A great logo is ubiquitous with a great brand. Some logos are iconic, like Apple's or Nike's swoosh. Some logos are forgettable or even down-right confusing. In general, modern day logos should be simple yet portray exactly what you stand for. A brand manager once told me that a great logo should be identifiable from a distance on a tail of an airplane. A great logo hits people on a subconscious level and makes it all the more memorable.
Your logo should make a statement about your company. It should be ingrained in the consumers brain when think of your industry. Therefore, the next time a consumer needs your kind of product or service, you’ll be the first to come to mind just because of brand recognition.
A great logo should have 4 characteristic:
Distinctive: Consumers need to be able to recognize a logo. Therefore, a great logo must be distinct, easy to read and understand. The logo should be unique enough to avoid confusion with other companies’ logos. The logo needs to represent the company it stands for so that consumers may associate it with the business each time they see it.
Useable: Since, a logo is used across many different mediums, from letterhead and business cards to websites and sales materials to pens and clothing. A good logo must be flexible enough to work in any situation/medium required. In order to meet these demands, a logo should work well in black and white and in color. From a size standpoint, a logo should be simple enough to look good on a business card, yet intriguing enough to work on a large poster or even billboard.
Timeless: To be effective, a logo should stay with the business as it grows. The belief that a new or redesigned logo will somehow transform a business, isn’t uncommon. But a business shouldn't go around changing their logo on a whim. This can weaken the company brand after all of the work a company has put into it. A well-designed logo will persevere for years to come.
Memorable: Your logo should make a statement about your company. It should be ingrained in the consumers brain when think of your industry. Therefore, the next time a consumer needs your kind of product or service, you’ll be the fist to come to mind just because of brand recognition.
In this post, I've put together a list of how corporate logos have evolved and have tried to tell you a story why these logos have changed. What are some of your favorite logos? Personally, I love Nike's swoosh!
Nike's is a company that revolves entirely around its brand. This iconic logo really hasn't changed much since it was first introduced. The Nike logo was designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1975. The price only included the logo design, which later has been refined but the original concept just like in the case of Google and Coca-Cola has been kept intact. Later Nike gave 500 shares of stock to the designer, which is now worth over $600,000. What's great is that the swoosh is so simple that it can easily be applied to any of Nike's products without it looking out of place. This is the epitome of great logo design!
Apple...Wow, what a difference from the original logo which was designed by Steve Jobs himself. The logo as a complicated picture of Isaac Newton sitting under a tree and had the inscription, "Newton...A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought...Alone". Talk about a complicated logo and slogan. Luckily in 1976, Jobs hired Rob Janoff to simplify the logo and he introduced the rainbow apple which was in use until 1998. The bite out of the apple is and accidental ingenious design. Originally, the logo was going to be a whole apple without the bite, but Janoff thought that it looked too much like a cherry tomato, so he added the bite to make it unmistakably an apple. Sometimes, great design is accidental.
IBM, one of the most iconic and oldest tech company in the world. Originally known was International Time Recording Company, they produced mechanical recorders in Auburn New York. Separately in 1891, the patents for the newly invented computing scale was purchased and a company known as The Computing Scale Company was born. In 1911 the two companies merged to form The Computing Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR)....talk about a mouthfull! In 1924, the company renamed itself the International Business Machines Corporation. The circular logo was meant to represent a globe. In 1947, as the company had a rough transition from the punched-card tabulating business to computers, they rebranded their image and simplified their logo. In 1956, shortly after Thomas J. Watson Sr, died and his son took over as CEO, Watson Jr. quickly changed the logo to signify a new era. The change was subtle however to show that any change would come within an overall continuity and was meant to give a more solid, grounded and balanced appearance. The final change came in 1972, which introduced the horizontal stripes to suggest "speed and dynamism".
Starbucks is definitely one of the most global and well-known logos. Who is the siren on the logo though? Starbucks originated in Seattle which was a vibrant seaport with rich seafaring history. To find a logo, the company pored over old marine books and found a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, aka Siren. The seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme that was exactly what the founders were looking for. A logo was designed around her, and our long relationship with the Siren began. Soon, Starbucks and another coffee company, IL Giornale, merged. The green circle around the siren and the stars were concepts from the Giornale's logo and the siren was made less provocative and showed less of the exposed breasts. From there, the logo kept getting simplified and the newest logo shaved off the excess detail to 'give Starbucks the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee'. The original Starbucks in Seattle still uses the first logo however, which is really cool.
