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Little Known Facts About Some of The Most Popular Logos in the World

Every logo has its own history and sometimes little known facts which the consumer doesn’t know. Some logo designs such as the Starbucks logo looks so strange that most viewers are asking what the logo designer was thinking about and how did the company accepted that image. Well, if you look closer and do a little research you’ll find out that many of them are filled with stories or symbols which interpreted right, will tell the user a lot of interesting things.

In this article you can see some the evolution of some popular logos, how did they appear and what is their signification.



In 1936, Toyota entered the passenger car market with its Model AA and held a competition to establish a new logo emphasizing speed for its new product line. After receiving 27,000 entries, one was selected that additionally resulted in a change of its moniker to “Toyota” from the family name “Toyoda.” It was believed that the new name sounded better and its eight-stroke count in the Japanese language was associated with wealth and good fortune. The original logo no longer is found on its vehicles but remains the corporate emblem used in Japan. The current Toyota logo consists of the name “TOYOTA” in roman type with three ovals in red and white color scheme. ‘The two perpendicular center ovals represent a relationship of mutual trust between the customer and Toyota.  These ovals combine to symbolize the letter “T” for Toyota.  The space in the background implies a global expansion of Toyota’s technology and unlimited potential for the future. The logo started appearing on all printed material, advertisements, dealer signage, and the vehicles themselves in 1990.


Designed by Terry Heckler of Heckler Associates, the iconic mermaid that beckons coffee drinkers was based of a classic 15th century Norse woodcut of the mythical siren. The hardy yet feminine look was perfect for the Pacific Northwest local. Evoking the local lumber industry’s history in the area coupled with an inviting face, the logo was a perfect fit. In 2006, Valerie O’Neil, a Starbucks spokeswoman, said that the logo is an image of a “twin-tailed siren”. The logo has been significantly streamlined over the years. In the first version, which was based on a 16th-century “Norse” woodcut, the Starbucks siren was topless and had a fully visible double fish tail. The image also had a rough visual texture and has been likened to a melusine. In the second version, which was used from 1987–92, her breasts were covered by her flowing hair, but her navel was still visible. The fish tail was cropped slightly, and the primary color was changed from brown to green, a nod to Bowker’s Alma Mater, the University of San Francisco. In the third version, used between 1992 and 2011, her navel and breasts are not visible at all, and only vestiges remain of the fish tails. The original “woodcut” logo has been moved to the Starbucks’ Headquarters in Seattle.


Nokia Corporation has been in the telecommunications business since the 1960s and has become a global leader of the industry. The name of the town of Nokia originated from the river which flowed through the town. The river itself, Nokianvirta, was named after the old Finnish word originally meaning sable, later pine marten. “Nokia” in Finnish means means a dark, furry animal we now call the Pine Marten weasel. However, this has little to do with the current business and brand image. The origin of the company name, can rather be attributed to the setting up of the wood pulp mill (set up by Knut Fredrik Idestam), on the banks of Nokianvirta river in the town of Nokia.

Rolls Royce

The Rolls Royce logo consisting of the two Rs  or the double R clearly stands for the Rolls and Royce, the two founders of this car manufacturing company.  There is nothing special about the design of the logo, but the brand name is so strong, the logo looks special. Although not used with the Rolls Royce logo, “The Spirit of Ecstacy” or “The Flying Lady” is also an important element of Rolls Royce. It was designed by Charles Sykes as a statue to embellish Rolls Royce cars. The mascot was commissioned by Claude Johnson to ‘counteract a craze among motorists for fixing golliwogs, toy policemen and other unseemly objects to their cars’.



This Logo was used from 1962-1964. The Wal-Mart name was presented in just about every font style available to the printer. In 1964 the logo changed to a more westren theme. This logo was used from 1964-1981 and was known as the “Frontier Font Logo”. It was the first to be used officially. Walmart is probably one of the few companies, who have tried so many logos, but their current logo is more like the original logo, other than any other intermediate logo. The font differs a little from the original and is indeed more stylish, but the ‘Walmart’ word without a break appears for the first time after 1962. They have kept the star from 1992, but moved it to the end.


The Pepsi Globe is the name of the logo for Pepsi, called as such because of the swirling “red, white, & blue” design in a sphere-like shape. It is considered one of the world’s most recognizable corporate trademarks. Until the 2008 redesign, the Pepsi Globe resembled the Taegeuk symbol widely used in South Korea. The new Pepsi logo consists of a three-dimensional globe against an ice blue background, with the inclusion of the previously designed Pepsi typeface. It has been the official Pepsi logo of PepsiCo, till date. Over the past century, the Pepsi logo has been evolved into remarkable designs with significant modifications. All in all, Pepsi logo is an exemplary piece of creativity and innovation. No doubt, it is one of the most recognized logos, ever.


