Puma is one of the largest sporting goods manufacturers competing with Adidas. It appeared in 1948 when Rudolf Dassler founded his shoe factory. He became famous not only for innovative products but also for the memorable logo with the image of a puma.
Meaning and History
What is Puma?
Puma is an international corporation of sports accessories, shoes, and clothing, which occupies the second position in the world. It was founded by the entrepreneur Rudolf Dassler in 1948 based on the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, which was divided into two independent companies after a quarrel between the owners. One is Puma, and the other is Adidas. The head office is located in Herzogenaurach (Bavaria).
The company had several names. First, RUDA (a combination of the first two letters of the creator’s first and last name), then PUMA AG Rudolf Dassler Sport. Now the company is simply called Puma, whose name and iconic emblem match.
1948 – 1951
On the debut logo, a predatory cat jumps over the letter “D.” This is a direct reference to the name Dassler.
1951 – 1958
In 1951, designers placed the drawing inside the hexagon. In the initial version, a simple black geometric figure was used. In 1957, a double black-and-white contour was added to it, and the word “Puma” appeared under a predatory cat. In 1958, the background turned white. A wide frame was decorated with the inscription “Rudolf Dassler Schuhfabrik.”
1958 – 1968
In 1958, the manufacturer deviated from the classical concept. Over the next ten years, his emblem was a football boot, complemented by the phrase “Puma form-strip.” The thick, sans-serif font was chosen for the first word and elegant italics for the second. So the company noted the creation of an element of lateral support (Formstrip) in the form of three stripes on sports shoes.
1968 – 1970
Rudolf Dassler felt that the boots did not fully reveal the character of Puma. After all, a predatory cat is the embodiment of dexterity, stamina, flexibility, speed, and strength. He wanted to change the existing logo and commissioned the cartoonist Lutz Backes, with whom his son Gerd Dassler studied, to do so.
The artist first drew the body of a black panther, and then added the legs and head of a cougar to it, so that the image as much as possible meets the requirements of the customer. The owner of the factory offered to pay a commission fee: 1 cent for each product sold with the Puma logo. But Lutz refused and asked for a one-time payment of 600 marks. Together with the money, he was presented with a gift: a sports bag and a pair of shoes.
1970 – 1974
In 1970, the silhouette of the cougar changed slightly. Now it is white with a black outline. The figure has become more dynamic because the animal is depicted in a jump.
1974 – 1976
On the emblem of 1974, the inscription “Puma” appeared again. The font resembles the 1958 version: bold, quadrangular letters with rounded edges. The predatory cat is repainted black and is located on the right. This trademark had several modifications, both with a rectangular frame and without it.
1976 – 1978
In 1976, experiments on graphics continued. The developers got rid of the cougar, leaving only the name of the company. Moreover, the font was completely changed: now the letters are oblique, “p” seems to be lowercase due to the long vertical stroke. Below is a Formstrip.
1978 – 1980
Two years after the unsuccessful image change, the company returned to the classic logo design. Now the cougar hangs over the inscription as if trying to jump over it.
1980 – 1988
In 1980, the “Formstrip” was again added to the word – this time translucent.
1988 – today
What does the Puma symbol mean?
The Puma symbol signifies the confident development and conquest of new sales territories and the reliability of the brand and its products in the international market. These qualities reflect the cougar – a flexible, graceful, but formidable feline used in the brand’s logo.
The developers returned the 1978 emblem without a curving strip. The main palette includes black and white. But there is an additional one – with a bright shade of red.
Font and Color of the Emblem
Why did Puma choose their logo?
Rudolf Dassler chose this name for his company because the real cougar (wild feline) embodies all the key qualities that athletes need: agility, flexibility, speed, endurance, and strength.
Why is the Puma logo black?
The black color on the Puma logo has been retained from the debut version when it was still black and white. Thanks to the monochrome (dark on light), the silhouette of a wild cat jumping over the letter stood out clearly. In addition, it is a clear parallel between two members of the cat family – the puma and the panther, which are usually painted black.
It is quite logical that the Puma emblem is the silhouette of this predatory beast. The animal is shown jumping, which indicates the sportswear and footwear manufacturer’s main goal: to promote an active lifestyle. The trademark applied to tags and products perfectly reflects this idea because the cougar is incredibly fast: it can reach record speed while running. The artists paid attention to detail, drawing the ears, tail, paws, and smooth outlines of the body.
The modern typeface, which is presented on the Puma logo, appeared in 1974. The designers developed it, especially for this company, using a strict bold grotesque as an example. This typeface was later used as the basis for the My Puma family of free sans-serif fonts by Samuel Park.
The monochrome palette enhances the minimalism of the logo. The standard color scheme contains only black and white, but there are versions with a bright red shade that makes the picture and lettering stand out effectively.