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The Most Popular Kentucky Derby Logos Throughout The Years

When it comes to brand building, we all have to take a peek at the Kentucky Derby strategy since it has been very effective throughout the years. The organizers of the races have always searched for a way to make the Derby closer to the fans and build a reputable name in the horse racing world.

That’s why the Kentucky Derby now is one of the biggest horse racing events in the world.

But what’s strange about the Kentucky Derby is that they change the logo of the race very frequently. Speaking about an event where not much has changed for 150 years, the change of the design in the logo is quite strange.

However, the strategy is working since it modernizes the event and makes it more suitable for modern times. Throughout the years, we’ve witnessed a lot of design changes in their logo. But every logo had symbols that represent the derby like horseshoe, roses, twin towers and more.

Next year, it is going to be a special year for the Kentucky Derby since it is their 150th anniversary, and apart from many changes at the paddock, they’ve also introduced a new logo.

However, before you get excited about the race and rush to claim the TwinSpires horse racing bonus, let’s learn more about their logo history.

Importance of Brand Awareness

What factors contribute to a successful branding process? Is it the evolution of a logo over time or changes to messaging? Perhaps a combo of several factors? Brand evolution is a difficult process. A sloppy process can lead to a brand’s demise, while a superb process can take the globe by storm.

What is the oldest brand in the United States? I’m sure you could name a few renowned American companies, such as Coca-Cola, Amazon, or Harley-Davidson.

All three of those companies have been a part of our society for almost a century, but their legacies pale in contrast to the Kentucky Derby.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby, which began in 1875. That’s quite a bit of history.

The Change of the Logo of The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby lasts only two minutes, but the branding process that leads up to those two magnificent minutes begins eleven months before with the unveiling of a logo. Every year, Churchill Downs Racetrack, the site of the Kentucky Derby, commissions a bespoke logo for the race’s next running.

Why? Because it assists an old brand in becoming an ageless brand. It also injects a new, often contentious perspective on the Kentucky Derby legacy, which heightens interest in the race.

How can the Kentucky Derby stay relevant in a world where customers are easily bored? By developing a legacy brand.

In 150 years, nothing significant has changed about the race. It’s still a horse race, it’s still 14 miles long, and it’s still the most popular horse race in the world. What has changed is how the audience may enjoy the Derby.

Seventy-five years ago, you might expect to see men dressed in suits, joined by women dressed in long formal gowns, at the Kentucky Derby. The experience was consistent no matter where you were on the track, infield, or paddock.

Some of the Most Iconic Logos of the Kentucky Derby Throughout the Years

Kentucky Derby 2024

The latest logo that they’ve introduced is definitely one of the most beautiful logo designs throughout the years. It features a simple design without too many elements focusing on the big 150th anniversary and a rose since it has become a symbol for the derby.

Kentucky Derby 2022

Here, we have another logo with quite unusual colors for the derby. It features a creative and modern design that is more suitable for today. At the top, we have the Twin Towers at Churchill Downs and the rose with the horseshoe.

Kentucky Derby 2023

This is a different design than usual and quite striking. What’s odd is that the Kentucky Derby always introduced symbols that remind us of the derby, and here, we can only see the iconic rose.

With that said, this logo is striking and creates a perfect visualization of the brand.

Kentucky Derby 2018

This is another great design that incorporates the number in the actual shape of the logo along with the Twin Spires at the top, which are iconic for the Kentucky Derby. It is a contemporary and simple design focusing on the number, which showcases the tradition and history of the derby.

Final Words

These are some of the logos that stand out throughout history, and as you notice, they get simpler by the year. There is a good reason for that since Kentucky Derby is so big that everyone knows what it is about, which is why they don’t incorporate many of their iconic symbols anymore.

Graphic Designer with over 15 years experience. Cath writes about all your design and web illustration must-haves and favorites!