Long back while i was looking about the logo evolution of worlds well know brands online from various sources, i was quite impressed the way how those logos transformed by the time.
Based on Bored Panda’s report, We have a long history of logo designing, Ancient Greece rulers and their dynasties used to use cipher as a monogram in their coins. However, the modern logo designing dates back to the early days of the Renaissance, around the 13th Century. Goldsmiths, masons, paper makers, and potters, were among the first trades people to use marks-pressings into gold, chiseled symbols, watermarks on paper, and simple thumb-prints on pottery.
So, I wanted to share those logo evolutions along with you also. I bet it will really going to entertain you.
If you are a designer closely look at the evolution of the well know logo designs, you will learn a lot from their mistake and a long path of improvements until they’ve reached the final design.
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01. Apple Logo Evolution
The original logo was designed by Ron Wayne, who started Apple with Jobs and Woz in 1976. In 1977 White sold his portion of Apple back to Jobs and Woz when they incorporated. The image is a pen and ink illustration of Sir Issac Newton leaning against an apple tree with a portion of a William Wordsworth poem running around the border: “Newton…A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought…alone” (Prelude, Book III, Residence at Cambridge)
Steve Jobs decided to scrap this image because he felt that Wayne’s logo was too cerebral and not easily reproduced at small sizes. In 1977, with Wayne gone from the company, Jobs turned to the Regis McKenna Advertising Agency to produce a new, more iconic logo. After several attempts and variations (and a ton of money spent), the result was the most iconic of all Apple logos. The Rainbow Apple logo.
When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was bleeding money, and Jobs and Co. realized that the Apple logo could be leveraged to their advantage. Placing a large rainbow Apple logo on top of the original Bondi Blue iMac, for example, would have looked silly, childish, and out of place. Not exactly the direction Jobs wanted to lead Apple in.Â So instead of placing a somewhat minuscule rainbow colored Apple logo on its products, Apple began placing sizeable and Monochrome styled logos on its products. (Read more: here and here)
02. IBM Logo Evolution
The company which became IBM was founded in 1896 as the Tabulating Machine Company by Herman Hollerith, in Broome County, New York (Endicott, New York, where it still maintains very limited operations). It was incorporated as Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) on June 16, 1911, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916.
IBM adopted its current name in 1924, when it became an international manufacturing company. The logo that was used from 1924 to 1946. The logo is in a form intended to suggest a globe, girdled by the word “International”.
The logo that was used from 1947 to 1956. The familiar “globe” was replaced with the simple letters “IBM” in a typeface called “Beton Bold.”
The logo that was used from 1956 to 1972. The letters “IBM” took on a more solid, grounded and balanced appearance.
In 1972, the horizontal stripes now replaced the solid letters to suggest “speed and dynamism.” This logo (in two versions, 8-bar and 13-bar), as well as the previous one, was designed by graphic designer Paul Rand. (Read more: here)
03. Playboy Logo Evolution
Art Paul was working as a freelance designer when he in 1953 was contacted by playboy founder Hugh Hefner who needed a logo for his new magazine. He created the now famous rabbit wearing a tuxedo bow tie. Paul went on to design the whole first edition of the magazine and was hired by Hefner as Playboy’s first art director in 1954, a position he held for 30 years.
Playboy magazine claims it once received a letter at its Chicago, Illinois offices with its distinctive “bunny” logo as the only identifying mark, appearing where the mailing address normally appears.
04. FedEx Logo Evolution
An interesting case is the refinement of the FedEx logo, where the brand consultants convinced the company to shorten their corporate name and logo from “Federal Express” to the popular abbreviation “Fed Ex”. Besides creating a shorter brand name, they reduced the amount of color used on vehicles (planes, trucks) and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in paint costs. Also, the right-pointing arrow in the new logo is a subliminal hint of motion.
05. Nokia Logo Evolution
In 1865, Engineer Fredrik Idestam established a wood pulp mill on the banks of the TammerKoski rapids in the town of Tampere, in southern Finland. Later in 1868, he built second mill by the Nokianvirta River, which gave the Nokia its name. In 1871, Idestam and his friend Leo Mechelin, renamed and transformed the firm into a share company, thereby founding the Nokia Company.
The first logo of Nokia was created in 1966 showing the image of a fish. This image should be inspired by the salmon fish of Nokianvirta River.
In 1898, Eduard Polon founded the Finnish Rubber Works, which later became Nokia’s rubber business. The new company tried producing many products like papers, bicycle, car tires, footwear, communication cables, electricity generation machineries, televisions, aluminum, capacitors, and lot more.
In 1967, three companies, which were jointly owned since 1922 by Nokia, officially merged and created Nokia Corporation. After the merger, Nokia Corporation adopted the logo which was all black rounded shape emblem, in which “Nokia” was written in white.
