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Target Logo History: Detailed Analysis of Target Symbol Meaning

logo of target company

History and evolution of Target Logo

Any business can develop a simplistic, clean logo and make it memorable. Sounds like a fantasy? Take a look at the symbol of the well-known mass-merchandise retailer, Target. It has become one of the most recognizable emblems worldwide. And it serves as the best example of how a simple logo design can create a lasting impression.

No doubt, the Target logo has gone through several changes in the past decades. But one thing that has remained constant is its core visual metaphor. You can also see a stylized depiction of the store’s name in the logo.

target logo mid 2000s
Source: Logomyway

It is challenging to make a simple and recognizable logo. But following Target’s example, you can try designing a memorable logo for your brand. This blog also features information on how the retail brand made its logo recognizable over the years.  

1-Target History and Background

Target original store BW image
Source: Logomyway

When you look at the three circles in red and white, you instantly recognize that the emblem belongs to Target Corporation. Target history dates back to 1902 when the real estate developer George Draper Dayton purchased the land from Dayton Dry Goods company.

The company later transformed into the Target franchise after Dayton’s death in 1938. After 50 years, Target was officially built in the early ’60s.

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Logopoppin

Logopoppin is a graphic design agency that specializes in logo designing, web development, video production and advanced branding services. We love to innovate businesses with new age technologies, allowing them to improve their visual reputation.

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2-Interesting Facts about Target

If you’re a regular Target shopper, you might find the following facts about the retail brand interesting. 

  • It is a general merchandise retail store with outlets in 50 across the US and District of Columbia.
  • The Target workforce includes 350,000+ members. 
  • 75% of the US population can find a Target outlet within 10 miles. 
  • The corporation also owns Shipt and Roundel. 
  • The Target slogan, “Expect More, Pay Less,” was first introduced in 1994. 
  • The retail store’s headquarters is still located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since its inauguration in 1962.

3-History of Target Logo

The Dayton company laid the foundation of a discount store in Roseville, Minnesota, in 1962. The management of Target started to look for a name and emblem for its new store.

You won’t believe it, but the company’s team discussed over 200 versions of the name and logo. As a result, the first-ever version of the logo was built, and the Target name was selected. 

The original version portrayed a target featuring three red circles and white spaces in the middle of them. It also featured the store name written in black color and bold italic font. You can say that its logo design has an unmistakable resemblance to the target game. 

But, the original logo has evolved over time. It was designed in 1962 and continued to represent the brand for six years. On the other hand, the iconic bull’s eye got modifications four times in 58 years. 

4-How the Retail Store's Logo Evolved Over Time?

It’s no secret that Target made slight changes to its logo over time. Moreover, the current design is clean, recognizable but slightly different from the original logo. Here’s the target logo history and its transformation over the years.

4.1-Original Logo - 1962

Target released its original logo back in 1962. In this emblem, the color white begins from the center. You can also find the popular bull’s eye in the circular logo design. It had three red circles with white space between each of them. In front of the symbol, the company chose to put the brand’s name in solid black to complete the design.

If you compare the 1962 version of the mass-merchandise retailer’s logo with its current version, it doesn’t appear effective. The old target logo has the elements overlapped, and several concentric circles make the design overwhelming.

On the other hand, it wasn’t easy to associate the logo with the retail store. And, the target element appears similar to a marksman target which impacts the logo’s potential to garner brand recognition. 

Target's original logo 1962
Source: Target.com

4.2-The First Logo Modification - 1969

After using the original logo for six years, Target’s old logo went under the modification phase for the first time in 1969. The new changes included keeping just one ring around the red dot.

After one year, the brand made a few changes to its visual identity on the occasion of opening a new outlet. The design showed a woman wearing an earring stylized as the retail giant’s logo. 

lady wearing a Target logo inspired earring
Source: Target.com

4.3-The Second Logo Modification - 1975

Target logo 1975 with name in bold
Source: Target.com

Target decided to redo its logo after another six years. In this phase of modification, the two red circles were kept with a single white band.

However, the italicized font was removed, and a solid black font was placed. The change of font was done to resolve the readability issue. Also, the bull’s eye size was reduced, whereas the uppercase font was kept in its previous position.  

4.4-The Third Logo Modification - 2006

Customers saw another slight alteration in the logo back in 2006. The brand decided to work on the typeface and change its color from black to red. The typeface’s size was reduced than the bull’s eye. It was moved from the right side and placed under the iconic bull’s eye.

new target logo 2006 with name in all caps
Source: Logomyway

4.5-The Fourth Logo Modification - 2018

The Target logo went under the redesigning phase again after 14 years. In this transformation, the uppercase letters were made lowercase. The brand kept the bull’s eye but used a vibrant shade of red. 

Target logo with name in lowercase
Source: Logomyway

5-Logo Elements

It’s no secret that Target made slight changes to its logo over time. Moreover, the current design is clean, recognizable but slightly different from the original logo. Here’s the target logo history and its transformation over the years.

