in Design

15 Most Interesting Logos and Their Concepts

Branding means a very good logo – a logo that will market your products as well as stay in people’s memories. These logos won’t just be used on products but as stickers on different items used (banners, clings, bumper stickers, letter pads, brochures, leaflets, catalogues etc) during the subsequent marketing campaigns. Below are some logos which have changed over the years, depicting the evolutionary stages of the companies themselves.

Apple:

1. apple logo

Apple was set up by Ronald Wayne and Steve Jobs in 1976. Wayne designed the original logo in shades of black and white in 1976, with Newton sitting under an Apple Tree (apple was highlighted a bit). Apple Computer Co. was inscribed on the top and bottom, below was a line by the poet ‘William Wordsworth’ … “Newton … a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of though…alone”. With such a complicated design, it was just a matter of time that Steve Jobs changed it. With Wayne’s resignation in 1977, Jobs hired Rob Janoff to replace this logo. The Apple was created (Newton’s apple again) in rainbow colors (since a computer offering color capability was their sales pitch and innovativeness). The green is at the top since a leaf is green whereas the rest of the colors followed the light spectrum. The infamous bite has two reasons: ‘it is about scale and the common experience of biting into an apple’ and it differentiates the apple from a cherry tomato. 1998 was when Jobs re joined apple and the apple iMac was launched – this time the logo was stripped of its colors giving birth to the monochromatic apple.  The current logo is in silver with a streak across the apple. Apple a brand where the logo has amassed as much popularity as the products themselves: iPhone, iPod, iPad, iMac.

General Electronics:

2

Thomas Edison the famed American inventor founded the ‘Edison Electric Light Company’ which merged with Thomas Houston Electric Company to form GE. The logo created in the 1890s as GE in the ‘Art Nouveau’ font famous at the time. By 1900 with printing at an advanced stage a circle was added which shows its timeless quality. The inner waves show the motion and fluidity as well as interconnectivity further depicted by the letters GE joined together. Over the years black and white were used interchangeably in the design. Tagline ‘We bring good things to life’ was developed and used under the logo. By 2004, Michael Abbink of Wolff Olins changed the basic color from black to blue and also came up with the current tagline ‘Imagination at work’. Blue represent the excellence, perfection and trustworthiness of GE and its products.

HP:

3

The letters h and p in italic have been the logo of HP or Hewlett Packard Company the brainchild of two Stanford University graduates. In 1954 with the start of the company, the logo was a simple hp in a circle with the lines of h and p protruding from it – these depicted expansion and innovation.By the 1970s, they changed the logo to Hewlett Packard, with the hp in a circle with a rectangular enclosure.In 1981, Hewlett Packard was dropped and only the circle and the rectangle with the hp remained. Colors changed from a glaring black to blue. In 2008, they ditched the rectangle to just a circle. The circle represents the continuity, the blue color excellence, strength and class of the brand and its products, the white color shows grace and charm associated with it.

Master Card:

4

Interbank was established in 1966, by 17 bankers for the reciprocal acceptance of their credit cards. Interbank was denoted by ‘i’. By 1969 the card came in use and the company merged with Euro card in a strategic alliance. As a result Master Charge the ultimate card was introduced. 2 intersecting circles formed a Venn diagram and the colors red and yellow were adopted for the two circles. By 1979 the name was changed to the currently used ‘Master Card’. In 1990 23 horizontal lines were introduced in the logo with the launch of The MasterCard ATM. This was followed by the appointment of Alex W. Hart as the new president and CEO in 1989. By 1996, number of lines was reduced and font was changed with a drop shadow added. Blue is now used as a background color when printed on decals etc. 2006 saw the brand name changed to “Master Card Worldwide” and introduction of the corporate tag line “The Heart of Commerce”.

Shell:

5

Shell has the “sea shell” as its logo which they call the “Pecten” (or sea scallop)

http://www.shell.com/global/aboutshell/who-we-are/our-history/history-of-pecten.html

Started in Britain, the original company sold antiques, curios and sea shells. Sea shells became extremely famous among the Victorians as a way to design their boxes. In 1900 this was a simple mussel shell lying horizontally (as if on a beach). From 1904 logo was changed to the Scallop shell or Pecten. Till 1930 the logo colors remained black and white. The positioning and shades changed with advances in printing. By 1948, Shell had built its first service station in California. With other competitors in town, they wanted their logo to attract the Californians. Red and yellow colors were added (from the Spanish flag) since a majority of Californians traced their origins to the Spaniards. Raymond Loewy designed the 1971 logo making it simpler. This helped making copying and printing easier. He introduced the maroon tinge with yellow. 1995 saw the logo back in its vibrant red and yellow colors showing the consumer friendly product that it has become. 1999 onwards knowing that Shell had become a household name they dropped the word “SHELL” and stayed with the simple logo.

