"A long lasting impact." That's the definition of what a legacy leaves behind. Well, there's no better way to look at the legacy of a company than viewing its logos.
Smith Corona's brand has been around for decades (over 130 years but who's counting?), so we've gone through a lot of changes - all better than the next!
The evolution of our logos showcases Smith Corona's innovation and how we continue to grow as a company dedicated to serving our customers and the paper industry.
We've put together some of our most recognizable and memorable company logos that have led us to where we are today. Let's see what you can learn from our journey:
Long before Smith Corona was Smith Corona, it was L.C. Smith & Bros. The typewriters made from the company were infamous. These reliable machines were used for tasks like war correspondents. And famous authors like Hemingway wrote some of their most prolific works on them. One of the first logos for the company was this iconic 3 horse and horseshoe design.
During the decades this logo was used, several L.C. Smith & Bros. typewriter models displayed an intricate color design, like the one shown above. Specifically, Model No. 2, No. 5, and No. 8. The addition of red, gold, and blue helped the logo pop on the black design of the typewriter. The text in this logo slightly varies from the later 1925 version with the words "Typewriter" and "Writing In Sight" at the bottom.
This version of the L.C. Smith & Bros. logo is almost identical to the 1921 design seen above. However, there are slight design modifications to the horses, and the text that is displayed below the typewriter image in the center. This included the company's established date of 1903 and "Made in U.S.A." text.
When the Rose Typewriter company was sold in 1909 to Ben Conger and C.F. Brown, they renamed it the Standard Typewriter Company. It was with the success of the Corona Model No. 3 typewriter (its best selling model!) that garnered another name change in 1914. Thus the Corona Typewriter Company came to be. This typewriter was lightweight and portable, with a platen that folded over the keyboard for easy storage. Correspondents and journalists covering WWI found this Corona model extremely convenient and reliable for their job.
L.C. Smith & Bros. merged with the Corona Typewriter in 1926 to officially create L.C. Smith and Corona Typewriters, Inc.
If you know anything about the Smith Corona history, then you know typewriters weren't the only thing we manufactured. Firearms also played a big role, dating all the way back to 1877 when L.C. Smith and his older brother, Leroy Smith, joined forces with firearms designer William H. Baker. Both typewriter and gun production, along with products like ammunition and cipher machines, were crucial during WW2 through the company's supported war efforts.The L.C. Smith brand of shotguns reigned until they were retired in 1972.
After the war, H.W. Smith was the last Smith brother in charge of the company. And in 1946, he changed the company name to the trusted "Smith Corona" that's still carried on. Turns out, when the products of your company are built to last, a name is all your logo needs. And it still manages to make an impact with no image necessary. The years that followed saw great changes for Smith Corona.
When Smith Corona acquired Marchant Calculating Machine Company in 1958, it was to diversify the corporation. Operating a business was becoming more complex, but despite the adversity, Smith Corona saw an opportunity and decided to branch out. To make the logo simple, the "M" acronym from Merchant was added to the "S" and "C" from Smith Corona.
Electric typewriters and personal word processors equipment in the 80s bore this logo. This included the world's first laptop word processor (the PWP 270 LT.) which Smith Corona produced in 1989. Sticking to black and white, this design incorporated the Smith Corona name with a combination of bars and lines placed vertically and horizontally, rectangles and ovals. This logo also included lots of partial shading and curved sides for a very tech-like appearance.
The rapidly expanding small-office and home-office (SOHO) market saw Smith Corona adapting and switching gears. Having come out of bankruptcy, we saw the birth of the abstract "Smith Corona sun" logo and the company tagline: Smith Corona, the way you want to work. Smith Corona Office Supplies like portable electronic typewriters (the VTX- and DTX- models), cordless phones, and fax machines were all part of the new business strategy. If you're a hoarder of old film ribbons and tape cassette accessories for this equipment, you'll find this logo on the packaging.
This logo then made its way online after the launch of the website in 1998! And it stuck around for a while, too - all the way until 2011 before the next logo took its place.
Our introduction to the internet came with this logo! And it makes sense as Smith Corona was now a presence on the world wide web. Still hanging onto our typewriter roots, typewriter supplies were an option for customers. However, direct thermal and thermal transfer labels and ribbons were now a part of our catalog so including a barcode was key. While sadly the era of the typewriter ended, Smith Corona continued innovating in the thermal labels industry.
When you need a new logo for your 127 year old (at the time) company, what do you do? Run a contest, of course! With recommendations for the logo to be industrial, economical, and classic, 56 designers entered 322 designs. And this was the winner! Easy to recognize and it invokes our famous brand recognition with the typewriter. Color really made its play with this design, too. The lighter blue tone in the text became a cornerstone for future logos (as you'll discover below!).
As we became an industry leader in thermal and direct thermal labels, we wanted a logo that highlighted a huge sector of what our products were used for: barcodes. And what could be more fitting than to have it front and center with the Smith Corona name? We did change the text to a bolder, more prominent font, but still kept the light blue color from the previous design. Plus the inclusion of a barcode went on to inspire the next transformation of the Smith Corona logo.
2021 - Current
And now we come to our current logo! Harkening back to the first internet logo, Smith Corona wanted to reflect the tagline of the lowest priced labels in the world. The combination of the globe and barcode smoothly transitions to the Smith Corona name. And yes, the famous light blue still makes an appearance with an updated color gradient. You can view this logo anywhere on the Smith Corona website!
There You Have It!
As you can see, the Smith Corona logo has definitely transformed a lot. Our journey from typewriters to electronics to thermal labels is reflected in the growth of our logo, and is a testament to the changes we continue to make as our company evolves.
This article was originally published on the Smith Corona blog. You can find it here.
Alaina D'Altorio is the Content Marketing Specialist at Smith Corona Labels. She explores topics relevant to the paper and pulp industry, including mill closures, material shortages, and supply chain issues. Smith Corona Labels is located at 3830 Kelley Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114. Alaina can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 216-426-5611.