At the start of its telecommunication equipment manufacturing, Nokia adopted the logo which was quite similar to the current one, but with the light blue color and the arrow like shape pointing upward. Arrow in the logo represents the Nokia’s progress and advancement in telecommunication industry. (Read more: here)
06. Starbucks Logo Evolution
IL Giornarle was the espresso cafe Howard Schultz opened up in 1986 after failing to convince the original owners of Starbucks to focus on serving espresso beverages. By 1987, the two remaining original owners of Starbucks decided to sell the business and Howard jumped at the chance to buy Starbucks and remake it into the espresso bar concept he had just begun at II Giornale.
“To symbolize the melding of the two companies [IL Giornarle and Starbucks] and two cultures, Terry [Heckler] came up with a design that merged the two logos. We kept the Starbucks siren with her starred crown, but made her more contemporary. We dropped the tradition-bound brown, and changed the logo’s color to IL Giornarle’s more affirming green.” (Read more: here)
07. Canon Logo Evolution
The origin of today’s world famous brand Canon can be traced in Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory that was established back in 1933. The first set of cameras was manufactured as a part of business trial and these early birds were named Kwanon after the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Now this Goddess was the possessor of thousand arms and spat flames.
From the very beginning, the company worked with an ambition of reaching out to the outer world and as such the company wanted to adopt a name that will be acceptable globally. With this intention, the company name was changed from Kwanon to Canon and it was registered as the logo trademark name of the company in the year 1935. (Read more: here)
08. Shell Logo Evolution
Both the word “Shell” and the Pecten symbol may have been suggested to Marcus Samuel and Company (original founders) by another interested party. A certain Mr Graham (of apparent Scottish origins) imported Samuel’s kerosene into India and sold it as “Graham’s Oil”. He became a director of The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company, and there is some evidence that the Shell emblem was taken from his family coat of arms.
It was around 1915 when the rendering allowed for easier reproduction, shown in the 1930s symbol above.
Colour first appeared with the construction of Shell’s first service stations in California. Not only did Red and yellow help Shell stand out, but they’re also the colors of Spain, where many early Californian settlers were born. Perhaps by displaying Spanish colors it was hoped an emotional bond would be created.
From the 1950s onwards, the icon became more and more simplified, improving recognition and memorability. The 1971 logo, which is still used today, was designed by the French-born Raymond Loewy, who also created logos for BP and Exxon. (Read more: here)
09. Pepsi Logo Evolution
Manufactured and marketed by PepsiCo, it was first developed and produced in the early 1890’s by Caleb Bradham, a
pharmacist in New Bern, North Carolina labeled as “Brad’s drink”. In 1898, Bradham renamed his drink into “Pepsi-Cola”.
In 1898, Bradham used a scribbled logo script as the first Pepsi logo to brand the product. When his business got established and people started enjoying his drink, Bradham decided to modify the Pepsi logo into a more customized version of the previous logo script. Thus, in 1905, a modified script logo was introduced, followed by a second change in Pepsi logo in 1906 with the inclusion of the slogan, “The Original Pure Food Drink”, in it.
By 1943, the Pepsi logo adopted a “bottle cap” look that included the slogan, “Bigger Drink, Better Taste”. Later, in 1962, the Pepsi logo was replaced with two bulls-eye marks encircling “Pepsi”, and then again in 1973, into a boxed Pepsi logo with minor typeface changes.
In 1991, Pepsi commemorated the evolution of its scripted Pepsi logo by featuring a logo design with an italic capital typeface. Later at the company’s 100 years celebration in 1998, Pepsi-Cola unveiled a new logo that symbolized the brand’s innovation and global recognition. (Read more: here and this pdf)
10. Coca-Cola Logo Evolution
Coca-Cola was first served in 1886 and even then, the first official logo of Coca-Cola was not the script logo. It first appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 1886 as both a slab serif and chunky sans serif – it wasn’t until mid-1887 that Frank Robinson, Coca-Cola’s bookkeeper, drew the first traces of the Spencerian script logo that we all know.
For the first ten to twenty years you could probably find a dozen different executions of the Coca-Cola script as the logo was probably drawn over and over for different applications. It isn’t until the 1930s and 1940s that a clear interpretation of the logo appears and is used consistently. During the late 1950s and early 1960s the script logo is placed within a shape, referred to as the “fishtail” logo, which is as off-brand as anything that Coca-Cola has ever done.
In 1960′s the wave was introduced, a ubiquitous visual today, when Lippincott Mercer was in charge of making the Coca-Cola identity more consistent.
