Cargill Logo History

1930 Cargill Name Trademark
Although there was no formal trademark in the early days, a number of stylized versions of the name "Cargill" were created over the years. The design pictured here was used in 1931 with advertising in the grain trade press. A 1934 article in the Cargill News solicited design ideas from employees. Editors noted that the most promising prospect came from the 11-year-old daughter of an employee, but the design was never adopted. Actual logos started appearing in the 1940s when Cargill moved into areas beyond grain trading. In 1941, there was an attempt to trademark the word "Cargill," but it was not permitted under existing laws.

1941 Windmill On Shield
This 1941 design was originally intended for seed corn. Featuring a shock of corn and a windmill, it was commonly used in Cargill's short-lived farm supply operation through the late 1940s. It represented the first large-scale attempt at using a symbol rather than just the Cargill name. The trademark was abandoned in 1963.

1953 The Cargill Arrow
The arrow design appears to have originated with the Hybrid Corn Department in 1952 for use exclusively with seed. It was very popular in Latin America and may have been used for more than a seed brand. It was approved with the hope that the company's success in Argentina would "spill over into Brazil." Although the trademark file was formally closed in 1970, the arrow appeared in Latin America as late as the 1990s.

1954 Creative Processing
This trademark was registered in 1954 and included the tagline, "Product of Cargill Creative Processing." It is possibly the first corporate branding effort that moved beyond an association with products. According to a Cargill News story, it revolved around the idea that, "it takes creative processing to develop new ways of utilizing farm products to the best advantage for all." The seal appeared with Cargill Linseed Oil and Cargill Hybrid Corn, but was "available to all divisions if they care to use it." The registration was not renewed after 1963.

1958 Round Seal with Wheat
This design appeared on Cargill brochures from about 1958 to 1960. The purpose was to create an "umbrella" symbol for Cargill entities that didn't interfere with specific brands. It was used prominently in human resources brochures with the line: "Build your future with the Cargill companies." The Cargill News carried it on the back cover through May, 1960.

1960 Wheat and Globe Shield
This trademark was the first serious attempt at a corporate branding strategy. It was introduced in the Cargill News in February, 1960 "to suggest a firm with a long tradition but a modern point-of-view." With a color common to most harvested crops and the symbolic head of grain, it represented the company's agricultural interests. The global symbol depicted Cargill's international reach. Although the shield was widely used, it did not replace Cargill's executive letterhead and did not encroach on the Nutrena brand identity.

1966 "C" Logo
According to its designer, Don Ervin, of Sandgren & Murtha, the logo was "not a 'C' in the literal sense but was suggestive of a 'C'...Its interior shape recalls a seed, a kernel of grain, a drop of liquid, all of which are compatible with Cargill activities." The "C" logo was clearly the most ambitious branding effort in Cargill's history, and the most successful.

2002 The Legacy Continues
In 2002, Cargill was in the midst of transformational changes that would shape the Cargill of the future. The new logo was designed by Craig Franke, of the Minneapolis-based design firm, Franke + Fiorella. It leverages the strengths of our heritage while conveying the more approachable, dynamic and forward-looking company we aspire to be. The logo consists of the word Cargill and the "banner" which is actually a portion of the former stylized 'C' icon. The new logo was launched in conjunction with the most comprehensive Corporate Identity Strategy in the history of the company.

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