The story of the ZAJO logo: How the brand identity has changed over the years
Just as the ZAJO brand has been evolving for 27 years, adapting to trends, but at the same time forging its own path, so too has our logo gone hand in hand with this story.
Read about the journey of our logo to learn about the first logo from the databank, the special logo for women, as well as the reasons why our current logo looks exactly the way it does.
Logo #1 - Inception and humble beginnings
The first seed from which the ZAJO brand grew into what it is today was planted by Juraj Králik, known among his friends as "Zajo", in 1996. The beginning was a model of 3/4 length hiking trousers, which were extremely popular at the time, but despite the limited possibilities of the slowly developing market in Central Europe, it was an art to get hold of a quality model of these trousers at all. Therefore, Juraj, with the support of his parents, produced 900 pieces of these trousers, loaded them into his car and set off across Slovakia to offer them to individual retailers.
Of course, like any good brand, ZAJO needed a logo. However, priorities were set somewhere else, financial resources were limited and the internet was far from what it is today. A quick and modest solution was eventually found in Microsoft's database - it was a chubby, cute bunny, which became the basis of our brand identity for the next 5 years.
Logo #2 - Evolution in motion: More dynamic bunny in the foreground
The development of the brand took off rapidly and within five years the product portfolio expanded to include many more pieces. ZAJO's product quality has earned it credit and respect in the local hiking community. The original hare, which was more of an emergency solution, was no longer enough. After all, the activewear and the original logo didn't quite work together.
The solution was found in a place where no one would have expected it - in a Romanian warehouse. Here, Juraj came across a local employee who did graphic design in his spare time. In 2001, he offered his help, which resulted in a radical change of the logo.
"He was a graphic designer and sent me a sketch of what the logo could look like. He asked for 100 Deutschmarks for it," he says. For the record, 100 deutschmarks is the equivalent for about 51 euros.
The original bunny was replaced by a hopping, dynamic hare, which symbolised enthusiasm and forward movement.
In 2006, the logo underwent a transformation when Juraj asked for help from a Slovak designer. "The logo was empty and the font didn't quite fit, so we decided to improve it around 2006. I was inspired by the shape of the signs in Australia, which draw attention to kangaroos, so in cooperation with a local graphic designer we put a rabbit in a diamond," he recalls.
There's one more tidbit that really only long-time fans will remember. In 2006, in addition to the revamped original logo, one special logo was created exclusively for women's products.
Logo #3 - Unifying form and function: Working with top creative minds
As ZAJO's popularity grew, a more modern and sophisticated logo became a necessity. The original idea was a plea to our already fairly broad fan base, who were invited to design the new logo. And although we received a number of beautiful creative creations, which we also rewarded with a gift in return, we felt that if we really wanted to take the logo forward in a significant way, we needed the help of experts straight out of the trade.
We finally decided to define the new logo in cooperation with the renowned German agency Pascher+Heinz, who are among the absolute world leaders in the field of sports marketing. The goal was ambitious, yet crystal clear - to create a logo that would seamlessly integrate the cute bunny motif with the brand name. At the same time, however, both elements - the bunny and the name - would also work on their own. We unveiled the result of all our efforts in 2016, when our redesigned logo also heralded a new era for the ZAJO brand.
The visually striking rabbit's head found its clear place on the individual products and managed to strike a chord in the best possible way. We achieved what we wanted - thanks to the new logo, our products were already clearly recognisable from a distance and soon became iconic.
Logo #3, version 2 - Embracing minimalism
The colourful rabbit's head succumbed to the allure of minimalism and got a new facelift in 2021. The colorful ear has become a thing of the past and our rabbit has transformed into a sleek and sophisticated black. It was a bold decision, but this decision was only a reflection of our commitment to timeless aesthetics and versatility, not only in terms of visual identity, but especially in terms of product design.
The sleek black rabbit head we present today reflects all of our values and perfectly captures the spirit of a brand that rejects convention and welcomes change with open arms. It symbolises a new chapter in ZAJO's journey, underlining our commitment to simplicity, sophistication and timelessness.
And what's next?
Change is the only certainty in life. And the day will come when the story of our logo will write another chapter.
But we will never forget our humble beginnings with a free logo from a databank that will forever be linked to our story and will forever remind us of where we came from, but most importantly, why and for whom we are doing all this.