Lacoste logo history, crocodile and meaning: A symbol of luxury sportswear

Lacoste Logo

If you’re a fan of tennis, or athletic apparel in general, then you’re probably already familiar with the Lacoste logo. The Lacoste crocodile has become one of the best-known symbols in the modern world, evolving with the brand over the decades. But where did Lacoste logo history begin?

Lacoste has always been something of an innovator in the sporting industry. Before many other athletic apparel and sneaker companies were experimenting with simple shapes and wordmarks, Lacoste was already diving into the mascot landscape. 

The company’s unique emblem, featuring a green crocodile, has earned the attention of consumers worldwide. It’s also a symbol that frequently appears in the sporting world, promoted by major-league athletes such as Andy Roddick. 

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the enduring Lacoste symbol, and what makes it so unique in the world of athletic fashion. 

The Lacoste crocodile: Introducing Lacoste

Before we start exploring Lacoste logo history, it’s worth taking a moment to discuss the evolution of the famous brand. Lacoste is a French sporting apparel company, known for selling footwear, sportswear, clothing, leather goods, and a variety of other items. 

The company was initially founded in 1933, by tennis player Rene Lacoste, and his entrepreneur partner, Andre Gillier. First, the brand was named “La Chemise Lacoste”, and it produced revolutionary tennis shirts, specifically designed for athletes at the time. 

From day one, the company used the iconic Lacoste crocodile as its mascot, printing a somewhat complex logo on the chest of every shirt. According to the brand, this was the first time a brand logo appeared on the outside of an article of clothing. 

In recent years, Lacoste’s popularity has surged, thanks to the work of French designer Christophe Lemaire, who worked with the company in 2005 to upscale to a more modern look. The company expanded to more than 110 countries, and new sponsorships were formed in the same year. 

In 2017, the tennis player Novak Djokovic was named the official brand ambassador for Lacoste, as well as the “new crocodile”, building on Rene Lacoste’s former nickname. 

Lacoste logo history: The evolution of the Lacoste symbol

Despite originally launching decades ago in 1933, Lacoste has only made a handful of changes to its iconic symbol. The Lacoste logo has also retained some of its core elements over the decades, including the iconic crocodile mascot. 

The only major changes to the logo include the introduction of a wordmark inscription, and the simplification of the crocodile image, intended to modernize the visual brand.

Let’s take a closer look at Lacoste logo history. 

Lacoste Logo

1933

The very first Lacoste logo, introduced in 1933, featured a particularly detailed image of a crocodile, with its tail elevated, and its mouth opened wide. The animal was placed horizontally in the brand mark, facing towards the right-hand side. 

The use of various gradient shades and details made the image appear highly realistic and vivid, ensuring it would stand out on Lacoste’s iconic shirts. In this version, no additional wordmark was included, but Lacoste was still able to instantly differentiate itself from its competitors. 

Lacoste Logo

1984

It wasn’t until many years after Lacoste launched its original logo that the brand chose to refine the design. The image of the crocodile was significantly simplified. A lot of the coloring and elements were removed, leaving behind a somewhat simplistic silhouette. 

The primary color of the creature was switched to green, with a few white embellishments, and a red section for the mouth. During this year, Lacoste also introduced the first wordmark to its logo, featuring the name of the company in a blocky, sans-serif font

Each letter, depicted in black, was in uppercase, demonstrating the strength and stability of the brand. The inscription sat just beneath the crocodile symbol, delivering an excellent sense of balance. 

Lacoste Logo

2002

In 2002, Lacoste updated its logo again, refining the crocodile silhouette, and removing some of the extra white embellishments. The company also chose to make the icon a little smaller, while increasing the size of the wordmark. 

The letters of the logotype were placed slightly further apart, giving the company’s visual image a sense of power and consistency. Though the colors of the official logo remained the same, a monochrome version in black and white was also introduced at this time. 

Lacoste Logo

2011 

Finally, Lacoste made one last subtle update to its logo in 2011. The changes were very minor, but still significant. The crocodile emblem was made slightly smaller again, and the scale components on its back seemed a little simpler. 

The wordmark was enlarged again, and the font was changed to a thinner, stricter typeface, with rounded edges replaced by distinct lines and cuts. This gave the company a new sense of seriousness and professionalism. 

Why does Lacoste have a crocodile logo?

Although there have been a handful of updates to the brand’s visual identity throughout Lacoste logo history, the crocodile mascot has remained consistent. So, why does Lacoste use a crocodile logo?

The reasoning comes from a story behind one of the founders, tennis prodigy Rene Lacoste. During 1923, Rene’s team captain said he would purchase a crocodile leather suitcase for him if he won his upcoming match. 

Unfortunately, Rene didn’t win, but many began to say that he had the determination and strength of a “crocodile” on the court. The American press began using this nickname regularly when referring to Rene, and others quickly followed suite. 

French fans began to call Rene the crocodile too, in reference to his tenacity on the tennis court. 

In 1927, Robert George created a design for Rene similar to the one first introduced for the brand in 1933. The tennis player emblazoned this design onto his clothes, and took it with him into the Lacoste business when it first began. 

The Lacoste logo: Fonts and colors

The Lacoste logo is certainly one of the more eye-catching and unique emblems in the athletic apparel industry. While other companies tend to rely heavily on wordmarks and simple shapes, Lacoste has always chosen a slightly more complex logo. 

The Lacoste crocodile, inspired by its innovative founder, has captured the hearts and minds of fans all across the globe, and led to significant brand equity for the apparel business. Today, the Lacoste symbol may be a little simpler than it once was, but it still packs a real punch.

If you want to see the Lacoste logo in closer detail, you can find some resources linked here:

What color is the Lacoste logo?

The Lacoste logo colors haven’t changed much since the company decided to simplify its complex crocodile emblem in 1984. The key shades used by the company have always been a combination of white, green, black, and a small amount of red. 

The official Lacoste logo color of green is a deep shade, similar to hex #004526, while the bright red coloring is close to #db0026. In some cases, the Lacoste logo also appears in a monochrome color palette, with shades of black, white, and grey. 

What font does the Lacoste logo use?

Lacoste was one of the few apparel companies to start out without any inscription on its logo at all. When the company finally introduced a wordmark, they experimented with a few different types of font before settling on the one used today. 

The current Lacoste logo font is similar in a lot of ways to the Cambridge Round Bold Exp font; however, the typeface has been refined slightly for the brand. 

The Lacoste brand mark: A sports logo with bite

Looking through Lacoste logo history, we can see that the athletic brand was a definite trailblazer in its industry. It was one of the first apparel companies to place its logo on the outside of shirts, rather than just printing on labels hid behind the collar. 

Lacoste was also one of the first major companies to use a distinctive mascot in its logo in the sporting apparel world. The Lacoste crocodile has now become one of the most famous symbols of all time, and it’s frequently associated with strength, tenacity and grit. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stephen Peate
Creative director
Stephen Peate
Creative director
As Fabrik’s creative director, Stephen oversees complex branding programmes. He advises our clients on their tone of voice, creates logos and visual identities and crafts names for companies, products and services. Writing for Brand Fabrik Stephen reflects his love for logo design and visual identity.

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