targetlogohistory

Bullseye Love: The History of Target's Logo

In this A Bullseye View series, we take a look through the Target Vault — a storied collection of historical artifacts, photographs, textiles and more. 

Bullseye /ˈbo͝olzī/ noun: The small circle at the center of a target; a round peppermint-flavored candy; the registered trademark of Minneapolis-based Target Corporation.

Our favorite definition is that last one, of course!

Target’s telltale logo was first revealed in 1962, streamlined in 1968 and has since evolved into one of the most recognized symbols in North America. No, seriously — a 2003 Target study found more than 96 percent of American shoppers know what that bold, red Bullseye represents.

So, out of all the brand logos out there, how exactly did the Bullseye come to be a retail frontrunner? And how do shoppers feel about the logo today?

We went through the Target archives to find the story behind our favorite symbol, and then hit the streets of New York (opinions were therefore expressed boldly, to say the least) to find out which iteration they like best. Logo lovers, read on.

1962: The Dayton’s (formerly Target) PR team debated more than 200 possible names for the store and logo design. On a red-and-white whim, they came up with “Target” and immediately envisioned a classic Bullseye logo with three rings. Genius!

Twenty percent of the people we interviewed for this article preferred the vintage logo for its “retro” and “less corporate” feel. We sense a #TBT…

1969: The ad “Flair for Fashion,” one of many ads from the “Shop at Target” grand opening campaign, was the earliest example of using the logo in an unexpected way. [Editor’s note: Now we’re looking for a pair of our own…]

1975: Not a hit with today’s crowd, only five percent of people we asked chose this version.

1989: Used in place of the logo, a script version of the word “Target” was introduced. Let’s just say that this version wasn’t on target — it was retired within 12 months. Only two percent of our interviewees appreciated the quirky script.

2006: Because most folks were familiar with the Bullseye and it could stand on its own, Target de-coupled the name from the logo in ads and flyers.

So, which Bullseye do you like best? Let us know in the comments below!

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