It is an undeniable fact that every brand logo depicts a hidden story untold to many of us. Even the most plain one can reveal amusing facts. In the business world, an interesting brand logo is one way a business can stand out. Famous brand logos do a great job of branding and increasing brand exposure, allowing companies to grow.
A well-designed brand logo is a graphic representation of a business and validates your professionalism. As a result, potential clients would stick around your business periphery. Therefore, to cultivate a positive relationship with consumers, many businesses invest effort, time, and capital to craft a memorable brand logo.
Historically, logos have existed since 1300 AD (in the Middle Ages) with hieroglyphs and symbolism. Although markets and demographics have evolved with time, the core of these logos remains the same.
Today, there are numerous brands with intricate and instantly recognisable brand logos. Discover how they got to where they are now with 15 of the most famous brand logos worldwide and their hidden stories.
15 Famous Brand Logos and Their Hidden Stories
Apple, one of the most recognisable brands in the world, was developed in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. From a design perspective, the Apple logo features a slight indentation simulating a bite on its top right surface.
When it comes to the story behind its logo, there are many different theories – some with notes of symbolism. Popular assumptions include Nymphus’ immortality after eating a golden apple, Alan Turning’s poisoned apple, and Eve’s bite from the myth. So far, the most relatable theory is Adam and Eve’s story, whereby the bitten apple symbolises Eve’s bite of the Forbidden Fruit.
Domino’s logo is the most iconic but conceals surprising secrets. Being one of the famous brand logos, it bears two inclining dice painted in red and blue with three dots on its dormant surface.
Why three dots instead of any other number? The three dots represented the brand’s pizza chains at that time. After that, the franchise wanted to add a dot for every Domino’s restaurant, but the idea was abandoned as the brand grew tremendously.
“I’m Lovin’ It!” and so do we. The fascinating McDonald’s logo merges two iconic golden arches and is so striking that it’s far more famous than its food. The signature trademark can be seen everywhere, whether on a uniform, building, or packaging.
Resembling the letter M, the logo gets a symbolic touch from the franchise’s architect of its first restaurant in 1952. Engraved on a red background, the Golden Arches represent the historic architect, while red symbolises the food industry. Apart from colour synergy, the McDonald’s logo uses a unique font called the McLawsuit.
Manufactured by chemist John Smith Pemberton, there is barely anyone in the world who doesn’t know the multi-billion-dollar business Coca-Cola. While implementing certain dynamic characteristics, Frank Robinson, a bookkeeper of Dr. Pemberton, made the world-famous logo. For creativity, he used the Spencerian Script, which became the pillar for all future designs.
The influential graphics with a flowing, italicised wordmark, and a long tail underlining the initial letters, add extra magic to the entire logo. Additionally, the colour red was chosen because of its relation to youth, optimism, purity, and excellence.
With a persistent commitment to engineering and performance, Mercedes-Benz has one of the most inspiring logo stories. Formulated by the Daimler brothers, sons of the founder of Mercedes-Benz, the famous brand logo acquired many latent meanings.
The Daimler brothers used a 3-pointed star, which their father had made on a postcard to indicate their home’s location. Inspired by this, the idea was eventually adopted by the brand. The three metallic needles also symbolise land, sea, and air, indicating the company’s drive for universal dominance with Mercedes-Benz’s engine.
Further logo modifications happened in 1926 when its stakeholders enclosed the three-pointed star in a circle, showcasing its worldwide popularity. Thus, with its angles, glimmers, and 3D metallic form, the Mercedes-Benz symbol became a groundbreaking victory for the company.
With as much as 8.5 billion daily searches, the Google logo was first developed by Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in 1998. Since its development, the Google logo has gone through a historic evolution. From the integration of interlocking Os to letters popping off the page, Google has always strived to create responsive designs without compromising its integrity.
In terms of colour selection, Google opted for three primary colours: blue, red, and yellow; and a secondary colour, green. Choosing a secondary colour emphasises the company’s vision of not following conventional rules.
One would never expect a $35 logo to become one of the most famous brand logos of all time. From its decent beginnings as Blue Ribbon Sports to the formulation of the iconic fluttering swoosh, the Nike logo is an athletic and innovative landmark.
Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, created the iconic Nike logo in 1971. Drawing inspiration from the wings of the Greek goddess Nike, Davidson drew the legendary swoosh. Thus, with a minimal design, the brand instills its vision into its logo.
Besides being popular for making electric cars mainstream, Tesla brings an undeniable impact with its cool-looking logo. More than just a ‘T’, the logo is also a cross-section of an electric motor.