The first Apple logo was designed in 1976 by Ronald Wayne, sometimes referred to as the third co-founder of Apple. The logo depicts Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, an apple dangling precipitously above his head. The phrase on the outside border reads,”Newton… A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone.” The Newton logo was short-lived, as designer Rob Janoff right away changed the logo into the familiar apple shape with a bite off its right side. This version is adorned with multiple colors, the familiar colors in the rainbow.

Janoff’s motivations for the logo revamp have been a subject of several speculations. Some people think that the shift to the apple design was to make it more appropriate for the company name. Others think of it as a more fitting tribute to Newton and his discovery of the colors and gravity. The rainbow colored apple may have been an advertisement for the color capabilities of the second computer produced by the company, Apple II. There are also people who think that the apple symbolizes Alan Turning – the father of modern computing – who took a bite out of an apple poisoned with cyanide that ultimately took his life.

For the last few years, the Apple logo has appeared in various colors (aqua color scheme was famous among all). But now Apple has discontinued the use of bright colors in the Apple logo, instead opting for white and raw-aluminum color schemes. The polished chrome logo seems to fit ideally. The silvery chrome finish in the new Apple logo is consistent with the design scheme and freshens up the icon.

Mercedes Benz

It is said that the logo is supposed to symbolize Daimler’s ambition of universal motorization – on land, on water and in the air. Over the years, various small additions were made. In 1916, the points were surrounded by a circle, in which four small stars and the word Mercedes were integrated, or alternatively the names of the DMG plants at Untertürkheim or Berlin-Marienfelde.



The 3-Stripes mark is without doubt the quintessential adidas symbol. It was created by the adidas company founder, Adi Dassler, and first used on footwear in 1949.Dassler created a symbol that could be immediately recognized when his footwear was used in athletic competition and associated with adidas. He emphasized the association with the slogan “The Brand with the 3 Stripes”. The 3-Stripes were first used on apparel in 1967. The 3-Stripes now enjoy worldwide recognition as an adidas symbol. In the late 60s adidas expanded into the leisure and apparel sector, and this prompted Käthe and Adi Dassler to seek a new, additional identification mark for the adidas brand. In August 1971, the Trefoil was born, out of more than 100 ideas. Inspired by the 3-Stripes, it is a geometric execution with a triple intersection, symbolizing the diversity of the adidas brand. This symbol was first used on adidas products in 1972, and later became the company’s corporate symbol. Today it plays the important role of representing the adidas Originals collection. In January 1996, the Three-Stripes brandmark became the worldwide adidas corporate logo. This logo represents performance and the future of the adidas brand. This logo is used in all advertising, printed collateral and corporate signage.


The company is named after name the surname of its founder, August Horsh, originally the creator of Horsh and is now a part of the Volkswagen group (which holds more than 99% of the share capital), following Audi’s merger with NSU. Audi AG has a logo of four rings that overlap each other one after the other. Each ring stands for each trademark or brand of the Auto Union. The four brands that the four rings in the logo reflect are Audi AG itself, DKW, Horch and Wanderer respective to the order of the rings. Audi AG’s insignia closely bears a resemblance to the International Olympics’ insignia.


The Nike “Swoosh” is a design created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University. She met Phil Knight while he was teaching accounting classes and she started doing some freelance work for his company, Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). BRS needed a new brand for a new line of athletic footwear it was preparing to introduce in 1972. Knight approached Davidson for design ideas, and she agreed to provide them, charging a rate of $2 per hour. In June 1971, Davidson presented a number of design options to Knight and other BRS executives, and they ultimately selected the mark now known globally as the Swoosh. Davidson submitted a bill for $35 for her work. (In 1983, Knight gave Davidson a gold Swoosh ring and an envelope filled with Nike stock to express his gratitude.). The Nike SWOOSH logo represents the wing in the famous statue of the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike, who was the source of inspiration for many great and courageous warriors. According to legends, a Greek would say, “When we go to battle and win, we say it is Nike.” Originally, the mark was referred to as ‘the strip’ but was later changed to ‘Swoosh’ to describe the fibers used in Nike shoes. In the spring of 1972, the first shoe with the Nike SWOOSH Logo was introduced.


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.