Over the years, Gatorade has become a staple of refreshment, sportsmanship, and victory. The Gatorade logo is one of the most instantly recognizable logos in the world. Currently manufactured and distributed by PepsiCo in more than eighty countries, the sports drink is one of the most famous beverages in the world.
Developed at the University of Florida in 1967, the sports drink has had a long and complex history. It has changed owners twice since it was first created by Stokely-Van Camp, going to the Quaker Oats Company in 1987 and then to PepsiCo in 2000. It accounts for more than 75% of the sports drink market share in the United States, and it is PepsiCo’s 4th largest worldwide brand.
Gatorade Logo Design Elements
Arguably, the most iconic design element of the Gatorade logo is the lightning bolt. The lightning bolt design element was first introduced in the 1970s. The brand name, written in a dynamic, sans-serifs font, has always been part of the Gatorade logo.
From the 1970s up until the major rebranding of 2009, the Gatorade logo was composed of the iconic Gatorade lightning bolt, and the Gatorade brand name written in a white rectangle.
Changes and Evolution
Other than the first rebranding from 1970, the Gatorade logo has remained mostly the same until the 2009 rebranding, with only minor changes. Those changes mainly revolved around the Gatorade logo font and around the white quadrilateral frame around the logo.
The Gatorade lightning bolt became more and more prominent throughout the years, until the 2009 rebranding. This is the element most people associate with the Gatorade logo, and the one which makes the brand logo so easily recognizable.
In 2009, the Gatorade logo went through a complete makeover. The lightning bolt took center stage, superimposed on a gray, flat G letter. The Gatorade brand name was dropped completely from the design. The lightning bolt was also changed, to give it a more dynamic, even comic-book feel. This major rebranding didn’t go well with the public, so for its 50th anniversary, Gatorade reverted to an older logo design, which looked similar to the orginal 1970s logo.
The first Gatorade logo, developed in 1965, when the drink first came out, simply consisted of the words Stokely Van Camp’s Finest Gatorade written in black.
The logo lasted for five years, until the lightning logo first came into the public eye, bringing with it the image that would be best associated with the sports drink up to this day. It was a simple, stylized lightning bolt, placed behind the Gatorade name and behind the classic ‘Thirst Quencher’ moniker.
The white frame also contained the flavor of the beverage and the disclaimer that the drink was artificially flavored and that it contained no fruit juice. Over the years, a number of changes came over the old Gatorade logo. They mostly involved simplifying the logo, changing the font a little, and getting rid of everything other than the frame, the Gatorade name, and the ‘Thirst Quencher’ moniker.
In 2009, the Gatorade logo was thoroughly simplified, to include just the lighting bolt and a large gray G letter. Subsequently, the classic orange and green color scheme were dropped. The 2009 Gatorade logo had very little to do with the classic logo.
The classic Gatorade colors are orange, green and white. The lighting bolt Gatorade symbol is usually orange, though throughout its history it has included yellow as well. The Gatorade brand name is usually written in green and placed on a white rectangle across the orange lightning bolt.
When the Gatorade logo was redesigned, so was the color scheme. The green of the logo name disappeared completely. Instead, the letter G was colored in either gray or black, depending on the context.
The classic Gatorade font is a custom typeface created for the brand. It is a simple, blocky, sans-serifs font. Throughout the years, the Gatorade font hasn’t changed its shape much, though it did have a tendency to become narrower in each rebranding phase.
The 2009 version of the Gatorade font maintained the blockiness of the font, with the addition of small, barely noticeable serifs.
The most well-known element of the Gatorade logo, works as a simple, clear metaphor for what the drink has to offer. It symbolizes power and raw energy, precisely what this iconic drink promised to give customers.
The bold orange and green colors symbolized vitality and energy, an essential part of the Gatorade promise. The simple and dynamic font of the Gatorade logo further reinforced this point.
Arguably, this is one of the reasons why the 2009 Gatorade logo was not well received. In trying to update the look and feel of the logo, designers removed many of the elements that stood for the Gatorade message. Instead, the newer Gatorade logo seemed to focus more on the brand than on the message.
- The sports drink was developed by a team of scientists at the University of Florida, to help the local football team, the Gators. Players would frequently collapse on the field due to heat and exhaustion. This football team was the inspiration for the brand name, Gatorade.
- The researchers initially wanted to call their drink “Gator-aid.” However, they settled on Gatorade instead, since “aid” would imply the drink had medicinal properties