Walgreens is the largest US pharmacy chain, second only to CVS Health in size. It is a subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., which was established in 2014. The company itself appeared in 1901. Its first branch was a grocery store. During Prohibition, Walgreens sold under-counter whiskey, then made alcoholic milkshakes and launched ice cream. In addition to food products, the assortment includes office supplies, clothing, cosmetics, tobacco products, electronics, and medicines. All shops have a photo department and a pharmacy.
Meaning and history
The Walgreens logo has always looked like a handwritten word, and the emblem has recently featured an elegant “W” (aka “Flying W”). This symbolism has repeatedly become the cause of controversy because the pharmacy company was constantly in conflict with someone. She once sued the Wegmans supermarkets because she saw an obvious similarity with the Walgreens brand in their “W.” Ultimately, the Wegmans ditched their logo. However, its origins date back to the 1930s.
After that, the retailer noticed that the emblem of the famous Washington Nationals baseball team also had a lot in common with the “Flying W.” To avoid paying the fine and to continue to use the logo inspired by the 1960s Washington Senators logo, the sports club had to agree to several requirements. Under the compromise, Walgreens did not pursue a copyright infringement lawsuit. The Washington Nationals provided the pharmacy with their baseball players, who had to train, become pharmacists, and sell drugs in stores near the metro. In addition, the team has committed to promoting Walgreens for five years.
Because of all these events, the trade network logos have become truly famous. There were six in total, not counting the different versions of the “Flying W” badge.
1901 – 1951
One of the oldest logos featured a red ‘Walgreen’ lettering, which the designers used a stylized handwritten typeface. All letters except “W” were linked. A thin black line ran along the edges. In the background, the artists depicted a gray mortar made of several parallel horizontal lines of different lengths. This element symbolized the pharmacy mortar – a tool for grinding pharmaceuticals and preparing powders.
At the bottom was the red DRUG STORE, split in two by a loop of the lowercase g from the above Walgreen. The second inscription has been converted to upper case. It used a typeface with contrasting stroke weight and short serifs.
1951 – 1981
After a small modernization, the chain of stores acquired a completely black logo. The letters on the first line now have a slight slant to the right, with lowercase “s” added at the end. The typeface is slimmer and more elegant. The phrase “DRUG STORES” has been reduced and moved to the right. The mortar that used to be in the background is gone.
1981 – 1993
The new company logo was in the shape of a rectangle with rounded edges. The geometric figure has been painted black, and the elements inside it have been painted light gray. The negative space effect was created in the lower-left corner of the figurines of three people of different heights and builds. It was understood that this is a family – a child and his parents. So the designers wanted to show the versatility of the stores, which have everything you need for both children and adults.
Above, as always, was the name of the trading network. Its font hasn’t changed. But the place of “DRUG STORES” was taken by a completely different inscription – “The Shopper’s Center,” divided into two lines.
1993 – 2005
In the first half of the 1990s, the word “Walgreens” turned red again. The background rectangle and the human figures are gone. The phrase “The Shopper’s Center” has been replaced by a new text: “The Pharmacy America Trusts.” The developers of the logo made the slogan blue and divided it in half, placing a lowercase “g” on both sides of the protruding part of the slogan.
A blue mortar appeared to the left of the inscriptions, this time with a pestle in it. Inside the bowl, the artists depicted many small dots, which symbolized the crushed powder. The fact that the contents of the mortar were flying upwards indicated an ongoing process of work.
2005 – today
After the redesign, the letters were slightly elongated so that there was not a lot of white space left on the outside signs. The slogan and the pharmacy mortar are no longer used. However, newly opened shops sometimes have a red pestle and mortar emblem with a large white “W.” Under the bowl, as a rule, there is the name of the trade network.
In addition, a completely different logo, known as the Corner W, may be displayed above the entrances. It looks like a callout consisting of a scarlet rectangle, a burgundy triangle, and a white handwritten “W.” This option was proposed in 2012.
2020 – today
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The most prominent part of Walgreens’ identity is the capital “W.” It is presented in the form of a symbol used both as part of a word and separately – on a mortar or inside a rectangle. Because of this mark, the company openly clashed with the Wegmans supermarkets and the Washington Nationals basketball team because they had very similar emblems. Having won the right to use the stylized “W single-handedly,” Walgreens has made the letter synonymous with high-level service and quality merchandise.
When designing the Walgreens logo, the designers did not use any typefaces. They came up with the inscription, imitating handwritten text with smooth lines and a slight tilt to the right. The letters do not have serifs, but they have graceful curves at the ends. Later, a font called Freebrush was created based on this wordmark.
The main color of the Walgreens symbol is red. The company executives chose him on a leftover basis. They did not want to use green (which would be logical) so that consumers would not think that the logo belonged to an environmental organization. Marketers have also given up on purple. They associated it with the album Purple Rain, recorded by a musician who died from drugs. And they considered brown unfortunate because the worst team in the NFL was called the Cleveland Browns. As a result, it was decided to make the main color bright red. Its only drawback was that it reminded of Christmas when combined with green (as part of the word WalGREENs).