Costco, the common name for the Costco Wholesale Corporation and recognizable by its famous Costco logo, is a multinational corporation second in size only to Walmart as of 2015. The chain requires a membership fee for customers to shop at its warehouse clubs and is ranked in the top 20 of the Fortune 500 rankings of the United States corporations based on total revenue.
The Costco logo has evolved over the years as the company has grown from one store in Seattle, Washington, which opened in 1983, to more than 750 warehouse stores today.However, the logo has retained most of its distinctive features from the beginning, likely because of the company’s dedication to standing out visually and philosophically from other similar warehouse and discount brands. As you learn more about the Costco company, you will see how the Costco logo reflects the company’s stated mission and philosophy in salaries, employee recruitment and care, customer service, and strategic marketing.
About the Costco Brand
The first official Costco store opened in 1983, but the company’s history dates back an additional seven years thanks to a variety of corporate mergers with competitors like San Diego’s Price Club. The Price Club was founded by Sol Price and his son, Robert, who opened stores in old airplane hangars. The original Price Club warehouse is open today as Costco Warehouse #401, although all Price Club stores became Costco Wholesale stores over 20 years ago.
Statistics and Basic Information
Costco stores carry a variety of supermarket items and even luxury goods. In fact, in 2016, the company was the world’s largest retailer of
- Choice and prime beef
- Organic food items
- Rotisserie chicken
Costco’s rotisserie chickens have their own fan page, and the company uses the attractive pricing on the birds to bring in customers. At one point, Costco estimated it lost between $30 million and $40 million annually to maintain their low $4.99 price on this product. The loss was worth it because of the increased member foot traffic the stores gained as shoppers came in to pick up their rotisserie chickens.Interestingly, despite its warehouse design and, on average, 13,000 square feet of sales space, Costco stores only stock about 4,000 unique products. This decision is based partially on the requirements Costco faces because of its wholesale pricing and partially on sales strategies based around the idea that customers buy more when there are fewer and rotating options.
Most Costco stores offer
- Grocery items
- Home design items
- Pharmacy services
- Gas stations
- Discounted travel and other services
- Food services, including pizza
- Wine, beer, and sometimes liquor
- Optical services
- Business services and payment processing
- Travel services
- An auto program
- Online photo services
- Online shopping services, including emergency prep kits
Most customers do not realize Costco is one of the United States’ largest pizza chains with over 400 stores nationwide. The Costco food court also offers a discounted hot-dog-and-soda combo that has been priced at $1.50 for nearly 30 years. Non-members also ma not realize that they can shop without a membership if a member buys them a Costco cash card and that some airport security offices will accept a Costco card as proof of identity.
Costco Logo Design History
The Costco logo has remained remarkably consistent from the time of its founding. In fact, the biggest change the logo experienced was from the original Price Club logo, which featured a simple red background with a rounded, lower-right corner and white block lettering reading, “Price Club,” to the red block lettering reading simply “Costco.” Price Club also sometimes used blue block lettering on its warehouses.Since 1983, the Costco logo has had only three major adjustments.
Costco Logo from 1997 to the Present Day
When Costco made all Price Club and Costco warehouse stores Costco Wholesale stores, the logo evolved one last time. In 1997, the Costco logo was slightly enlarged, and the letters became thicker and blockier. Underneath, the word “Wholesale” was added, also slanted, and in all caps. Three blue lines balanced the word on the left side. This Costco logo has been in place since 1997 and is still used today.
Costco Logo Design Evolution
Because Costco is a multinational corporation, the company has opted to keep its logo consistent for more than thirty years. This helps the brand remain recognizable in more than a dozen countries, including
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
The company also plans to open a warehouse in China in 2019.
The Futura Font Family
Variations on the Futura typeface have been used in multiple logos, movie posters, and album covers. These include:
- Krispy Kreme logo
- Disney Junior logo
- DOPE logo
- Au Bon Pain logo
- Occupy Wall Street
- The Muppets 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Love Boat
Interestingly, you cannot download the Futura font for use in designing logos for free, nor can you adjust it without permission. Futura is a commercial typeface designed by Paul Renner. It is available in multiple weights, of which the Costco logo has used several over the years, and Costco’s unique version is called Futura Extra Bold Oblique.Renner released the font in 1927 and based it on geometric shapes. The font uses references to the circle particularly heavily and was supposed to look modern. It was described at one point as “the typeface of today and tomorrow.” Given its long relationship with the Costco logo, this certainly appears to be true.
Costco’s Private Label Logos
Perhaps to make Costco’s custom services and signature brands more obvious, the Costco logo remains mainly red. This enables the company to add the word “Signature” in a cursive font to any signature brand. For example, Kirkland Water retained its original logo, with a black background and white block lettering, but added “Signature” below the Kirkland name to indicate the Costco partnership.
Red and White Coloring
Image via: Flickr
Red and white have been the basic colors in the Costco logo from the first version of the logo that debuted in 1983. However, the shades of red have been altered twice, once in 1993 and once in 1997, and a royal blue was added to the color palette in 1997. The blue color has not changed since its addition.
Image via: Flickr
Sometimes, the Costco logo is featured on a black background instead of a white one. This is not particularly common, and the logo is still surrounded by a white outline to make the colors pop even when the rest of the background is black. For a brief period of time, Costco also tried placing the logo on a blue background, but this created a “discreet” look that make the logo less likely to stand out. A red background fared even worse as the “Costco” faded into the background even with the white outlines.
Conclusion: The Costco Logo Remains Constant
Costco has made a name for itself in a number of ways that differentiate it from other warehouse and discount companies. Costco boasts that an “entrepreneurial drive” characterizes Costco staff at every level. The company has also routinely opted to hire and promote from within, avoid hiring employees with traditional “business school” educational backgrounds, and offered higher wages and superior benefits than its competitors.Just as these practices have been consistent for the company since its inception, the Costco logo has remained largely constant. It seems likely it will remain so in the future as well.