We’re always fans of women who break stereotypes, shatter ceilings, reconstruct the floors, break barriers and pave the way for others. Some of the greatest role models have done this by choosing offbeat career paths and breaking out of financial limitations. For instance, Carolyn Davidson the woman who designed the Nike logo, better known as the Nike Swoosh.
Davidson was a Graphic Design student at Portland State University who, around 1969, crossed paths with Phil Knight. Knight was an assistant professor at PSU back then, but as we know, he later went on to co-create Nike Inc.
Phil Knight had overheard Carolyn talking about how she didn’t have money to take up oil painting classes and ended up asking her help for a few projects at the rate of $2 per hour. Then when Knight decided to establish his own athletic shoe brand, he asked Davidson to create an image/logo that could be placed on the side of the shoes for his brand.
The Graphic Designer handed over a logo that resembled a tick mark and a wing to indicate movement and speed and that was in alignment with the brand name itself – Nike, named after the Greek goddess of victory.
For this, she was paid a total of $35. After completing the project, Davidson ended up working for the shoe brand for the next four years. But the cherry on top moment is how she was also given 500 shares of Nike stock (which are currently estimated to be worth more than $3 Million) and a gold ring with the Swoosh on it. After working with Nike Inc. Carolyn continued to work as a freelance graphic designer, from the comfort of her home.
This just goes to show how a small, side-hustle or freelance job can turn out to be a massive career breakthrough. You simply never know!
For those of you wondering if you did the right thing by choosing to be a graphic designer, maybe this offered you some hope.