“New Coke” introduced in 1985 had a new formula marketing and its own set of logos – that completely ignored the script logo – that left a bad taste in their consumers’ mouths. Around the same time, in 1986, Landor began rolling out an even more developed brand identity that modified the wave among other subtle changes.
Today’s Coca-Cola logo is amazingly similar to what it was 124 years ago. (Read more: here)
11. Nike Logo Evolution
The Swoosh logo was designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971 – “ a graphic design student that Phill Knight met while teaching an accounting class at Portland State University to supplement his then-fledgling business. He paid a grand total of $35! Phill never liked the logo but stuck onto it quoting “I don’t love it, but it’ll grow on me”. 12 years later in 1983, Davidson got an invitation to lunch by Nike where Knight surprised her with a gold Swoosh ring embedded with diamond and an envelope containing Nike stock.
12. Xerox Logo Evolution
The Xerox Company used to be known as the Haloid Company almost 100 years ago. But in 1938, Chester Carlson invented a technique called xerography which we today call the photocopy technique. Unfortunately no one was willing to invest in his invention, and many big giants like IBM, GE, RCA and others decided not to finance this invention.
But Haloid Company decided to go with Chester and made the first photocopying machine named Haloid Xerox 14. As can be seen in their logos, the original Haloid word which was prominent in the company’s logo before 1961 was completely replaced by Xerox due to the immense success of this idea.
They retained almost the same logo from 1961 to 2004. But in 2004 there was a problem with the Xerox books and it tried to reinvent itself with a new logo. People associate the company only with photocopy machines, and that has been a major problem for Xerox.
The company changed its logo in 2008 to get away from this stereotyped image, by changing the font of the word. They also added a ball which has a stylish X instead of their ‘boring’ X in earlier times According to Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox’s chief, that little piece of art represents the connection to customers, partners, industry and innovation.
13. Google Logo Evolution
The clarity of thought is visible in the company’s logo right from the very beginning, when in 1996 two Stanford University computer science graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin built the search engine.
The name of the search engine is derived from Googol (meaning one followed by 100 zeros). Google’s first logo was created by Sergey Brin, after he taught himself to use the free graphic software GIMP. Later, an exclamation mark mimicking the Yahoo! logo was added. In 1999, Stanford’s Consultant Art Professor Ruth Kedar designed the Google logo that the company uses today.
14. Microsoft Logo Evolution
The Microsoft story began in 1975, when Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen coded the first computer language for a PC and named it BASIC. Soon they named their partnership as Micro-Soft which explains the first logo of the company.
They changed the logo in that year itself and dropped the hyphen too. For the next 12 years, the logo had a distinctive O. The employees called this as “Blibbet”. It is said that at that time, the Microsoft cafeteria even had a double cheeseburger named “”Blibbet Burger”.
When a new logo came on in 1987, there was a campaign within the company to “Save the Blibbet”. But, this couldn’t stop the company from adopting a new logo. The logo designed by Scott Baker, came to be known as “the Pacman logo” due to the distinctive cut in the O.
In 1994, they integrated their tagline ‘Where do you want to go today?’ within the logo. This was widely mocked and the company kept trying different taglines like People Ready, Start Something, Making it Easier etc.
The new 2008 logo has all the text in Italics (including the tagline), but the look of the logo has remained pretty much the same. Basically, the company is so well renowned already, that I don’t think the logo needs to change, since people already recognize and connect with it worldwide.
15. Kodak Logo Evolution
Interestingly, Kodak was the first company to integrate its name and looks into one symbol in 1907. After 1935, Kodak predominantly used yellow and red colors and the complete name of the company. First time the Kodak name was completely written in the logo in 1935, which began the use of yellow and red colors as well.
In 1960, they tried to show a flip page as a logo, but was changed to a box and graphic “K” element in 1971. I think the logo in 1971 was quite trendy, but it might have been a little complex. Retaining the 1971 concept, there was a slight variation in the font in 1987. The new font looked contemporary.
Again, like other companies, Kodak decided to simplify their logo in 1996, and removed the boxes. The red color gives a more brighter and structured feel of the company. In 2006, again a slight variation was made in the logo with a rounded ‘a’ and ‘d’, to give a contemporary look.
16. Firefox Logo Evolution
17. Fiat Logo Evolution
Technically speaking, Fiat’s first logo was an unappealing brown leather parch where the company details were written on. It was only two years later in 1901 that Fiat came up with a proper logo which spelt out its brand name on a blue emblem. There were many changes to the logos, but its characteristic letter ‘A’ is present in everyone except for the one in 1968.
