How Target’s Logo Has Changed

big Target logo in inverted colors

Target is arguably one of the biggest names in the United States’ retail industry, as the company responsible for the brand has opened and operated more than 1,800 stores around the United States. Besides the name, the most iconic aspect of the Target brand is its logo, which is shown as a bullseye that has a red outer circle and also a red inner dot. When you see this popular logo in the streets anywhere in the US, you will immediately know that there is a Target store nearby.

Despite the popularity of its name and logo, there is actually not a lot of people that know the history of the company and the origin of its logo. It was believed that the company logo was first conceptualized in 1962, around the time when the executives of the company were trying to come up with a name for their new discount store. However, the Target logo used in the 1960s was different from what was used today. Also, there were several different logos that were used for the Target brand name before they ultimately decided to stick with the modern logo. Why did they keep changing the logo of their company? Let us find out as we take a look at the timeline of every logo used by the Target company.

First Target Logo

The Target original logo was conceptualized in a meeting that was held between 1961 and 1962, right after John F. Geisse, who was then working for the Dayton Company (a department store chain), helped develop the concept of upscale discount retailing that allows the new Dayton stores to sell discounted products. After the Dayton Company approved of Geisse’s discount store concept, the company’s PR team then began to come up with a name for the new store. The Target team came up with more than 200 business names, but they ultimately chose the name “Target,” which would later influence the brand’s logo.

According to Stewart K. Widdess, the then-publicity director at the Dayton Company, they decided to have a new name for the discount store so that it wouldn’t be associated with the other store name that the company has created, which was “Dayton’s.” After the name of the store has been decided, the first Target store was then constructed in the Saint Paul suburb of Roseville, Minnesota. That store opened on May 1, 1962, with Douglas Dayton serving as the first president of Target.

The first target logo had three red circles that form the bullseye, and the name of the store is then placed in front of it. In addition, the store’s name’s typeface is in an italic text that is bold to make it more visible. The italic font was quite popular during the early 60s, as you would often see the same font in dozens of different brand logos in the United States. Even if you know How to Create the Best Logo, you may need more than one attempt to get it just right.

Second Logo

The second Target logo was created in 1968, and it came to be when the PR team decided that they should make the logo simpler in order for it to be more memorable and eye-catching. The team then came up with the iconic Target that we know today, which is the bullseye with a single red outer circle and a red dot at the center. However, the font of the Target name changed, and they opted to used two styles, with one having a white font color with a black outline, while the other has only a black font color.

Third Logo

The third logo for Target was created in 1975, although they just changed the font of the brand name and placed it to the right of the existing Target logo. As of 2019, there is currently no known reason why Target decided to move the Target name to the right of the logo, but many assume that the company changed the position of the name so that it would be easier for people to read since it is instinctual for most of us to read from left to right.

Drastic Change in the Fourth Logo

The fourth Target logo was considered to be the “black sheep” out of all the Target logo, as the company decided to erase their iconic bullseye logo in 1989 and change the look of the brand name to have a script font similar to the logo used by the Virgin Group, a British company that had numerous business ventures in various industries.

Because most of the people in the United States have already associated the Target store with their iconic bullseye logo, many of them did not like the change since it looked unfamiliar to them. Because the logo was quite unpopular, the script font Target name only lasted 12 months. They eventually went back to the third logo.

Current Logo

The modern and current logo of Target was created in 2006 when the company aimed to bring back their popular bullseye logo, although the font color for their name was changed from black to red (with some stores and ads having a white font). The position of the Target name was also moved back to the bottom of the logo instead of to the right. Because this bullseye logo is already one of the most iconic brand logos in the world, Target may stick with it for as long as the company is kept running.