5.1-Color-scheme

The retail chain has indeed achieved simplicity and harmony using a red and white color combination. The red color reflects purity, passion, business responsibility, whereas the white color portrays elegance, prestige, and nobility. 

5.2-Target Logo Font

There’s only a symbol in the current version of the logo. However, you will find a wordmark written in the Helvetica Neue Bold Font if you look at the older versions. 

5.3-Shape

The logo communicates business identity. It features a homocentric circle within a circle depicting a target symbol, which is practical and understandable.

The design features the company’s needs, goals, and objectives very well. More importantly, a thick band of negative space is kept to form the third ring in the logo. 

6-The Secret Elements of Target's Iconic Logo

A study by target revealed that 96% of American shoppers are familiar with what the bold and red bull’s eye represents. You might be thinking about the factors that made the Target logo a massive success. 

To ensure the effectiveness of your logo, it’s essential that it represents your brand archetypes, engages the audience, and communicates your message. Target has a minimalist design style, but it successfully conveys the company’s mission and vision. 

No doubt, Target’s symmetrical logo is pleasing to the eye and looks perfect. It contains elements that you can find in many iconic symbols such as FedEx, Google, and Apple. 

6.1- Simplicity

You can take a retail brand’s logo to show how a simple logo can become recognizable. It has the potential to alert customers that they are near to the store if they look at it from a distance. 

6.2- Symmetry

The logo represents both a destination and a positive achievement. Its symmetry feature grabs attention, pleases the eye, and is memorable. 

7-Target's Popular Emblem

different target logos 1962-present
Source: Logodix

The PR team of the company carried out a customer survey in 2014. The purpose of the study was to identify which version of the target’s logo appeals to the customers the most.

  • 20% of the participants preferred the 1962 logo due to its “less corporate” and “retro” overall look.
  • 5% of the participants favored the 1975 logo version.
  • 2% of the participants opted for the 1989 wordmark. 

On the other hand, the retail giant’s current logo got the maximum votes indicating that it’s the most popular version among the customers.

8-Factors that Made This Retail Giant's Logo a Success

As mentioned above, developing a logo with a precise aim is essential to make it effective. Target did the same thing and executed a simplistic logo in the best way. If you observe the logo clearly, it has no ambiguity and conveys the brand’s message, mission and vision accurately. 

The color scheme also makes the logo awe-inspiring and recognizable across various platforms or channels. As a result, these factors help in fostering emotional relationships with its customers. 

The logo came into existence almost five decades ago, but its logo has remained similar with minor modifications. This consistency of Target’s brand persona resonates with its customers and builds a sense of trust. 

Moreover, the shoppers in the country recognize the bull’s eye and consider it the logo of a brand that sells high-quality products and follows outstanding business practices.

9-Recent Modifications in the Target Logo

Considering the brand’s modifications to its logo in the past years, it’s no surprise that the management decided to make minor changes in the design. Customers noticed the alterations in California’s (Bay Area) outlet. They started to question why did Target change its logo to lowercase?

The step was taken as a part of rebranding where the retail brand didn’t only change the logo but upgraded their store and increased the size of aisles. 

Furthermore, the outlets of Target in Canada opted for a red panel featuring the white target logo or a red logo featuring a whiteboard. And in most places, the word “Target” has been removed from the design. Most shoppers reacted to the change but regarded it with the overall vibe of the surrounding areas of the mall. 

On the other hand, the newly remodeled Target outlet in Kalispell, Montana, received a pleasant wood-grain appearance to align with the overall theme of the plaza along with the new target logo. The store features the bull’s eye logo in the white color without mentioning “Target.”

10- Target Corporation Logo Meaning

People might be familiar with the retail brand’s logo, but only a few of them ever tried to understand what it means? The mass merchandiser decided to reflect its name through the logo.

Therefore, its meaning is easy to understand. When you look at the logo, you can recognize the bull’s eye image with ease. 

The graphic in bright red color coordinates with the original red color you see in traditional archery targets. It’s worth mentioning that the logo is still distinct, stands out, and serves the true purpose of brand identity. 

Furthermore, the retail store’s logo can take on various meanings. For example, customers can relate it to a symbol showing a location they have been looking for, similar to a pinpoint on a map.

Also, the bullseye can be a reflection of success, achievement, profit, and accomplishment. The logo is so essential that you could argue that the brand makes achieving targets easy. 

11- Memorable Corporate Logo

Target successfully built a relationship with its customers using an eye-pleasing logo like various known and memorable brands. There’s no denying that the logo is one of the many things that made the company special. It played an essential role in making the retail store memorable over time. 

One of the factors that make the logo recognizable is that it stayed consistent for decades. The iconic bull’s eye received only minor modifications over the years. Initially, the design was cluttered and complex. Still, the slight changes illustrate that companies can make their visual assets memorable by making them simplistic. 

No wonder the elements such as unique color combination, instant recognition, and easy-to-understand symbol make it the most well-known corporate mark in the world. You can indeed find several people in the US who could draw a retail giant’s logo from their memory in a few minutes.