18. Adobe Logo Evolution
19. Renault Logo Evolution
Renault’s logo began as a medallion with the founders’ initials in 1900. The next two logo designs that follow indicated the products they were selling, namely automobiles (1906) and tanks (1919). Four years later, the logo took a turn for their design and replaced it with a grill that found commonly at the front of a vehicle. It was not until in 1925 that Renault adopted the diamond shape logo which we recognize today. In 1946, their signature yellow color is added into the logo. After further modifications over the next half of the century, the latest Renault logo was created in 2007.
20. Walmart Logo Evolution
21. Volkswagen Logo Evolution
Volkswagen means ‘People’s car’ in German. The history of the company is tied with Adolf Hitler.
Before the rise of Hitler, the German economy was in a very bad shape; as a result people couldn’t afford to buy cars. In 1933, Hitler raised the idea of an inexpensive car in the Auto show.
In 1934, Ferdinand Porsche met with Hitler to design the car. Hitler gave him all the specifications of the car and Porsche promised to deliver the design. In 1937, the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH was created (it became simply Volkswagenwerk GmbH a year later). In 1938, Hitler opened a state funded Volkswagen factory in Walburg. It was suppose to produce commercial cars, but it was used to churn out military cars. It was only later found that Hitler had intended to use the Porsche car as a military vehicle only, which could carry 3 men and a machine gun.
After the WWII, Britishers took over the company. They renamed the car as Beetle. Surprisingly all the car makers like Fiat and Ford declined to take ‘free control’ of the Volkswagen factory. So, it was returned to the German government, and went on to become one of the world’s bestselling cars ever.
The first logo was designed by Franz Xavier Reimspiess, a Porsche employee during an office logo design competition. The main part of the logo hasn’t changed much, but understandably after the WWII, they got rid of the design around the circle which seems to be inspired from the Nazi flag. I love the colors that were added in 2000, to the logo which was built after WWII, it depicts a positive change in the company and the ability to adapt to the new millennium.
22. Mercedes-Benz Logo Evolution
The Mercedes-Benz was formed by the merger of two car companies – DMG (Daimler-Motored-Gesellschaft, founded by Gottlieb Daimler) and Benz & Cie, founded by Karl Benz. Both the companies were similar in their work and were situated in close proximity.
It was after the World War I, when the German economy was shattered, that both these companies decided to from a syndicate in 1924, and then finally merge in 1926, called Diamler-Benz.
In 1902, the logo for Mercedes was nothing more than the simple company name. However, it was changed to a 3 pointed star in 1909. The origin of this star came from a postcard by Diamler, where he had drawn a 3 pointed star which represented ‘making vehicles in land water and sky’.
After 1926, a new symbol for Mercedes-Benz came into picture, where the original logo of both the companies was merged into one. It combined the 3 pointed star of Mercedes and the laurel wreath of Benz.
Over the years, the symbol has been improved vastly in design and simplicity. It has been recognized as a symbol representing luxury and top tier cars.
23. Audi Logo Evolution
24. Siemens Logo Evolution
Siemens used to have a symbol as its logo since 1899. The symbol was the combined effect of placing the letter ‘S’ and ‘H’ together, which were the initials of its founders – Siemens and Halske. It was canned in 1973 after the company was renamed simply as Siemens AG. The latest update in 1991 resulted in cyan-colored ‘SIEMENS’ typeface.
25. BMW Logo Evolution
Everybody knows a BMW automobile when they see one, but most of them have no idea what the logo means. The trademark blue-white BMW logo is meant to symbolize the movement of an aircraft propeller, of white blades cutting through the blue skies. It was first created in 1923, but the logo has pretty much retained its original features other than a few minor modifications to its fonts and colors.
25. MasterCard Logo Evolution
In 1966, seventeen bankers formed a federation for the reciprocal acceptance of their credit cards. They called this federation as Interbank and hence, the first 1966 logo. The ‘i’ was used to identify the participating members of Interbank Card Association.
In 1969, the name was changed to Master Charge. The new logo had the two familiar intersecting circles which make sense when we think about the interbank card business. Also, the ‘i’ was retained at the bottom to show continuity and also to make it easy for people to recognize their earlier familiar logo.
Finally, in 1979, the name MasterCard was adopted and they lost the ‘i’ from the logo. In 1990, bold colors were adopted which also made it easier to recognize the 23 horizontal bars between the two circles, which I think denoted the idea of multiple simultaneous interbank relationships. The logo looks more contemporary and simple, with an italic, sans-serif typeface.
In 1996, a more prominent font replaces the old font, and the number of bars was also reduced, resulting in a simple and powerful logo. The Brand Mark’s visibility, recognition, and overall brand image are improved, with new features including larger lettering highlighted with a drop shadow, fewer interlocking bars within the red and yellow circles, and a new dark blue background for use on decals and signage.
26. WWF Logo Evolution
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