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      A sign of the times: the story behind Johnson & Johnson’s iconic logo
      Collage of the vintage Johnson & Johnson logo

      A sign of the times: the story behind Johnson & Johnson’s iconic logo

      There’s a reason the company logo is so recognizable—it’s been around for 130 years. We trace its history, starting with the day it first appeared on a company check signed by its founder.

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      Talk about standing the test of time: More than 130 years after James Wood Johnson co-founded Johnson & Johnson, his handwritten signature is still being used as the company logo to this day.

      In fact, it’s one of the longest-used company emblems in the world.

      “Johnson & Johnson was founded on the principles of saving and improving lives,” says company historian Margaret Gurowitz. “James Wood Johnson took this mission so seriously that he literally signed the family name to the company’s products.”

      To commemorate the anniversary of the company’s first public listing on the New York Stock Exchange on September 24, 1944, we’re taking a look back at how the logo has evolved over the years—including some of the surprising places it has surfaced.
      • First check signed with the iconic signature of Johnson & Johnson
        1886

        James Wood Johnson’s Famous Signature First Appears

        During the company’s initial year of operation in 1886, co-founder James Wood Johnson signed the first official Johnson & Johnson check made out to a local railroad freight master, including the name of the company written in a similar style.
      • Image of vintage box of Johnson & Johnson Sublimate Cotton
        1887

        A Logo Is Born

        The company’s earliest products, which were used in sterile surgical procedures, featured a logo that resembled Johnson’s signature, including large loops on some of the letters and the connection of the ampersand to the second “Johnson.”
      • Johnson & Johnson employees sitting on a delivery cart attached to a horse
        1890s

        Delivery ... By Horse-Drawn Cart

        The company’s logo began to appear on horse-drawn wagons that delivered such products as first aid kits and medicated plasters to local retail customers.
      • Vintage box of Johnson & Johnson Baby Cream from 1920
        1921

        A Logo for Products for Little Ones

        As the company’s business grew, Johnson’s handwriting was called into service in a different way: It was worked into the package design for products like a new cream for babies.

        “His signature became the inspiration for the logo that appears on Johnson’s® Baby products to this day,” Gurowitz says.
      • Tin box of Stars 'n Strips Johnson & Johnson BAND-AIDs
        1950s

        Logos With Many Looks

        In the first half of the 20th century, products featured logos in a variety styles—some that looked more like the Johnson & Johnson logo in use today (as seen on the BAND-AID® Brand adhesive bandage tin at right), and others that looked more like actual handwriting, explains Gurowitz.

        “But in the 1950s, the company standardized all its packaging to adopt the logo that we see today,” she says.
      • Johnson & Johnson logo in Chinese on white background
        1988

        The Logo Appears in Another Language

        When China opened up to Western businesses, the Johnson & Johnson logo appeared in Chinese, such as on the company’s consumer products, like BAND-AID® Brand adhesive bandages.
      • Johnson & Johnson logo made out of lipstick tubes on a wall in an office space
        2011

        The Signature Gets Sealed With a Kiss

        In a nod to sustainability, the company fashioned an innovative solution for leftover lipstick containers manufactured for its Neutrogena business: “Lipstick walls” depicting the company logo are now showcased in seven company locations in the U.S., Brazil and China.
      • Gif of Johnson & Johnson signature being written out
        2016

        The Art of Animation

        Johnson & Johnson unveiled an animated version of the logo on its redesigned corporate website, adding a bit of whimsy to the iconic signature.

      When you’ve been innovating for over 135 years …

      Johnson & Johnson has a virtual museum where you can learn more fun facts about its rich history.

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