Gold’s Gym logo. Worth its weight in gold, and then some.

Gold’s Gym logo. Worth its weight in gold, and then some.

Once the world’s No.1 logo? Take three guesses.

Think of a logo. Any logo.

So what was it? Nike? Apple? Google? With literally millions to choose from, the chances are you went for one of the world’s more famous – of which, again, there are countless. It’s highly unlikely that you thought of the Gold’s Gym brand mark. Yet it may surprise you that at one time this cartoon design of a shaven-headed bodybuilder (bet you’re still none the wiser – unless maybe you’re a regular gym-goer/weight-lifter) was the largest iconic logo in the world. Yup. The world!

Forget McDonald’s, Pepsi or Coca-Cola – in the early seventies, the Gold’s Gym logo was No.1 on the planet.

Founded over 50 years ago in Venice Beach, California, Gold’s Gym isn’t exactly a household name (especially this side of the Atlantic). And it’s surely not one of the first logos that springs to mind of the everyday person. Yet its history is as intriguing and iconic as the logo itself. (You’ve probably googled it by now and gone “ah, yeah, I know that. I think?”).

It’s like one of those lesser-known, yet instantly recognisable designs you see everywhere yet seems to fly under the radar in logo-land. And yes it is loved by those lycra-loving, pumped-up posers you see down the gym (sorry to stereotype).

Anyway, back to the logo’s history. It began life almost randomly. The gym existed but the design didn’t – until one day in 1973 when artist Ric Drasin was asked to come up with something. And that something was a quick doodle (on a napkin over lunch at the local deli) of a bald-headed bodybuilder dude. The doodle was transferred to a t-shirt which would in turn advertise the now world-famous Gold’s Gym.

Bizarrely, the t-shirt was an instant success. And that’s putting it lightly. The first batch were sold at the gym and sold out completely on the first day alone. More were printed, and more sold immediately. Then more and more, until over a period of time the design became the largest iconic logo in the world. Millions were sold and artist Ric Drasin, who owned the rights, became a multi-millionaire practically overnight.

The Gold’s Gym logo, which also became synonymous with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1975 movie Pumping Iron, is as popular today as it was back in the seventies. It’s so popular that for a limited period of time, you can purchase a signed copy of the design (for $75 via PayPal) from Ric Drasin’s own website. And what makes them so in demand? Every single drawing Ric sends out is unique. No two are the same; he redraws every single individual image.

So what started life as a throwaway doodle on a napkin in a downtown deli somewhere in California in 1973 – became one of the most legendary trademarks of all time. Ric Drasin, we salute you. You really did strike gold.