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Evolution of the John Deere Logo
Nov 20, 2012
This year marks John Deere’s 175th anniversary. It’s hosting events for employees at its various manufacturing sites and corporate offices, and you can join in the celebration by going to the facebook page and sharing your family’s photo.
Here’s a snapshot of the famous John Deere logos through the years. Scroll below the image, you can read about the history of the company at the time of each logo. Click here to learn more about the company’s history.
The first trademark featuring the leaping Deere was registered (but registration papers indicated the mark had been in use for three years.) John Deere first made his polished-steel plow in 1837 and had relocated to Moline in 1848. In 1849, the company’s work force of 16 people built 2,136 plows. In 1852, John Deere had bought out his previous partners and for the next 16 years, the company is known variously as John Deere, John Deere & Company, Deere & Company, and Moline Plow Manufactory. By 1876, the company was producing more than 60,000 plows a year, which were commonly referred to as ‘Moline plows’ because of the factory location. This trademark shows a deer bounding over a log. It‘s interesting that this original trademark shows a type of deer common to Africa. The native North American white-tailed deer is portrayed in future trademarks.
1910 and registered in 1912
This is the second version of the John Deere trademark. The deer again was shown leaping over a log. However, there was more detail and definition this time. The slogan "The Trade Mark of Quality Made Famous by Good Implements" first appears here, extending across the bottom. In 1912, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the compnay consists of 11 manufacturing entities in the U.S. and one in Canada, and 25 sales organizations—20 in the U.S., including an export department, and five in Canada. The company also operates a sawmill and owns 41,731 acres of timberland in Arkansas and Louisiana. Harvester Works built in East Moline.
The company's standardization committee saw a need to "better adapt the trademark for stenciling on products." In response, the deer became a solid silhouette removing all the detail from the previous artwork. This change, combined with the outstretched legs, provided a stronger, more recognizable profile. A 12-sided border was added around the leaping deer, and the antlers were changed slightly. The words, "John Deere, Moline, Ill." remained in the same position but were made somewhat bolder. The slogan below it was unchanged. In 1918, after years of investigating tractor production, Deere bought the maker of Waterloo Boy tractors. The tractor will soon become the company's basic product. Though 5,634 Waterloo Boys are sold this year, Ford Motor Company sells more than 34,000 Fordson tractors. However, iIn 1923, Deere launched the Model "D." A success from the start and the first two-cylinder Waterloo-built tractor to bear the John Deere name, it would stay in the product line for 30 years. After a surge of consolidations in 1930, there are only seven full-line farm equipment companies: John Deere, IH, Case, Oliver, Allis-Chalmers, Minneapolis-Moline, and Massey-Harris.
Another updated trademark was registered. This one, even simpler. The typography and leaping deer remained, but the border disappeared. John Deere was offering more products than ever before. There were now more places to use the trademark, which may have prompted the update. The fact that 1937 marked the company's centennial could have been another factor in the change.
This update was a breakthrough in many respects when it first appeared in 1940. First, the deer’s antlers were turned forward. Its tail was pointed upward to resemble the white-tailed deer. And it was no longer bounding over a log. The words "John Deere," now in a bolder square-serif font, were raised over the top of the deer’s head and antlers. A new slogan - "Quality Farm Equipment" was set in a bold sans serif typeface and reversed out of the ground beneath the deer. The words "Moline, Ill." were also dropped -- a change long overdue since John Deere was increasing its reach throughout the world. The surrounding border was modified, becoming a four-sided shape with flat sides and curves top and bottom to unify and contain the elements of the trademark.
This version of the trademark, which was registered in 1962, represented yet again the call for a simpler design. The slogan "Quality Farm Equipment" was dropped. By then, John Deere was established in the construction equipment industry, and contractors and loggers became familiar with yellow and black machines bearing the symbol. A radius was given to the corners of the border, and a slight curve was added to all four sides of the ellipse. The words "John Deere" were placed below the leaping deer for the first time. The deer itself was left relatively unchanged: legs extended, antlers forward. This same year, the company goes more global and builds a small-tractor assembly plant in Mexico and buys a majority interest in a German tractor and harvester makers with a small presence in Spain. Soon, it also moves into France, Argentina, and South Africa.
This clean-cut, contemporary look marked the revision, and a company memo noted, "the new trademark is in keeping with the progress being made throughout all divisions of the Company... it provides for better reproduction and greater readability under a wider range of usage." The deer image was streamlined to show a straight-side silhouette with just two legs, instead of the four, and one four-point rack of antlers. The "John Deere" logotype was changed using a hand-modified version based on the Helvetica font. The width of the ellipse border was narrowed, and the size of the deer inside it was increased.By 1973, John Deere’s total sales would top $2 billion for the first time.
John Deere unveiled the latest evolution in the trademark. This updated mark is true to the strong John Deere heritage. Yet, its sharpened antlers, angles, muscularity and attitude give the trademark an energized and dynamic edge. John Deere’s logo, after being known for decades as the "leaping deer," for the first time is actually leaping upward instead of landing. The current version illustrates John Deere's determination to stay focused on being the premier company in its industries worldwide, while remaining firmly rooted in its basic values of quality, innovation, integrity and commitment. In 2010, the company’s research and development investments are above $1 billion for the first time.