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SONY Logo History

From its introduction, the eye-catching SONY logo was revered within the company. The first version of the logo, which was enclosed in a square box, was registered as a trademark in 1955. Thereafter, the logo went through a succession of changes. In the 1960s, when Sony began to seriously develop its brand image overseas, the logo was displayed in neon in New York and Hong Kong, where it competed with famous and well-established foreign companies. In 1959, the catchphrase "Sony -- a worldwide brand born in Japan" was introduced to capitalize on the logo. This was followed by the slogan, "Research Makes the Difference."

One man who worked particularly hard on the development of the logo was Sony designer Yasuo Kuroki. In 1961, it was decided to place the new Sony logo on a neon sign in an upscale area of Hong Kong. Sony was the first Japanese company to put up such a sign there. But before this could happen, the logo needed to be modified to suit this method of display. So Kuroki who was then in the Publicity Department, was asked by Morita to come up with a design. The following year, Kuroki's logo was proudly displayed in advertisements for Sony's miniature televisions.

To develop an even more effective logo, a committee was formed within Norio Ohga's Design Division. By 1962, corporate identity (CI) rules and a design policy for the use of the Sony logo were established. After making numerous attempts to modify the logo, the company decided on the current version, which was introduced in 1973.

In order to mark the 35th anniversary of the company in 1981, there was a proposal within Sony to introduce a new logo. Although ideas were submitted from all over the world, Ibuka decided that none of the designs was better than the original one which had been in use since 1973. Consequently, the 1973 logo was kept, and it is still in use today.

In 1982, Sony created a catchphrase and an additional logo to enhance the company's overall CI. When Morita was shown the design for this "S mark" logo, he thought that when people saw it for the first time, they would wonder what it represented. He reasoned that a brief, catchy description would be needed to explain the "S mark." The phrase he came up with was, "It's a Sony!" This, he believed, would add impact to the advertisement. Thereafter, all Sony TV commercials ended with the "S mark," followed by a voice-over saying, "It's a Sony!" This unique combination of picture and sound quickly became recognized around the world as a unique Sony trait.

When launching such products as the Betamax VCR in 1975, the Walkman headphone stereo in 1979, and the 8mm camcorder series in the 80s, Sony sought to create new markets and lifestyles. Because such products often presented completely new concepts, they had to be advertised in ways that effectively explained what they were and how they should be used. Therefore, Sony advertising staff was involved in product planning so that product names, marketing slogans and advertising strategies were created in tandem with the products themselves. Sony's method has traditionally been to come up with one or two catchy words to introduce a new concept or product. A prime example of this is the name "Walkman," a Sony product name that has become synonymous with personal headphone stereos. Another example is "Passport-size," which was used to promote Sony's 8mm camcorder. This camera was small enough to fit into a travel bag and was marketed for use on holidays. Since the establishment of the Sony brand name, the company has tried to make its product names and catchphrases part of our everyday language.

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