Nintendo may have begun life in the 19th century as a playing card company, but it wasn’t until the 1985 release of the Nintendo Entertainment System that it became a worldwide phenomenon. A major player in the video game markets since its earliest days, the company has manufactured some of the best-known and best-selling consoles and handhelds of all time. The Nintendo logo has always been an important part of Nintendo’s marketing efforst. The purpose of this article is to take a look at that logo and find out what makes it work. Doing so requires looking at its various design elements, as well as how the public has perceived the changing logo.
Nintendo Logo Design Elements
The modern Nintendo logo is fairly simple, yet striking. In terms of shape, it’s the company’s name surrounded by an oval, which in turn is surrounded by a rectangle. This iteration of the logo largely represents Nintendo’s singular focus on gaming, with the logo itself doing little to detract the user from the product at which they are looking.
The simple color scheme – white and red – hearkens back to Nintendo’s heyday. The red and white color scheme was best known on Nintendo’s flagship Nintendo Entertainment System, and choosing those colors to be shown across the product line is absolutely an attempt to remind consumers of the trust and reliability they found in the company’s earlier products.
The font choice for the current logo is likewise a throwback, copying the same font used for the last thirty years. It’s not a proprietary font, but it is one that clearly identifies the present company with its golden years.
Changes and Evolution
The shape of the Nintendo logo has changed quite a bit in the last hundred years. The initial logo was three Japanese symbols – Nin, Ten, and Do. This shape lasted from 1889-1960, at which time the company adopted a flowing script version of that logo in English. From 1664-1976, the logo would be simplified versions of the same logo, sometimes adding a specific product name alongside the company’s name, with the exception of two logos. These logos would feature the company name in either a diamond or an oval, which would be adopted again later in the 20th century. Indeed, the shape of the company logo would essentially stay the same until the present day.
The Nintendo logo has only been through a few color changes. The initial color scheme was blue, which the company kept in one form or another until 1964. With few exceptions, the logo has remained either red and white or black and white from that point forward. The company has sometimes also used a silver logo alongside its other logos, though these logos have generally been for limited product lines or for specific devices.
Nintendo’s font is iconic by this point, but it’s not one that has always existed. In its earliest days, it used Japanese kanji instead of English characters. When it moved to an English logo in 1960, the font chosen was a flowing script. By 1965, though, what one would consider the standard Nintendo font had been developed and has remained in place until the present day.
If you’re looking for Nintendo’s design origins, it’s better to look at other Japanese industrial powerhouses than it is to look at other electronics companies. It has a logo that’s incredibly similar to older logos from companies like Honda, Sony, and Samsung. The logo is simple and straightforward, but it’s worked incredibly well for Nintendo so far. Taking design inspiration from the other Japanese companies of the time seems to have worked well.
The Nintendo logo has inspired fewer companies than one might think, though. Similar logos certain crop up in knock-off game consoles, but most of its competitors have chosen to go in other directions with their logos. The clear, consistent branding on Nintendo products has, however, been something on which the rest of the video game industry has followed suit.
- Nintendo’s NES held the record for most units sold by a video game system until 2006, at which time it was unseated by Nintendo’s Wii.
- Nintendo was founded as a playing card company in 1889.
- Wii Sports is the best selling Nintendo Game of all time.
- Jumpman (aka Mario) was one of the first video game characters to be able to jump.
The Nintendo logo is clear and easy to recognize even if you are not a fan of video games. For over one hundred years, Nintendo has managed to keep a singular corporate identity and has kept its doors open with few compromises. While the logo is simply one part of the company’s overall strategy, its timeless look has helped Nintendo to retain a stellar reputation for decades.