Nerf is a brand of toy guns and balls. It appeared in 1969 and originally belonged to the oldest firm Parker Brothers, which entered the market in 1883. The trademark is now owned by the multinational conglomerate Hasbro, Inc. Her most famous line is the dart blasters. Sometimes they come with vests, targets, and eye protection, although this is rather an exception. For modern children, the company produces blasters that connect to the iPod Touch and iPhone. The full range includes water pistols and different types of edged weapons, including swords. And for dog lovers, the manufacturer offers Nerf Dog ball throwers.
Meaning and History
The Nerf brand name was taken from racing jargon. In drag racers, this word means special crossbars covered with polyurethane foam and designed to protect vehicles. They were attached to the front of the trucks, which propelled the racers to the starting position.
The designers used the original company name to design an entire series of logos. The very first of them appeared in 1969, and the last – in 2020. During this time, the inscription acquired a modern look with a 3D design and a gradient.
1969 – 1990
From its inception until 1990, the toy manufacturer had a yellow wordmark with no additional elements. The short “NERF” lettering looked unusual thanks to the stylized font in which the letters had a fantasy design. Uppercase “N,” “R,” and “F” were combined with lowercase “E” to make the logo even more informal. Strong asymmetry, rounded corners, and wide lines emphasized the brand’s playfulness.
This symbol began to be used in 1969 when Reyn Guyer came up with a safe polyurethane foam ball that could not break anything. Parker Brothers began selling it in 1970, advertising it as an indoor ball.
1990 – 1992
In the early 1990s, the brand has a new brand name. It had a more complex structure than the previous one. The word “NERF” was dyed orange, but the inside retained a little yellow in the form of thin strips. Dark blue outlines of varying widths appeared along the edges. The letters crawled over each other and were lined up diagonally, so the “N” was lower than the “F.” The font remains round, although the shape of the glyphs has changed noticeably.
Additional geometric shapes have been added in the background: a yellow triangle and a light green rectangle. To the left of the brand name were seven orange-yellow lines that emphasized the energy of movement. The word “Official” was inscribed above the speed lines and partly above the letter “N,” The designers used a black font imitating sloppy handwriting. All elements were on a turquoise background with a gradient.
1992 – 1998
In 1992, Nerf launched its first dart blaster. An identity update marked this event. Metamorphoses occurred with the brand name again: the letters were repainted yellow, separated (except for “ER”), tilted to the right, and aligned horizontally. The typeface lost its streamlined shape because the designers opted for a typeface with short, rectangular serifs. The dark outline of the lettering was combined with the black word “BRAND,” which was located just below.
Symbolic elements have replaced the nonsensical set of geometric shapes. The blue circle represented the first Nerf toy, a polyurethane foam ball. And the dark pink rectangle with artistic perforation depicted a flying dart fired from a blaster.
1998 – 2003
As a result of another redesign, the pink rectangle disappeared, and the blue circle turned into an oval and was moved up. It seemed to be convex due to the smooth transition of shades – from the light center to the dark edges. The creators of the logo used a radial gradient, and it was the only bright spot in the graphic composition. The rest of the elements – a gold-tone ring with a stylized letter “N” and the inscription “NERF BRAND” in the same color – looked monotonous. A new font was chosen for the company name: bold, sans serif, with rounded corners and a pronounced slant to the right.
2003 – 2004
In 2003, the N-Strike Elite series of blasters debuted. The logo changed around the same time: as it was simplified, it lost the blue oval in the ring and began to consist only of inscriptions. The letters in the word “NERF” were like fluffy yellow clouds that flew in different directions. And below, instead of the usual “BRAND,” there was an advertising phrase “PLAY YOUR GAME.” It was also yellow and cloudy, but the designers used a very small print to emphasize the brand name.
2004 – present
The release of the new Dart Tag line coincides with the emergence of the new Nerf brand name. As before, there was a brand name. It sits in the middle and is slightly beveled diagonally, reminiscent of the 1990-1992 version. The yellow-orange lettering is a tribute to the original 1969 design. And the thin black outline looks the same as on the 1992-1998 logo. From the graphic symbol 1998-2003, an oval ring was taken, which looks like a red half-ring in the modern interpretation. It is located behind the word “NERF” and is slightly raised upward, making it look like a flying boomerang.
2020 – present
To refine its visual style, the company adopted a new logo with a 3D effect. It is similar to the previous version, but the brand name and the surrounding arc are painted silver with a transition of shades. All paths are blue, also with a gradient. Both the letters and the boomerang cast translucent light gray shadows, further enhancing the three-dimensional design.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The wordmark Nerf became more and more modern every year until it turned into a laconic inscription inside the ring. The old “playful” design is no longer relevant because the manufacturer has ceased to focus only on small children. Judging by the serious logo, he tried to broaden the target audience so that adults would also buy dart blasters.
As is known, the font of the word “NERF” is bold, oblique, and with short triangular serifs. In appearance, it has a lot in common with Crillee Italic, which applies to both logos currently in use. They share typography but different color schemes. In the first version, yellow is combined with red and black. In the second case, the designers made the main color silver, complementing it with several shades of blue and adding light gray shadows.