History of Philips Brand

The Philips brand is a familiar sight in millions of households and buildings throughout the world, with its instantly recognizable wordmark of seven blue capitalized letters and the shield emblem with its stars and waves. Over more than 120 years Philips has evolved and grown, becoming a leading, highly trusted brand in markets all over the world. The company’s visual identity has remained true to its legacy, rooted in its early years at the beginning of the 20th century.

Philips Brand Today: “innovation and you”


In 2013, Philips unveiled its brand positioning that builds on the company’s legacy of creating innovations that matter to people. As part of its new positioning, Philips introduced the new brand line “innovation and you”, which is rooted in Philips’ strong belief that innovation is only meaningful if it is based on a deep understanding of people’s needs and desires. The design of the Philips shield was also modernized for use in digital and mobile channels, while retaining its heritage of the stars and waves. The brand direction was brought to life by the launch of a digital storytelling platform, showcasing a wide range of Philips innovations that make a real difference to people across the globe.

Philips Entering 21st Century: “sense and simplicity”


In September 2004, Philips launched its “sense and simplicity” brand promise, which marked a new way forward for the company. “Sense and simplicity” reflected Philips’ commitment to be a market-driven company that provides products and services that fulfill the promise of being “designed around you, easy to experience and advanced”. The company focused on people’s health and well-being by providing products and solutions in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting.


Building a Consistent Global Presence in the 90’s: “Let’s make things better”


Until the mid-1990s all advertising and marketing campaigns were carried out at product level, on a local market basis. This led to many different campaigns running simultaneously, not giving a representation of Philips as a global company.


To establish a consistent global presence, Philips introduced the first global campaign in 1995 under the tagline “Let’s make things better”. This theme encapsulated the “One Philips” thinking and was rolled out globally in all markets and for all Philips products. This was also the first campaign that brought the whole company together, giving the employees a sense of belonging and providing a unified company look for an external audience.


Philips Identity Trademarked in the 1930’s: Origins of the Shield Emblem


At this time, Philips’ business activities were expanding rapidly and the company wanted to find a trademark that would uniquely represent Philips, but one that would also avoid legal problems with the owners of other well-known circular emblems. This wish resulted in the combination of the Philips circle and the wordmark within the shield emblem.


In 1938, the Philips shield made its first appearance. Although modified over the years, the basic design has remained constant ever since and, together with the wordmark, it gives Philips the distinctive identity that is still embraced today.


For the first time in 1930’s, the four stars flanking the three waves were placed together in a circle. After that, the stars and waves started appearing on radios and gramophones, featuring the circle as part of their design. Gradually the use of the circle emblem was then extended to advertising materials and other products. Since then, this trademark has been used across the world and has become one of the identifiers of the Philips Company as the single source of Philips-branded products.


The now familiar Philips waves and stars first appeared in 1926 on the packaging of miniwatt radio valves, as well as on the Philigraph, an early sound recording device. The waves symbolized radio waves, while the stars represented the ether of the evening sky through which the radio waves would travel. In due course, these two elements were placed in a circle, presumably symbolizing the globe.


Philips in the 20th Century: First Lamp Advertisements


Established in 1891 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Philips & Co. was founded to meet the growing demand for light bulbs following the commercialization of electricity.


In the early years of Philips & Co., the representation of the company name took many forms: one was an emblem formed by the initial letters of Philips & Co., and another was the word Philips printed on the glass of metal filament lamps.


One of the very first campaigns was launched in 1898, when Anton Philips used a range of postcards showing the Dutch national costumes as marketing tools. Each letter of the word Philips was printed in a row of light bulbs at the top of every card. In the late 1920s, the Philips name began to take on the form that we recognize today.