Nike:

6

Carolyn Davidson while still a student at Portland State designed the Nike logo, known as the ‘Swoosh’.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2004273/Woman-designed-Nike-swoosh-explains-story-inception-40-years-ago.html

Nike was the Greek Goddess of victory and the check sign is the ‘swoosh’ as we know it. “Just Do It” was the slogan coined by her.  About the Swoosh, Phil Knight one of the owners and the professor who hired Ms. Davidson said: “Well, I don’t love it, but maybe it will grow on me”. It took them seven years to separate the words from the check mark. By 1985 with the expansion and product diversity, the red color and another square was added. Nike became such a famed brand that the company dropped the name and retained the Swoosh. This single check mark now adorned all Nike products in different colors and is associated with them.

Alfa Romeo:

7

According to BBC Top Gear news post of June 13, 2013, (about the) latest 4C Alfa Romeo car:

“The upshot is a car that is philosophically smart, uses state-of-the-art tech that brings it all together in a way that is still satisfyingly old-school. Nevertheless, Alfa – no stranger to rescuing defeat from the jaws of victory – is not going to mess this one up.”The first logo 1870-1910 reads Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, its prefix ALFA and MILANO (for Milan). By 1910 Alfa Romeo an Italian car company started manufacturing cars and became a part of the racing circuit. Their logo changed to a colorful one with one side showing a coat of arms and the other a snake. Both have a religious context since the coat showed a red cross on a white background reminiscent of the crusades. The snake with a dragon head/the serpent and the man most probably represent the one St. George killed. Byb 1915, a blue ring was added – Alfa Romeo was printed for the first time separated by two ‘Savoy dynasty knots’ to show the Italian heritage. By 1925 after a win at the inaugural Automobile World Championship, a wreath was added around the logo. Wreaths being the Greek symbol – presented to winners in ancient Greece.  With the end of the monarch, the Savoy knots were changed to two curvy lines. By 1972, another factory was opened in Naples after which ‘Milano’ was dropped.

Aston Martin:

8

James Bond near the end of Skyfall uses the signature 1960 Aston Martin DB 5 in the epic scene.

Aston Martin has most probably the highest frequency of logo change as compared to any other brand. This makes sense once its history is looked at. Between 1914 and 1986 the company has had multiple owners who of course changed the logo according to their own visions. 1926 onwards the wings as we see nowadays were adopted and underwent minor changes. Ford bought 75% of the company in 1983 and finally all the shares by 1993 and owns it to date.

Volkswagen:

9

If you think the first Volkswagen resembles Nazi symbols, you may hold one of the different theories surrounding this sign. Volkswagens started when Adolf Hitler came up with the idea of a car affordable for the working man (via government saving schemes). This logo was thankfully changed and only the wheel as the outer circle was left. After World War II, the British thankfully changed the logo. Letters were in white enclosed by two outer circles. They renamed the car to the “Beetle”. Soon however the company reverted to Germany and the logo color was changed to blue instead of white and addition of a third dimension. Simply the logo became a lot more elegant and is in use to date.

FedEx:

10

Federal Express Corporation was created in 1971 in Little Rock Arkansas.

http://about.van.fedex.com/article/fedex-timeline

By 1973 it relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. The first logo was also created in ’71. It was Federal Express written at an angle with Federal in white and a blue background, Express in red with a white background. The logo has the colors of the American flag (patriotism) and the name Federal was chosen to show association with the US Government. The current Federal Express logo was created in 1994. By this time the company had branches worldwide and had repute for excellence. The name was shortened to FedEx and colors changed (as seen above in the second diagram). This logo is famous for the excellent use of negative space. When you see the space between E and x you see an arrow. It has won numerous design awards and was ranked in the top 8 logos of the last 35 years in the 35th anniversary issue of Rolling Stones magazine.

Unilever:

11

Unilever is the brand name associated with Ben & Jerry Ice cream, Surf, Sun, Ponds, Dove, Axe etc. Created in 1930 with the merger of different companies, Unilever’s first logo was a blue ‘U’ which represented the twin towers.  Unilever changed their logo in 2005. By this time Unilever products were a household name and used worldwide. At the 75th anniversary of the corporation, it was launched. Again the letter ‘U’ for Unilever but composed of 24 different icons to represent their diverse products.

http://www.unilever.com/aboutus/introductiontounilever/ourlogo/

Sun: Sun evokes Unilever’s origins in Port Sunlight and can represent a number of brands. Flora, Slim Fast and all use radiance to communicate their benefits.

Hand: A symbol of sensitivity, care and need. It represents both skin and touch.

Flower: Represents fragrance. When seen with the hand, it represents moisturizers or cream.

Bee: Represents creation, pollination, hard work and bio-diversity. Bees symbolize both environmental challenges and opportunities.

