Creating a brand
On April 1, 1876, Lars Magnus Ericsson’s first company was registered under the name L M Ericsson & Co Mekanisk Werkstad Stockholm. This first company name was sometimes used on products, but never on stationery or in catalogues.
A need to more clearly mark and ornament products with the company’s name was soon felt, however. As early as 1879, the first telephone, often called the Trumpet, bore an elegant and image-enhancing label in the form of the name “L M Ericsson & Co Stockholm” embossed in gold against a black background. A gold border was placed around the black background in a style typical of the times that was undoubtedly taken directly from the designs used by book binders to decorate their books.
From this point on, Ericsson’s products, particularly its telephones, feature product markings as colorful as fireworks with artistic designs and cascades of colors, patterns and gold plating.
The company’s first registered trademark appeared in 1894 when the “Dachshund” (Swedish: Taxen) appears on a desk phone by the same name in an ornamented circle. This circle remains the basic graphic element for both the parent company and its subsidiary for some time to come. Ericsson also asserts its sole legal right by using the expression “trade mark.”
The Russian company’s stationery from 1902 was adorned with a beautiful letterhead with the company name in English script and the words “trade mark” in Russian. The "Dachshund" desk phone from 1892 is used as a trademark.
Around 1909, the company trademark is used for the first time on Ericsson’s Swedish stationery. Previously, the stationery bore only the company’s name, address and telephone number. From the start of operations until the 1890s, this information was simply printed on plain paper without any distinguishing style.
After the merger of Stockholms Allmänna Telefonaktiebolag (SAT) and Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson in 1918, a new logotype was created which in addition to the broad ornate circle inherits SAT’s radiant star around the periphery.
The first clear signs that Ericsson had become an international company were evident in the 1920s. The familiar circle symbol was gradually overshadowed by the name Ericsson in bold black letters and placed diagonally above and to the right.
Perhaps those working with the new logotype were inspired by a letterhead in a similar style that was used on stationery produced by the Ericsson subsidiary in New York in 1902, which also included a somewhat elaborate Dachshund telephone. The New York company, in turn, was perhaps inspired by a product catalogue produced during the same year, which featured the name L M Ericsson & Co. in gold relief on the cover with the swing on the end of the “n” that would become so characteristic.
In an article in Ericsson News number 4 from 1927, it is evident that the company now had its first corporate logotype and a common graphic language that would be used to profile the company internationally. The corporate symbol was now used for all marketing, including at exhibitions, in brochures and advertisements and on products. The old logotype from 1918 was only used for the parent company.
In 1940, the move to Midsommarkransen began, and the start of a new, modern era was signaled by the presentation of a redesigned logotype in 1942. The capital letters “L M” were now placed behind the name Ericsson, which was in cursive letters and written in red, which became the corporate color.
The period after 1942 was characterized by increasing variation in the use of Ericsson’s corporate logotypes. The various subsidiaries, both national and international, were given considerable freedom in the design of printed materials. Although the logotype from 1942 still provided the basic design, there were many variations.
The need for uniformity became increasingly evident over the years until work was finally begun in 1979 on a uniform graphic profile.
Author: Johan W Fischerström
Letter from LM Ericsson & Co Ltd in London to the president of Ericsson, Axel Boström, 1902
Letter from LM Ericsson & Co Ltd to Ericsson in Stockholm, 1902.
Ericsson parent company, logotype from late 1930S TO 1982