Quiksilver, an iconic brand in the surf industry, specializes in surfwear and board-sport-related equipment. Currently, it has a strong presence in markets across the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Known for its dynamic apparel and accessories, Quiksilver caters primarily to the surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding communities. Boardriders Inc., a global action sports and lifestyle company, owns Quiksilver. While staying true to its core surfing roots, Quiksilver has diversified its offerings over the years, embracing the evolving demands of board-sport enthusiasts worldwide.
Meaning and history
Quiksilver’s journey began in 1969 when Alan Green and John Law founded the brand in Torquay, Australia. Inspired by the dynamic surf culture, they introduced innovative boardshorts made from durable, lightweight material, revolutionizing surfwear.
The 1970s marked Quiksilver’s rapid expansion. Its distinct logo, representing a cresting wave and a snow-capped mountain, resonated with both surfers and snow-sport enthusiasts. By the late ’70s, the brand made its debut in the U.S. under Jeff Hakman and Bob McKnight, soon becoming a leading name in surfwear.
The 1980s saw diversification as Quiksilver ventured into skateboarding and snowboarding, capturing the essence of these subcultures. Recognizing the global appeal of board-sports, Quiksilver expanded to Europe and Asia in the ’90s, broadening its global footprint.
2000s were pivotal. Acquisitions like DC Shoes and Roxy bolstered Quiksilver’s portfolio. However, the company also faced challenges, grappling with debt and changing consumer preferences. In 2015, Quiksilver filed for bankruptcy, eventually emerging as a part of Boardriders Inc. in 2018, which now serves as its parent entity.
Throughout its roller-coaster journey, Quiksilver has remained true to its roots, resonating with board-sport enthusiasts and lifestyle consumers, making waves both in and out of the water.
1970 – 1983
In 1970, Alan Green personally crafted the emblem for the company, and its core design remains consistent to this day. Drawing inspiration from Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic Japanese artwork “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” Green was deeply moved by the portrayal of an immense storm near Kaganava’s coast, which historically led to the town’s decimation. The distant view of Mount Fuji in the artwork gives an illusion of an impending engulfment by the towering wave. Given the company’s connection to the world of surfing, Green ingeniously conceptualized a design that featured a wave, artistically poised to overshadow a grand mountainous peak.
1974 – 1983
This playful rendition of the Quiksilver logo showcases a more whimsical side to the brand. While retaining its iconic mountain and wave imagery, the logo introduces a dotted pattern to the mountain peak, reminiscent of a comic book aesthetic. This not only makes the design more eye-catching but also introduces an element of fun and light-heartedness. The typography, too, mirrors this playful energy with its rounded edges, emphasizing Quiksilver’s versatile appeal to both serious sports enthusiasts and the youthful spirit.
1983 – Today
In the beginning, the original emblem was the brainchild of Alan Green and John Law. Drawing inspiration from Japanese artworks showcasing Mount Fuji juxtaposed with a powerful typhoon wave, they conceived a visual identity for their sports apparel brand. The emblem depicted a pristine mountain summit meeting a towering wave, both illustrated in a minimalist style, aligning with the brand’s signature aesthetic for surfing and skateboarding wear. Originally, the emblem stood alone without any textual elements. However, as the brand evolved, its name was seamlessly incorporated above the design. This blend of art and sports reflected the brand’s ethos, connecting nature’s powerful elements with human adventure.
1983 – 1997
Here, the Quiksilver logo enjoys a vibrant overhaul with a fiery red and black color combination. The wave and mountain icon, rendered in red, exudes warmth and dynamism. A shift in typography, with the brand’s name in sleek, modern letters, offers a refreshing update. The contrasting red and black elements bring forward a youthful and energetic vibe, ensuring the brand remains fresh and relevant in an ever-evolving market.
1997 – 2002
During the early months of 1997, a new emblem incorporating text was unveiled. The design team opted for a delicate typeface – slender, broad, and sans-serif in style. Uniquely, the letter “I” stands out with its distinct dual-ended serifs, a nod to traditional typography. The symbol, featuring the iconic wave peak and representation of Mount Fuji, remained untouched. Every component is strategically positioned within a horizontally stretched crimson oblong shape, infusing a modern twist while maintaining the brand’s heritage. This fusion of past and present elements solidified the brand’s identity in a contemporary marketplace.
2002 – 2009
Post-redesign, the brand name “Quicksilver” showcased a contemporary typographical flair. It exudes a cutting-edge vibe, as it’s rendered in a fluid, almost careless, handwritten font. The characters appear in a dynamic perspective: they transition from smaller to larger sizes, creating an illusion where the name’s commencement seems distant, gradually drawing closer towards the end. Along the bottom, scattered ink splotches can be noticed, giving an impression of a botched attempt at crafting Japanese calligraphy. To the right side, the signature emblem of the mountain and wave stands, shaped like a square, reminiscent of a segment taken from the emblem’s earlier version, bridging past and present.
2009 – 2015
A modern take on the classic design, this Quiksilver logo captures the eye with its striking red square backdrop. The wave and mountain imagery, still central to the brand’s identity, sits confidently in white against this red canvas. The brand name, spelled out in black, bold, uppercase letters, anchors the design and creates a balanced, harmonious look. This use of red evokes a sense of passion and energy, aligning seamlessly with the adventurous spirit of the brand’s target audience.
2015 – Today
A streamlined and minimalist design, the Quiksilver logo masterfully blends the iconic mountain and wave motif. The high contrast black and white color scheme lends the logo a sense of stark elegance, emphasizing the brand’s strong connection to extreme sports like surfing and snowboarding. The name “QUIKSILVER” is spelled out in bold, capital letters beneath the emblem, solidifying brand recognition and establishing authority in the realm of outdoor sportswear.