A while back I posted about the Fender logo: The Fender Logo Design Evolution, and it's various design updates and tweaks over the decades.
Although quite a few of the iterations have been accredited to certain individuals, the current incarnation of the Fender logo was, up and till now, designed by someone unknown.
I ended that particular post with a question: Who designed the current Fender logo?
I Googled and Bing'd, but couldn't find a damn thing about the artist responsible for this most recent update. I sent out a general tweet asking for help in tracking down the person responsible, and I even tweeted Fender direct, but sadly no reply from them.
Things like this erk me a little, as the logo is clearly gorgeous, and fronts one of the most well-know musical brands ever.
Almost tragic that this update of the Fender logo should be uncredited. Until now…
Today I received an email from Chris Kiehm, who went on to tell me the following:
I am a marketing guy and my great uncle Jim Cruikshank is the man responsible for the swoosh "F" in the logo... He was a commercial artist for them for many years!
I was doing some research the other day and stumbled upon an interview with my uncle!
So there we have it: One less unknown classic and historic brand logo design, now properly credited to Jim Cruikshank.
Jim Cruickshank: Graphic Designer of Current Fender Logo
Namm.org: Jim Cruickshank has an eye for design! While a proud member of the Fender guitar team, Jim designed many of the most memorable trade show displays for the company, including the 14-foot neck and headstock.
Jim also worked on many of the company’s best known marketing graphics, and even redesigned the company logo.
When he was approached to add a bit of a splash to the logo, which was really just the name of the company in silver letters, Jim took on the task.
He worked on several ideas but liked the simple flare he added to the first letter, a “fish tail” on the letter “F,” which was embraced by Leo Fender. The logo was then changed.
"Spaghetti" Fender Logo Design
As with the Marshall logo, the original 'spaghetti' style Fender logo (above) is by [someone unknown], although general chatter suggests it was based on Leo Fender's own signature with the 'F' being simply reversed!
It's a detail like that that can really create a truly ownable brand mark. Not happy with letters the right way round? No problem, just reverse them! :)
Fender has used several styles of logos, usually referred to as: "Spaghetti", "Transition", and "CBS" which were used to adorn the headstocks of their guitars.
The term 'spaghetti' wasn't official, but was penned by Fender enthusiasts and collectors in later decades.
This original version of the logo was used in the 1950's and 1960's on most of the Fender instruments, including: Esquire®, Broadcaster®, Telecaster®, Stratocaster®, Precision Bass® and Jazzmaster® guitars, as well as several other Fender instruments of that period.
"Transition" Fender Logo
The gold logo (above) with black outline was called the 'transition logo', and was designed by adman and graphic designer, Robert Perine.
The main reason for deploying a new logo was that Robert wanted to cut down on all the various Fender trademarks in use, and thus adopt one single logo type.
Perine's new logo was used up and till CBS took Fender by the reigns which was introduced in 1967. The gold version of the logo was called the 'transition' logo simply because it spanned the 'spaghetti' style Fender logo of the 1950's, and pre Fender CBS-era of the late 1960's.
Information on the CBS-era Fender logo is somewhat scarce, but it was a thick black logo that was used between 1968-1980.
You can see the difference in all 3 versions below, the last one being the style used by CBS until the 1980's when Fender changed back to using the "transition" and "spaghetti" logos, depending on the model.
The Current Fender Logo
What's interesting is that the logo you know see on the website (below), white lettering on red background, is pretty damn close to the first 'spaghetti' style logo but for a few positional changes, curves and proportions.
I have crudely over laid both the original, and new logos (below), for comparison. The red lettering is the logo currently is use whereas the slightly pixelated black/grey version is the original 'spaghetti' style.
Who designed the current Fender logo?
I can't find any information on who 'tweaked' the newest logo now used by Fender, but I think it's safe to say that who ever designed the first one takes credit for the Fender logo overall give it's closeness to the original logo design. Unless you disagree?
Some official information on the history of the Fender logo over on Fender.com and you can download various Fender brand logos and style guides on their Brand Logo page.
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