The North Face Logo – Meaning And Origins

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It was not until I moved to the colder state of Victoria did I notice the premium apparel brand of The North Face. Sure the company existed online and in select stores in and around Sydney. But growing up with consistent beach weather was the perfect environment never to have to go to the extremes of wearing a Down Puffer jacket.

But since moving down south, I was exposed to so many winter wear fashion brands, The North Face, Kathmandu, Columbia, Patagonia, MacPac, to name a few. But the one brand that always raised my curiosity was, of course, The North Face.

The North Face Logo – Americana

Being way too expensive at the time for me to afford, this out of reach product made me ponder and research further. You always want what you cant have.

But one thing that I did not ever think about was the meaning of The North Face Logo that, to me, looked like a hybrid of a waterfall and rainbow.

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The North Face history—The rise.

The North Face Inc was founded by Douglas Tompkins and his wife, Susie Tompkins. Originally it was a retail store in San Francisco that focused on climbing equipment.

The NorthFace Logo was a styled version of a rock formation in Yosemite National Park, called the Half Dome adjacent to the name of the company. 

After just two years, The North Face was purchased by Kenneth “Hap” Klopp. A year later, they started making some of their products. In 1975 they had their first hit product (a dome tent).

Over the decades, they earned a reputation for product innovation in apparel, tents, sleeping bags and accessories. This began the series of ownership changes.

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Rapper Playboi Carti

By the time 1997 came, the company’s products (in particular one line called Tekware) had expanded.

Around the same time, The North Face’s Puffer Jackets which were a hybrid between a thermal sleeping bag and a freezer jacket became popular with rappers in New York, which led the way for the brand to become famous and global.

A series of disasters marked later years until, in 2000, they were on the point of closure but saved by the VF Corporation, who bought them at a bargain price.

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The logo designer—Inspired.

The North Face logo inspiration half dome at yosemite national park
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. The inspiration for the logo

The North Face logo was designed in 1971 by graphic designer David Alcorn (California). The name of the brand was based on The North Face of the “Half Dome” rock formation.

The North Face of the Yosemite’s Half Dome is substantially harder to ascend than the other faces. And so the brand and its logo meaning was designed to suggest “tough.”

Colors and font—Typeface passion.

The red and black of the logo has a meaning as well. Red suggesting passion and courage and the black denoting elegance, supremacy, and dominance. The font is of particular importance too.

The North Face font is Helvetica Bold, which is seen by designers as a “Strong Typeface.”

Cultural and Global—Alignment.

Lizzy Hawker

Even though many of the current crops of The North Face brand wearers may have never been anywhere near a

mountain, the company still keeps reinforcing its robust, mountaineer heritage. It does this through sponsorship and more, importantly sponsoring successful athletes.

One famous recipient of their sponsorship is Lizzy Hawker, who was victorious three times in the Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc.

The North Face logo is ever-present in photos showing her success.


This has made the Logo one of the most recognizable in the world. This is the cause of its repeated copyright breaches by fraudsters who have copied the brand mercilessly.

The North Face is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world. Because of the premium price point of north face apparel, counterfeit goods will often focus on making The North Face logo highly visible.

The North Face Logo—All bout heritage.

Vintage the north face puffer jackets in different colours on people sitting at park bench.
Vintage The Classic Custom Embroidered Logo North Face Styles – North Face Jackets

The North Face Symbol and Logo is iconic. Its heritage can be traced way back to that small retail store that was opened in San Francisco. A brand that has had massive changes in fortunes in its journey to the current success it enjoys.

A brand that almost folded and would have gone into bankruptcy had the VF Corporation not rescued it. The VF Corporation was already owners of other well-known clothing brands and was a match made in heaven. The brand now enjoys a secure and extended global popularity.

The company today has become a global corporation with goods manufactured in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, and many more.

Currently, there are 5,000 The North Face stores that operate in more than 50 countries worldwide with its heritage store still located in San Francisco.

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