BP logo had 1930s Dunlop forebear

Dunlop’s 1933 logo in Country Life (left) and BP’s Helios branding today

BP introduced its green-hued sunshine logo – called Helios, after the Greek god of the sun – in 2000. It was designed as a ‘dramatic break with tradition’. The colours aimed to suggest heat, light and nature, with the interlocking shapes indicating ‘a single entity created by many different parts working as one’.

The company describes it as a logo ‘unlike any other energy identity‘.

BP may see it as unique but I was struck by its similarity to the Dunlop advertising artwork on the back cover of an issue of Country Life magazine in 1933.

The sun was a prominent visual device in the 1930s – you can see it on the garden gates and leaded windows of many an English suburban house built in that decade to this day. The sun was also used to dramatic effect in artwork for Watford’s Sun printing company by the designer and illustrator MacDonald ‘Max’ Gill (brother of Eric).

Charles F. Higham advertising agency credit on Dunlop advert

Dunlop had yet to adopt its logo with a ‘D’ encompassed by an arrow – that came about in 1959. The ‘Flying D’ is credited to the Charles F. Higham advertising agency in London. That provides another link back to the Country Life advert – a credit in the bottom left corner is to ‘C.F.H.’, the initials of that same agency.

One Response to “BP logo had 1930s Dunlop forebear”

  1. Miss PT Says:

    Good find, Mr Quinn.

    Dr Patricia Thomas
    Honorary Research Associate

    Ngā Pae Māhutonga | School of Design
    Toi Rauwhārangi | College of Creative Arts
    Te Kunenga Ki PÅ«rehuroa | Massey University

    Te Whanganui ā Tara Wellington
    Aotearoa New Zealand

    nz: txt/whatsapp: 0211622051
    international: txt/whatsapp: +64211622051

    “The reasonable woman adapts herself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to herself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable woman.”
    With apologies to G.B. Shaw, 1903


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