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Early Smart Denim Branding On Houses By Levi’s

Levi’s introduced their first blue jeans with rivets for miners back in 1873. They were the only denim company that was allowed to use the rivet on their pants as they received the patent together with the inventor Jacob Davis. In 1890 the patent expired so everyone was allowed to use the rivet to strength their own denim designs.

Two Horse Design

Next to the rivet, Levi’s developed a design element to express themselves and to show people that they were buying an original pair of Levi’s jeans. This design element was also introduced to show people the strength and quality of their jeans. It’s their legendary Two Horse design and is used since 1886.  The Two Horse design shows the image of two horses, each pulling in the opposite direction on the same pair of jeans, trying to tear them apart. Soon after it’s introduction Levi’s became also known by consumers as the Two Horse brand instead of Levi’s.

Another reason and idea behind the design was the fact that not everyone spoke English so well in the American West. Some people couldn’t read English that good, so the design was a smart symbol to consumers to recognize the brand.

Early examples of the Two Horse design by Levi’s. Images taken from Levi’s blog section.

Smart Denim Branding

To spread the Levi’s brand more in the American West they came up with another innovative way to express themselves. And to show their brand name. They began to paint sides of buildings with the company name and advertising slogans all over the West. A very smart way of early denim branding.

Later, during the 1930s they came with billboards to focus on the cowboy ranch lifestyle next to advertising in magazines. When the Second World War finished they started to express themselves and started to promote the brand also outside of America.



Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.