Nintendo has had so many logo through the years it's hard to keep track. In 1889 when the company first started as a Japanese card company, they used kanji characters as their logo. This logo was used until the 1960, when they introduced a cursive font and reintroduced their logo in English. By the last 1960, they decided to simplify their logo and started experimenting with numerous logos, even having multiple logos running at the same time. By the mid 1970's they started using the iconic typography but were still experimenting. Finally in the 80's they started to use the modern Logo with the racetrack circle. It has stayed the same ever since, except for some minor color changes from the iconic red font to the more modern and sleek silver font.
I always wondered where the work Canon came from and what it meant. It was unusual as the Japanese company wasn't named after anyone. Turns out the original name for Canon was Kwanon, which is the name of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and the logo is a deception of her. In the 1950's the company simplified and renamed their company and the logo really hasn't changed much since then.
The production of Pepsi Cola kicked off on 16th June 1903. The logo that was designed back then remains more or less the same with minor innovations. Caleb Bradham, the man who founded the company, basically scribbled a design which later went on to gather fame. Sensing the success of his ground breaking drink, he came up with a logo and that centered on curves. The first visible changes were made in 1940 and 1950, when red and blue colors replaced the original red logo along with a slight alteration to the shape. Another change to the logo was made in 1962 when the word “Cola” was dropped from the logo, making it just “Pepsi”. From then on, the logo really hasn't changed much but in general has become more simplified. The newest Pepsi logo was designed by the Arnell Group in 2008 and cost $1,000,000.
When John S. Pemberton created the formula for his new drink in 1886, his partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name Coca‑Cola, thinking that ‘the two Cs would look well in advertising’. He wanted to create a unique logo to go with it, and experimented writing the company’s name in elaborate Spencerian script, a form of penmanship characteristic of the time. The logo hasn't changed much, except in 1969 the famous white swirl was added to underline the name. This was used to show a bold, dramatic curve, reflecting the unique contour of the bottle.
Before it was a brand, BP was a product range. In 1917 British cans of motor fuel that had previously been sold under the enigmatic label ‘Palm Tree Oil’ were marketed as ‘BP’, short for British Petroleum. The company itself wouldn't be called BP for another 40 years, but BP gasoline quickly captured motorists’ imaginations, both in Britain and across continental Europe. The letters appeared in advertisements, on the pumps and on the sides of delivery trucks. AR Saunders from the purchasing department won an employee competition in 1920 to design the first BP mark, a boxy ‘B’ and ‘P’ with wings on their edges, set into the outline of a shield. For a while the colors inside the shield could be almost anything: red, blue, black, green, yellow, white. But by the time executives sent a letter to subsidiaries in the 1930s asking them all to use a consistent house sign, green and yellow were the norm. The modern logo was redesigned in 2008 and cost a whopping $211,000,000.
Accenture is a word that connotes putting an accent or emphasis on the future. In naming the new company, 'Accenture' was selected after an intensive three-month research and analysis process involving thousands of candidate names. A short-list group of about 50 names, all of which met the positioning and personality criteria for the firm, was evaluated globally for trademark and URL availability, possible cultural sensitivities and local market pronunciation. In choosing the name, every effort was made to tap into the creativity of the people who know the firm best — its 65,000 professionals. The new Accenture logo was designed by Landor Associates in 2000 and cost $100,000,000. The "a" is not capitalized to convey a feeling that the company is accessible and friendly.
The Audi badge the 'Four Rings' is the emblem of one of the oldest car manufacturers in Germany. It symbolizes the 1932 merger of the four independent motor-vehicle manufacturers: Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer. Together with the NSU brand, which joined in 1969, these companies are the roots of the present-day AUDI AG. After the war the Audi name - which is Latin for "Hear!" - disappeared, but was revived in 1965, using the four rings as a logo. Also, the name is sort of a pun on 'hoerch', German for 'hear', name of one of the founders. The company itself is more than a century old.
