Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Most Iconic Brand Logos of All Time

The Most Iconic Brand Logos of All Time

The visual identity of a logo can make or break a brand in the eyes of a discerning consumer. Throughout a single company's history, various logos serve as indicators of values, loyalty, and togetherness. 

Oftentimes, a logo signifies the presence of a product or movement we know all too while. When you see a McDonald's golden arch, you think of big macs and french fries. When you see the BMW logo, you think of a slick car. When you see the Google logo, you think of searching for answers online. Beyond that, though, seeing a logo triggers how you feel about a company and what they provide.

It wasn't easy, but we picked what we believe are The Most Iconic Brand Logos and have provided histories for each. In some cases, the designer is undisclosed, and in other cases, there are multiple designers and founders. For some, we couldn't include every single logo they've had throughout their existence, but we gave highlights. Nuances aside, the history of your favorite brand's logo is an adventure in a much greater visual history that we are all involuntarily a part of. Enjoy.


  • Year Company Founded: 1898
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1901
  • Logo Designer: Undisclosed
  • Company Founder: Frank Seiberling

In 1900, the Wingfoot symbol for the Goodyear company was chosen after the founder, Frank Seiberling, was inspired by a statue of the Greek god, Hermes. The idea of speed had a lot to do with Goodyear's selection of the symbol, as well as the embodiment of many of the characteristics that Goodwill would be known for. The logo remains the same throughout the years, with the occasional color or font change.


  • Year Company Founded: 1966
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1966
  • Logo Designer: Future Brand (2005)
  • Company Founders: United California Bank, Wells Fargo, Crocker National Bank, Bank of California

Born in 1966 as Master Charge, the first MasterCard logo featured a logotype of "We Honor Master Charge: The Interbank Card" layered over two overlapping circles, one bright orange and the other a burnt orange. In 1979, Master Charge: the Interbank Card was renamed MasterCard, and the change was accompanied by a new logo for the company that featured brighter colors and a bolder logotype. In 1996, the logo was redesigned into the now iconic logo, which features a 3D logotype. The overlaying circles are depicted through stripes of each color rather than a third orange color.


  • Year Company Founded: 1888
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1888
  • Logo Designer: Undisclosed
  • Company Founders: Edouard and Andre Michelin

The logo for the Michelin company has always been the Michelin tire man, who's shape, level of intensity, and size originated from the company's early days. The tire man was inspired by a pile of tires that Édouard Michelin imagined to be a man when they were attending the Lyon Universal Exhibition. In 1989, the Michelin man was created by O'Galop.


  • Year Company Founded: 1911
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1911
  • Logo Designer: Chermayeff & Geismar (1965)
  • Company Founder: Vacuum Oil

Mobil Oil company began in 1911 but has roots in several oil companies that preceded it, such as Aladdin Standard Oil Co. and Gargoyle, a Mobil product line of lubricants for industrial refrigeration systems. In 1911, the pegasus was introduced with the founding of the company and has been modified slightly over time, until 1964, when Mobil simplified the logo to only include the company name with the signature red "O."


  • Year Company Founded: 1902
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1962
  • Logo Designer: Undisclosed
  • Company Founder: George Dayton

The logo for Target has always been a red target, but when the store was just a small retail store in Minneapolis, the design was a bit more pronounced. The iconic red target logo is recognized almost everywhere, but in the earlier days of the brand, it had a bolded black "Target" across the entirely of the circle, to create a distinctive image in customers' minds. The next logo introduced in 1980 consisted of a single ring and inner core, still in red, and the design on stores today is basically the same, with the retail chain's name under it.


  • Year Company Founded: 1930
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1931
  • Logo Designer: Undisclosed
  • Company Founders: Herman Guy Fisher, Irving R. Price, Margaret Evans Price, Helen M. Schelle

Fisher-Price was founded in 1930 following a successful reception to their products at the American International Toy Fair in 1931. The first logo, which had text within an orange box with the company's location, was used until 1955. In 1956, The FP was added (Fisher Price Toys shortened to Fisher Price), and the FP lasted until 1984, when the full name was brought back inside of a red banner.


  • Year Company Founded: 1877
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1889
  • Logo Designer: Saul Bass (1969, 1983), Interbrand (2005)
  • Company Founder: Gardiner Greene Hubbard

AT&T originated as the Bell Telephone Company in 1877, becoming American Telephone & Telegraph in 1885 after a number of mergers. Nonetheless, the telephone service covering the United States was known as the Bell system and was operated by a number of companies collectively known as the Bell Operating Companies. Thus, from 1889 to 1964, the AT&T logo incorporated an illustration of a bell. When the Bell system was broken up in 1983, the AT&T bell logo was replaced with an illustration of a layered globe by Saul Bass. The globe went through another transoformation in 2000 before becoming the current iconic 3D transparent globe with the accompanying lowercase "at&t" in 2005.


