Barnes & Noble Logo

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Barnes & Noble is one of the oldest American retail booksellers, founded in 1886 and headquartered in New York. After a series of bankruptcies and closings in this sector, Barnes & Noble stays as the largest company in the bookselling market. It maintains more than 600 locations around the United States, selling around 1 million unique physical books every year.

Meaning and history

Barnes & Noble Logo history

The Barnes & Noble bookstore chain had its origins in a small town in Illinois more than 130 years ago. Initially, an American businessman Charles M. Barnes started his book-printing firm in his own house in Wheaton in 1873. Later in 1917, his son and heir William joined forces with a bookseller, Gilbert Clifford Noble, a Harvard graduate, in establishing Barnes & Noble bookstore chain. Noble, a former partner of Arthur Hinds in his own bookselling business, has bought all company’s shares and become the biggest shareholder.

During the 1930s, the company grew, opening new points of presence in various parts of the United States and Europe. At the peak of the Great Depression, Barnes & Noble opened its flagship store at the 5th Avenue of 18th Street in New York City in 1932. This store served the company until its closure in 2014. Also, in 1930, Gilbert Noble sold all the stock he owned to William Barnes’ son John.

The Barnes family ran the company alone until John died in 1964. Two years later, the company was sold to the Amtel conglomerate but then resold to an American businessman, Leonard S. Riggio, in 1971. Within a few years after he took control, the company made multiple acquisitions and grew rapidly: by the middle of the 70s, its flagman store contained 150,000 books. In 1987, Barnes & Noble bought B. Dalton Bookseller, adding around 800 retail stores to its collection.

Following a line of the company’s other purchases in the bookselling business in the 1990s, Riggio came up with the idea of a ‘superstore’, offering not only books but also music, educational toys, board games, and gifts. It helped the brand secure its continuing growth throughout the following decades and become

Its official website,, was launched in 1997. By now, Barnes & Noble has been improving its website and transforming it into an integral part of its brand, where they post articles, information about itself, and its products. The company also takes steps in the e-book industry, creating e-reading products via its NOOK brand.

Today, Barnes & Noble operates in all 50 states of the USA, selling various literature in the fields of science, education, and art. It helps its customers reach their aspirations by offering them books, as well as electronic books, board games, and educational toys.

What is Barnes & Noble?
Barnes & Noble is an American company, headquartered in New York and founded in the end of the 19th century. It specializes in the book business, operating hundreds of retail stores selling literature across all 50 states of the US. There are also electronic books, board games, educational toys, and gifts in their product line.

1873 – 1992

Barnes & Noble Logo 1873

The original logotype, used for more than a century after the brand appeared, depicted just its nameplate. The inscription ‘Barnes & Noble bookstore’ was executed in a capitalized serif typeface with small intervals separating the semibold characters.

1992 – 1997

Barnes & Noble Logo 1992

Later in the 1990s, the brand renovated its logotype by presenting the italicized inscription, written in two lines. The words ‘Barnes’ and ‘Noble’ were placed above and separated by a custom ‘&’ sign, having many curves and rounded tips. The whole lettering had an elegant serif typeface with the first letters capitalized.

1997 – 1999

Barnes & Noble Logo 1997

In the following logotype, they added the underscore to the whole inscription. Moreover, the letterforms were made a bit bolder.

1999 – 2019

Barnes & Noble Logo 1999

The logo represents Barnes & Noble circa 1999. It’s a classic and elegant design that features the company name in a serif font, which exudes a sense of tradition and authority—key characteristics for a long-established book retailer. The use of a dark forest green color conveys a sense of calm and tranquility, reminiscent of the quiet corners of a library or bookstore where one can immerse oneself in reading. The ampersand between “Barnes” and “Noble” is particularly stylized, serving as a focal point that adds a touch of sophistication to the overall design. This logo suggests a place not just for business but for culture and intellectual exploration.

2019 – 2020

Barnes & Noble Logo 2019

The logo, from 2019, maintains the core elements of its predecessor while simplifying its design. The color is a slightly brighter shade of green, suggesting a refresh and modernization of the brand. The typeface has transitioned to a sans-serif, which is more contemporary and cleaner, aligning with current design trends that favor minimalism and clarity. The ampersand remains a centerpiece, still stylized but with a more streamlined look that reflects a modern aesthetic. This logo evolution demonstrates the brand’s adaptability and its commitment to staying current while retaining its heritage.

2020 – today

Barnes & Noble Logo

To the new millennium, Barnes & Noble has created a new logotype that would represent its brand until today. It shows the inscription ‘Barnes & Noble’ without the word ‘bookstore’. It’s executed in two lines, whereas the part ‘& Noble’ is placed below. The ‘&’ sign is executed in semibold lines and has two elegant curves at the tips.


Barnes & Noble Symbol

The official typeface used to write the company’s name depicts uppercase sans-serif characters executed in bold lines. The characters are drawn as tall and narrow, and they have small intervals in between.


Barnes & Noble Emblem

The color palette as well as the typeface are dedicated to representing the cozy and comfy mood of the brand. The deep green color of the letters harmonizes greatly with the calm orange ‘&’ sign.