplying the influx of clients by increasing the company’s visibility. Such actions again attracted the attention of Buffett, who in 1995 offered to buy all the remaining shares, and in 1996 made GEICO a part of his holding Berkshire Hathaway.
The new owner began to pursue an advertising campaign actively. Development of a new image and visualization of the agency, promotion in the media, TV, and the Internet, mass mailings to mailboxes made universally recognizable brand GEICO Gecko ®, which in 2000 rarely left the TV screens. The company’s logo was everywhere and became an advertising icon, the most memorable logo. The company’s website geico.com, created in 2004, was also promoted everywhere with the slogan “Geico.com – so simple that even a caveman can do it.”
Today, GEICO is a company with monthly sales records and constant growth. The original brand solutions based on the emblem created in 1978 contribute to this. Thus, the company remains recognizable, showing its commitment to its successful history. At the same time, original additions to the main theme make it even more attractive and memorable.
1936 – 1951
Given the level of advertising and graphic technology at the time, the company logo was simple enough. Made in black, the emblem included no images—only text. The first word was the accepted abbreviation “GEICO,” the letters of which were slanted to the right and were enclosed in triangular-shaped quotes in gray. Under this word, in smaller capital letters, the full name, Government Employees and the Insurance Company below it, were placed in two rows, aligned in the middle.
1951 – 1974
In 1951, to distinguish itself by visually equalizing it with government agencies, thereby trying to communicate the same responsibility and stability as they had, the company turned to the style of government service marks. Round-shaped logo with a state eagle on a pedestal in the form of “stars and stripes” arranged on a circle – in the upper part of the seven stars, decreasing in size to the edges and their continuation of the inscription – the full name of the company. Under the eagle’s pedestal is a banner that reads “national service. In 1969, a rectangular plate with a black outline, located below the circle, was added to the image. It has the abbreviation of the company name in large capital letters.
1974 – 1978
The logo undergoes dramatic changes. It uses a graphic element in a figure with the upper edge parallel to the lower and slightly longer. The two sides are equal in length and parallel. All corners are rounded, except for the transition from the upper contour to the parallel sides to which small connecting segments lead at some angle. The central part of the lower contour forms a downward pointing arrow, reminiscent of the sign of union in mathematics. The company abbreviation is printed in thick black capital letters in the inner margin. Underneath, in small black capital letters, it reads “AND AFFILIATES,” indicating that the company is expanding and is already represented by subsidiaries.
1978 – today
During the modern logo design, it was decided to move away from the classic black color. Only text – abbreviation of the name in bold letters – was used. In the application process, depending on the location, for example, in the first commercials could change the color of the font in yellow. There was a version in 1996 in which under the abbreviation on the plate filled with the color abbreviation in white letters was printed DIRECT. During the site’s promotion, a version was used in which a link to the resource was placed under the main text in small print. From 1998 to 2005, a cheerful lizard was placed on the text in full color – a green-gray color combination with orange on its head and black eyes. It either lounges on the letters or stands to the left of the text, leaning on the first letter. Also, in celebration of Halloween, the last letter “o” was made in the form of a pumpkin head. There was also a smartphone app that “got” its badge.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The last logo, which is still up to date today, shows only the text – the abbreviation of the company’s name. It is in bold Pro Bold Extended font in dark azure. There is a ® symbol at the bottom of the letter “O.” The logo is as concise and easy to read as possible, not only when it appears in printed materials but also when used in digital television and online resources. The latter was decisive, which required a slight revision of the image using the achievements of modern technology. This version demonstrates that a company’s prominence does not require additional visual elements to attract attention and is sufficient for recognition and easy to remember.
The emergence of smartphones led to the need to develop a mobile version of the site and simplify the feedback without visiting the company office or calling an agent. An application was created, for which a simple icon was designed, retaining the style of the brand mark. The icon is designed in a square with strongly rounded corners. Its space is filled with the dark azure color typical of the logo. In the center is the first letter of the logo “G” in Pro Bold Extended font in white.