DNA: The double helix, the genetic blueprint of life and a symbol of bio-science. It is the key to a healthy life.

Hair: A symbol of beauty and looking good. Placed next to the flower it evokes cleanliness and fragrance; placed near the hand it suggests softness.

Palm Tree: A nurtured resource. It produces palm oil as well as many fruits – coconuts and dates – and also symbolizes paradise.

Sauces And Spreads: Represents mixing or stirring. It suggests blending in flavors and adding taste.

Bowl: A bowl of delicious-smelling food. It can also represent a ready meal, hot drink or soup.

Spoon: A symbol of nutrition, tasting and cooking.

Spice & Flavors: Represents chili or fresh ingredients.

Fish: Represents food, sea or fresh water.

Sparkle: Clean, healthy and sparkling with energy.

Bird: A symbol of freedom. It suggests a relief from daily chores, and getting more out of life.

Tea: A plant or an extract of a plant, such as tea. Also a symbol of growing and farming.

Lips: Represent beauty, looking good and taste.

Ice Cream: A treat, pleasure and enjoyment.

Recycle: Part of our commitment to sustainability.

Particles: A reference to science bubbles and fizz.

Frozen: The plant is a symbol of freshness, the snowflake represents freezing. A transformational symbol.

Container: Symbolizes packaging – a pot of cream associated with personal care.

Heart: A symbol of love, care and health.

Clothes: Represent fresh laundry and looking good.

Waves: Symbolizes cleanliness, freshness and vigor.

Liquid: A reference to clean water and purity.

Coca Cola:

12

Coca Cola logo was created in 1885 by Frank Mason Robinson. It was a simple logo in grey with black lettering in the Spenserian script famous at the time. From 1890-1891 the logo was changed to a swirly script (looks like bells hanging from the two Cs). If you search the web for newspapers in 1890 then this font shows up. The logo was again changed in 1900 when labels started being used. The swirly font was removed to one with lesser curves but in a joining handwriting. The end of the first C extended to almost below the second C, and the Upper curve of the second C merged into the loop of the L. This font was in bold but was later changed to normal in 1940. By 1950 the font remained the same but the colors changed from black to red and white. White font was encased in a red aciform or fishtail. 1969 – The aciform was changed to the ‘Arden Square’ and the ‘white wave’ or the ‘Dynamic Ribbon Device’ was introduced in the logo. 2003 – More waves, bubbles and the color were introduced in the logo. The logo was changed back to the font and the wave with the basic Coca Cola re marketed as Coca Cola Classic. Celebrating 125 years of excellence, the current logo is simple with bubbles bursting out of the bottle showing the past, present and future.

Dell:

13

1984 was when the first Dell Logo was designed by the firm Siegel and Gale. It was simply DELL in capital letters with a slanted E. The most recognized myth behind this is that it represented their vision, ‘turn the world on its ear’. Current Dell logo was redesigned in 2010. Font was changed to ‘Museo typeface’, E was kept slanted, and the alignment of the ‘L’s was pushed to the left.  A blue ring depicting the globe was added as an outer circle with the introduction of the new logo ‘The power to do more’.

Starbucks:

14

Think about the 1960s and early 1970 and you find out that it was an era of free thinking. A Starbucks coffee cup logo of 1971 may look too risqué to us but think about that decade and it would make perfect sense. The Siren (a mythical creature) which lured sailors with its voice and beauty was selected to show how the coffee would attract its customers. 1987 was when the mindset began to change and the logo was changed to cover the siren and the color green was selected. 1992 again the siren was covered even further since the brand had come to be recognized and was a popular name among coffee lovers. In 2011 Starbucks had become a household name, and the name was thus dropped and only green (ocean) was kept.

Warner Bros:

15

Warner Brothers – You know the name `because you are one of those people who watched ‘The Man of Steel’. If you aren’t into superheroes then you might have seen ‘the Great Gatsby’ or ‘the Hobbit’ or ‘the Hangover’.  Warner Brothers the fist logo created in 1923 shows their logo (which is an old battle shield) containing an image of the studios in it from afar and another view around the shield. Logo was changed in 1929 with the shield decreasing in size and a view of the city as a background. This changed again for a year (‘36-’37) decreasing the imagery behind and just the WB in the shield in the sky. Till ’67 the logo just changed colors (grey, black and white). The WB became a W in 1967, reverted to WB ’70-72, again to W in 72. It came back to WB in shield and in the sky with the introduction ‘A Time Warner Company’. Colors in the current logo are darker in the background but brighter in the shield (’98 to date).

Author Bio:

Christie Johann is a typical loud Texan and writer at Stickerdeals.net. She says what she wants and whenever she can. An expert in creating marketing slogans she has worked for a couple of advertising companies helping in launching new products right off the rack. Her expert insights and advice including excerpts from her personal life make her articles worth a read.

Bogdan

Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.

Leave a Reply