Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about different brand logos and wondering where they originated from. I did quite a bit of research on a few logos, so I figured I’d share the info I learned with you in a post.
To understand the history about Spyderco’s spider logo, you first need to know a little bit about Sal Glesser. Before Spyderco was founded, Glesser created something called the Portable Hand (pictured below).
I found the following information about the Portable Hand from a book called Spyderco Story: The New Shape of Sharp, written by Kenneth T. Delavigne.
The Portable Hand was “a device with multiple legs and clips that could be fastened to a fixed surface and would hold one or more objects in a stable position. The first market for the Portable Hand was the circuit-board assembly industry, but people also bought it for a wide range of uses in industry and the home.”
The Portable Hand was actually the key in establishing the Spyderco name and logo.
(Also from Spyderco Story) “The name Spyderco and the mascot spider that became embodied in the company’s logo were derived from the word ‘spyder,’ which represented two things: the spiderlike shape of the Portable Hand and the designation some European automakers gave to high-performance roadsters. High performance, then and now, was what Sal wanted to provide in whatever products he sold.”
I also did a lot of digging through Blade Forums when I was looking for information about Spyderco, and it seemed like many people thought the spider logo looked more like a tick than a spider. From what I gathered, Spyderco thought a realistic-looking spider might appear too aggressive and could potentially give a negative connotation to the company.
Sal commented in regard to this in Blade Forums, “We needed a ‘cute’ spyder.”
For those of you who were wondering, that’s why the logo looks more cute and cartoonish than you might expect.
Boker’s tree logo has ties to the company’s infancy. Back in the seventeenth century, the then small Boeker tool factory lay beneath the shade of a giant chestnut tree in Remschield, Germany. Years later, the company needed a new, simple way to brand its products for the market overseas. One in the company thought of the chestnut tree back in Remschield because he deemed it an ideal symbol that was easy to remember. The logo stuck, but it changed slightly over the years. Here’s the logo’s evolution though the years:
The chestnut tree that inspired the Boker logo was struck by lightning many years ago, but an artist carved a picture of the tree in part of the tree’s own trunk. This piece of artwork is now in the boss’s office at Boker headquarters.
I have to say, of all the logos, Benchmade’s is the one I should have understood right off the bat. Instead, however, I was left wondering why such a successful manufacturer would choose such a delicate, non-hardcore insect to represent its company—until a couple of weeks ago, that is. If you’re one of those people who already knows the history behind Benchmade’s logo, pat yourself on the back. If you’re still waiting to find out as you read this section, prepare to have the biggest “Aha!” moment of your life.
When Benchmade was first founded, its product was primarily made up of Bali-Song®, or butterfly, knives. The Benchmade butterfly logo symbolizes the company’s early ties to the butterfly knife. (It seems like most people have already speculated this online, but I called Benchmade to confirm the symbolism behind the logo, just to make sure.)
The company also has many trademarks including “Bali-Song®” and, listed separately on Benchmade’s website, “Bali-Song (butterfly logo).” That is another testament to the butterfly logo’s origins.
Typically I don’t find history particularly interesting, but for some reason I really enjoyed learning about these brands and their logos, and hopefully you did too.