  • Year Company Founded: 1959 (Barbie is a subset of Mattel, Inc. which was founded in 1945)
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1959
  • Logo Designer: Undisclosed
  • Company Founder: Ruth Handler

This is the doll that has sold over a billion units and continues to sell three units every second. Such success has brought the Barbie logo recognizability worldwide. The Barbie logo was introduced alongside the doll in March 1959 at the New York Toy Show and gets its name from Ruth Handler's daughter, whose name is Barbara. Barbie was marketed as a "teenage fashion model," filling in the gap of adult-aged dolls for kids. The bright pink Barbie logo has never strayed far from its original design, with only slight alterations to shading and shape in the past 50 years to adjust to trends. In 2009, Barbie returned to its original logo in celebration of its 50 year anniversary, adding a roundel incorporating the profile of Barbie with a ponytail.

Dunkin' Donuts

  • Year Company Founded: 1950
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1950
  • Logo Designer: Lucia N. DeRespinis, Sangren & Murtha (1980), Design Forum (2002)
  • Company Founder: William Rosenberg

The initial Dunkin' Donuts logo was a script version of the company name, which held until 1955, when the doughnut man became a figure with a doughnut for a head holding a slice of pizza and wearing a coffee cup with the company name written on it. A new logo was introduced in 1960, featuring a text donut being dunked into a coffee cup, and one year later the coffee cup was removed and a circlular text logo was implemented. From 1970-1976, Dunkin' combined the older coffee cup text logo and a simple text logo. In 1976, the modern-looking logo was created and has been used ever since, with slight color improvements over the years.


  • Year Company Founded: 1893
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1898
  • Logo Designer: Gould & Associates (1967), Landor Associates (1996), Arnell (2008)
  • Company Founder: Caleb Bradham

Caleb Bradham, the founder of the company, scribbled a design which would become the logo for the company. The design was changed only slightly until 1962 when the word "cola" was dropped, and it just became Pepsi. The logo was a bolded "Pepsi" with a red, white, and blue bottle cap in the background. The logo was modernized 5 times from 1971 to 2005, each time becoming more sleek and defined.


  • Year Company Founded: 1976
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1976
  • Logo Designers: Ronald Wayne (1976), Rob Janoff (1977), Landor Associates (1984), Apple (1998, 1998-2007)
  • Company Founders: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne

The Apple logo began with an intricate design by co-founder, Ronald Wayne, and was inspired by Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity, incorporating the Wordsworth quote, "Newton..a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought...alone," and featuring the words "Apple Computer Co." Instructed by Steve Jobs to replace the complex design with something not "too cute," Rob Janoff created the 1977 logo featuring a rainbow-striped apple illustration and the word "apple." It was supposed to appeal to young people and highlight the computer's unique ability to reproduce colors. The 1977 logo also featured the now iconic "bite" taken out of the apple, which was supposed to distinguish the illustration from a cherry.

In 1984, coinciding with the release of the Apple Macintosh, the company decided to simplify the logo to the lone apple, thinking it iconic enough without the accompanying word. Since 1984, the company has tweaked the design of the Apple logo, modifying colors and shading, though it has never steered away from the now distinctive symbol of the company.


  • Year Company Founded: 1886
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1886
  • Logo Designer: Frank Mason Robinson (1887), Lippincott & Margulies (1968), Desgrippes Gobe & Associates (1998), Turner Duckworth (2009)
  • Company Founder: John Pemberton

The Coca-Cola logo was created by Frank Mason Robinson, John Pemberton's bookkeeper, in the Spencerian script typeface, which was the principal style of formal handwriting at the time. In 1890, the company re-designed the logo to be more complex, featuring swirls and what appear to be cherries hanging from the "Cs" of "Coca-Cola". Of course, the logo did not stick, and we still see Frank Mason Robinson's design on every Coca-Cola product for what has become one of the world's most recognizable brands.


  • Year Company Founded: 1964
  • Year Logo Introduced: 1971
  • Logo Designer: Carolyn Davidson (1971), Nike (1978, 1985, 1995)
  • Company Founders: Bill Bowerman, Philip Knight

First founded as Blue Ribbon Sports, an import company, Nike did not come into existence until 1971, when the company expanded into the production of their own sports footwear. The now iconic Nike "Swoosh" was selected half-heartedly by co-founder Philip Knight who said "I don't love it, but it will grow on me."

Carolyn Davidson, who at the time received only $35 for her work, was inspired by Nike, the namesake Greek goddess of victory, to create the Swoosh which implied movement and speed. Updating the logo in 1978, Nike opted for a bolder, all-caps font and a slight re-positioning of the Swoosh. The Swoosh went on to become one of the most iconic images in the world, so much that in 1995 the company chose to remove the brand name of the original design, leaving the Swoosh as the sole symbol of the company.

1 comment:

  1. Informative blog and it was up to the point describing the information very effectively. Thanks to blog author for wonderful and informative post... Design your Company Logo, Business Logo with logo designers Chennai for better results.