After being founded in 1892 as a clock company, Seiko decided to challenge popular Swiss watchmakers in 1895 by creating one of the very first luxury watch companies in Japan. In modern times, the brand now has an unrivaled reputation for making precision timekeepers that are stylish enough to be a status symbol and fashion accessory.
All their watches bear the crisp, precise Seiko logo that stands for quality, accuracy, and durable construction. Our history of the Seiko logo will take an in-depth look at the design of this iconic symbol.
Logo Design Elements
The official Seiko logo is very clear and straightforward. Despite being a Japanese company, the brand uses English lettering to write “Seiko” in a bold font inspired by the Bookman typeface. The Seiko logo’s font is distinguished by uniform lines and thick, block-like serifs. This design is intended to be legible at very small sizes, yet it also looks strong enough to be the main focus on big advertisement posters. All the letters are written in capitals, and all letters besides the I and the O are written in a uniform width. To keep the logo from looking too engineered or rigid, the arms of the K connect in an asymmetrical slant.
Changes and Evolution
Throughout the history of Seiko, the company has always just used the brand name, written in a bold serif font, as the logo. Even old Japanese advertisements from the early 1900s use the English spelling of Seiko as the logo for the company. This consistently simple logo helps Seiko to distinguish itself from all the Swiss watch companies that use heraldic devices or elaborate script on their logo.
Seiko’s logo has always had rather versatile coloring because the company regularly switches up the colors to match design schemes for different products, advertisements, and stores. It is most commonly depicted as a black on white design, but many versions of the logo have also appeared as a deep royal blue color on a transparent background. When the logo is put on watches, Seiko frequently displays it in either silver or gold.
Seiko has always used their own proprietary font for the Seiko logo, but this font has been slightly tweaked over time. This font got its start by looking quite similar to the historical Bookman font that was first created in 1858. Originally, the serifs at the end of each letter were much thinner and slightly curved. Over time, the serifs have become slightly thicker and blockier. They are now as thick as the other lines in the letter, and they intersect the lettering at sharp right angles.
Seiko Logo Influences/Inspiration
The founder of Seiko made the decision to write his logo in English lettering because he wanted to create international watches that would be worn around the world. Founder Kintaro Hattori wanted to use a simple logo because the company desired a logo that would last for decades. Instead of following trends, the Seiko logo uses a timeless design that looks nice on a variety of different watches. This decision allowed the company to use special alternate logos for lines like the Speedtimers and Grand Seikos without compromising their brand identity. The simplistic design of Seiko’s logo also allows it to be used in any color for any type of watch design.
- The name Seiko comes from an abbreviated form of the Japanese word, Seikosha, that means “House of Exquisite Workmanship.”
- Though Seiko had been making watches for years, no watch at the company actually bore the logo until 1924.
- In a recent announcement, the company announced plans to remove the Seiko logo from the face of their classic Grand Seiko watch. This has been met with some annoyance from watch enthusiasts.
- Seiko used to sponsor Honda racing cars, but the company pulled their funding because they did not want their logo appearing alongside tobacco companies on the racing vehicles.
The versatile nature of the Seiko logo allows it to be used on tiny watch faces or huge storefront signs. Despite minor alterations, the logo has remained roughly the same for a century. Its uniquely geometric font and bold design mimic the precision, style, and simplicity of the watches that made Seiko famous. Seiko’s signature logo is an ideal brand ambassador for their company, and they will probably continue to use it as long as they are producing Seiko watches.