What do you think of when you hear Yamaha? Bikes?
Actually, the founder of the company was Torakusu Yamaha, who was known for producing great pianos. The first logo of the Japanese manufacturer was created in 1967. Yamaha’s logo, like the company, has a fascinating background. The logo comprises of a tuning fork which is a creation of the 1960s. The tuning fork symbolizes their strong presence in the musical instrument market. The unique logo symbolizes the character behind the mechanism and manufacturing of drums, electronics, motorcycles and pianos. Despite the fact that it was drawn more than fifty years ago, I personally believe that the Yamaha logo is a timeless design masterpiece which shows both classiness yet approachability.
In 1865, Knut Fredrik Idestam established a wood-pulp mill in Tampere, south-western Finland. It took on the name Nokia after moving the mill to the banks of the Nokianvirta river in the town of Nokia. The word "Nokia" in Finnish, by the way, means a dark, furry animal we now call the Pine Marten weasel. The modern company we know as the Nokia Corporation was actually a merger between Finnish Rubber Works (which also used a Nokia brand), the Nokia Wood Mill, and the Finnish Cable Works in 1967. Before focusing on telecommunications and cell phones, Nokia produced paper products, bicycle and car tires, shoes, television, electricity generators, and so on.
The flaming phoenix was the original icon for the Mozilla Phoenix browser, a replacement browser for the bloated Mozilla Suite. The naming was related to the rebirth of the Mozilla browser, hence the name Phoenix. The name Phoenix was changed to Firebird following issues with trademarks in 2003. Firebird’s icon was the same as Phoenix’s, as no change was needed. Firebird was caught in a lawsuit because of copyright issues relating to the name, so it was changed to Firefox in 2004. The modern Firefox icon was inspired by a bible story picture book. In the story about Samson, Samson had revenge against the Philistines who remarried his wife, by tying pairs of foxes together with flaming ropes and letting them go in the cornfields of the Philistines. The cornfields were burnt, and Samson was avenged. The logo was influenced by a painting of the scene found in the storybook.
When you are as big of a player in the global market as McDonald's, a powerful visual identity that gets you out of the crowd and positions you as a leader is of crucial importance. McDonald's logo was designed in 1962 by Jim Schindler and has become a star of multinational expansion. The symbol consists of two golden arches designed to resemble the arched shaped symbols that used to be on the side of the restaurant. The two arches joined together formed the golden colored letter "M" that reflects the name of the fast food chain. The McDonald's name was added to the joined arches symbol later in 1968. The McDonald's logo corporate colors are golden and red and they vividly express boldness and power. The golden arches proudly stand for elegance, significance and solid corporate character.
The first American Airlines emblem was born in 1967 designed by an Italian, Massimo Vignelli who come to US in 1957. He founded Vignelli Associates in 1967. He is a n Italian who studied architecture in Milan and Venice. It is quite surprising that this timeless logo was design by an architect. The redesign of the AA monogram in the 1960’s didn’t include the eagle. After the employees protested, the designer reluctantly added the stylized eagle that we know today as part of the AA monogram.
Designed by Art Paul, the magazine's first art director, the rabbit head has appeared on the cover of every issue of the magazine since the second. Hugh Fefner, the creator of the 'playboy' magazine, once explained, "I selected a rabbit as the symbol for the magazine because of the humorous sexual connotation, and because he offered an image that was frisky and playful. I put him in a tuxedo to add the idea of sophistication. Art Paul added, "if I had any idea how important that little rabbit was going to be, I probably would have redrawn him a dozen times to make certain I was doing him justice, and I suppose none of those versions would have turned out as well as the original. As it was, I did one drawing and that was it. I probably spent all of half an hour on it." Later on it was redesigned to the now iconic logo, and personally I believe this is one of the greatest log of all time in terms of simplicity, uniqueness, and design.
Alexis Ohanian made the how famous reddit logo back in April 2005, using PaintshopPro5.
Ohanian says he had also considered calling “reditt” and registered both reddit.com and reditt.com at the same time. Ohanian also took special care to make sure that the antenna pointed toward the brandname. “It was just a matter of time until I realized the alien should be on the left so it’s the first thing someone would see on the page,” he says.