The unique rendition of the letter T, created by RO Studio, initially featured a sturdy grey shield. However, Tesla’s designers removed the shield to simplify the design. Moreover, the static monogram conveys dynamic meanings, like the upward motion that signifies electricity-driven moves toward the future.
Using a shell to represent a petroleum firm sounds absurd, but that’s what the company intended. The integrated image of the single seashell is known as the pecten, coined after the Pecten Maximus, a scallop species with a large shell.
A Shell logo typically bears a single seashell, as its founder, Marcus Samuel, sold boxes embellished with sea molluscs. The current design, developed in 1971, has hollow red spikes on a yellow surface, suggesting an Art Deco influence.
One of the most famous brand logos, the Pepsi logo is a perfect balance of modernity and timelessness. Whether it’s a cursive word mark or an intertwining of red, blue, and white to show solidarity with the USA during WWII, Pepsi has always managed to stand out from its competitors.
As an embodiment of its digital presence, in 2008, Pepsi offered the Arnell Group more than $1 million to redesign its logo. Losing the symmetrical wave from its globe and using Pepsi Light as a customised font, Pepsi revealed a new, energetic logo for the youth.
Toblerone’s mountain theme doesn’t just occur in its delicious little triangles, but in its logo too. Combining distinctive colours and fonts, the logo represents the Matterhorn Mountain in Zermatt. Being a well-known Swiss symbol, the Toblerone logo pays homage to its motherland.
At first glance, the Toblerone logo looks like a mountain and nothing more. However, a clever optical illusion hidden in the outline of the mountains shows the image of a white bear. Another tribute to Switzerland, the bear depicts the Swiss city of Bern.
The coffee powerhouse with 30,000 global stores has one of the most striking logos. Formed by three college students, the franchise sells almost 4 million cups of coffee every day. Besides serving fantastic coffee, the brand also bears an iconic logo.
The brand’s name was inspired by the memorable Moby Dick character named Starbuck. From then on, Starbucks designer, Terry Heckler, searched old marine books to find a mythical creature to represent the company. Initially, the designer created a two-tailed siren as its emblem. However, it was later modified to create a deeper connection to the brand’s name.
Starbucks uses the universal colours of green and white, where green delivers positive sentiments for brands. Moreover, a Sans-Serif font type and block letters are common fonts present on the Starbucks logo. The twin-tailed siren represents Seattle and the sea, with fluttering hair that simulates ocean waves.
Does a new design style intrigue the audience? It does, and that’s what TATE practices. To bring more focus to the logo, designer Marina Willer added a blur effect to the TATE logo.
Essentially containing 3,000+ dots, the logo was made using different art mediums After taking photographs of each art form, the designer animated them to create a fluid, leading to 75 variations of the same word with different intensities, and a permanent brand trademark.
The overarching idea was to project the dynamic nature of the brand, which is always changing but always recognisable. Moreover, the fluid effect represents the idea of movement, while the blur effect portrays the idea that sometimes a slight focus can make things clearer.
Prada, a leading luxury fashion house, is the most consistent in retaining its original wordmark logo. As a perfect representation of royalty, the brand made a striking presence in the fashion industry with an Italian royal family style-inspired logo.
To integrate its own wordmark in the logo, Prada used two elements: a coat of arms and a rope. The logo is imprinted in the Engry font using two stroke types: thin and thick. Furthermore, the varying thickness of each character produces a dynamic effect. For instance, the end stroke of the ‘R’ is quite angular, while the ‘A’ has a thick stroke on its right arm.
Vaio, or Video Audio Integrated Operation, opted for a wiggling geometric waveform in its logo, crafted by Timothy Hanley. Also known as a sine wave, the brand integrated an analogue sign to depict its electronic industry.
The Vaio logo includes two binary digits, 1 and 0 in a monochrome appearance. This represents analogue (V and A) and digital (I and O) perfectly, with symbols that reflect the unification of the two technologies. Moreover, the movement of the logo from left to right reinforces its progress into the future.
What to Interpret From These Famous Brand Logos
Upon observation, there are certain similarities between these famous brand logos – be it negative space, colour choices, unique typeface, simplicity, or a distinctive vision.
Ultimately, a brand logo is an emblem that depicts a brand’s journey. An interactive design cannot stand alone unless backed by a vision behind a business. Hence, when figuring out the ultimate goal of your business, it’s wise to opt for an uncomplicated symbol to reflect your true power.