One of the most, if not THE most renowned pharmacy in the world, Walgreens has one of the best success stories out there. And just like the pharmacy which it so proudly serves, the Walgreens logo has become a symbol of quality and acceptance pretty much everywhere it is found.
Beginning as the result of a work accident in 1901, Walgreens has had a long and mostly uneventful history, managing to become the America’s sweetheart of chain stores. With more than 8,000 locations opened around the world, Walgreens and the Walgreens logo are truly at the corner of happy and healthy.
Walgreens Logo Design Elements
The main design elements of the Walgreens logo are, of course, the cursive text and the now-gone mortar and pestle. While the mortar and pestle are no longer part of the main Walgreens logo, they can often be seen by themselves, with the instantly recognizable W inside the hollow mortar.
Perhaps the most tumultuous part the Walgreen logo’s long history was the short time period when the company rightfully accused the Washington Nationals of having an eerily similar logo. The two logos were indeed very similar, and the case was settled out of court; however, we’ll talk about that later on. For now, let’s talk about the Walgreens logo history.
Changes and Evolution
The pharmacy’s story started in 1901, as Charles R. Walgreen opened up a small neighborhood drugstore after cutting off the top joint of his middle finger. The accident happened while Walgreen was working at a local shoe factory, and it completely ended his athletic competition career. But had it not been for the accident, we never would have gotten the world-famous pharmacy.
Very interesting is the fact that the company logo hasn’t really changed that much since its beginning. And that is despite the fact that there are no more remnants of the old logo other than the word ‘Walgreens’. How can that be, you ask? Well, let’s look at the history of the Walgreens logo and find out.
The first company logo was the definition of simplicity. There were no images, no pictures, and no new, modern Walgreens logo vector png files. The original Walgreens logo simply consisted of the word ‘Walgreens’ written in gray, cursive script. A few more subsequent logos around the small town of Dixon, Illinois had that changed to ‘Walgreens’ written in white cursive on a gray background.
The logo remained the same for fifty years, and nobody even considered changing it until the drug store became a franchise and started opening more stores across America. This was happening in 1951. Aside from slightly changing the original font and making it red, the biggest change was the addition of the blue mortar and pestle to the left of the logo.
“The Pharmacy America Trusts” was also added beneath “Walgreens” so as to emphasize the fact that Walgreens could take care of all of their customers’ needs. It was also a marketing strategy to further cement Walgreens as the country’s number one pharmacy.
The third and next to last Walgreens logo came in 1983, and it only entailed minor changes. First of all, the “The Pharmacy America Trusts” slogan was removed so as to make the logo more streamlined. The mortar and pestle were also moved to the top of the Walgreens name and made the same color as the logo font.
The latest and current incarnation of the Walgreens logo is the simplest and least complex so far, at least since the original that first came to be in 1901. The mortar and pestle were removed completely, and that’s left is the Walgreens name. The lettering was also slightly modified, with the letters becoming less crammed together and a bit taller.
As for the colors of the Walgreens logo, they only started to matter after the 1951 shake-up. Aside from the fact that red was preferred so as to draw attention from cars passing by, there was also a well thought-out strategy behind choosing the eye-drawingly bright red color.
The red in the Walgreens logo and other Walgreens logo images is meant to symbolize the company’s strengths and what makes it more appealing to the worldwide public. It stands to represent purity, prosperity, vitality, and the flawless record of the company’s business responsibility.
There really isn’t all that much to say about the Walgreens logo font, other than that it is a custom typeface designed specifically for the company. It only suffered two minor alterations since its original debut in 1901 – once in 1951, with the first rebranding, and once again in 2006.
The first change would come with the definitive font change, as the 50-year old font retired and gave way to the new, red, modern one. The 2006 change was extremely subtle, and it was meant to make the font more visible and enticing for both online and real life use.
Walgreens remained written in almost the exact same font, with one slight difference – the new font is more broadened and streamlined so as to become more visible. Interestingly, it occupies the exact same space as the old logo, since the board of directors didn’t want to spend too much money on changing the marquees for all the chain store’s locations.
Aside from the fact that Charles R. Walgreen, the company’s founder, had a previous job working in a pharmacy that ended poorly, perhaps the most interesting thing about the Walgreens logo is the legal dispute with the Washington Nationals.
The W logos of the two legal entities are extremely similar, and since Walgreens started in 1901 and the Nationals in 2005, it was clear who would win the trial. So, the two decided to settle matters out of court, with some very interesting and fun results.
The Washington Nationals would be allowed to keep their logo with no further legal issues, under a set of conditions. The baseball team would have to change their name to the Washington Walgreens for twelve games a year over the next ten seasons, starting with 2013.
Furthermore, Walgreens would become the official drugstore of the Nationals, and four players chosen by the chain store would appear in Walgreens TV commercials for the following five years. Last but not least, two Nationals had to become actual pharmacists and spend some time working counters at D.C metro Walgreens as part of a “fun, cool promotion”.
One of the few chain stores in America that still has the public’s good will, Walgreens has had a long and mostly uneventful history. The Walgreens logo has changed very little over the years, and it remains a symbol of trustworthiness and medical satisfaction for people all over the world.