Apple. McDonald’s. Nike. All of these brands have iconic logos. Simple yet powerful. Striking yet pleasing. When you see the Apple logo, you think of sleek, forward-thinking gadgets. When you see McDonald’s golden arches, you think of Big Macs and fries. When you see Nike’s swoosh, you think of fitness. So, what sets these logos apart? There are three major aspects: uniqueness, easy recognizability, and legibility across billboards and mobile phones, print and online advertising. That said, let’s look at the top 5 most iconic logos of all times and see what makes them stand out from the rest.
Who doesn’t recognize McDonald’s golden arches? Although one reason is that the brand – valued at $88 billion – is internationally known, the other is just how simple the design is. That is what makes it so popular. Founded in 1940, McDonald’s was first known as McDonald’s Famous Barbeque; it was in 1962 that the arches were incorporated in the logo and in 1968 the arches resembled “M”. Today, not only do people recognize the logo, they subconsciously (or consciously) seek it on a long road trip across the country. Do you know? The logo was derived from real arches that were part of their restaurant architecture, and now is an integral part of their branding.
The bitten Apple has always been famous, but it’s prominence has grown manifold over the years due to the rising popularity of Apple products. According to Forbes, Apple is the world’s most valuable brand, estimated at $170 billion as of May 2017. Undeniably one of the most easily recognizable logos in the world, the bitten apple logo came into existence in 1976, and was characterized by a rainbow spectrum (representing Apple II which was the world’s first computer with color display). Today, the logo offers a modern, monochromatic look but that doesn’t stop it from being recognized all over the world – and has become more a fashion statement than a trademark. Do you know? Apple’s first logo depicted Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree – in a bid to relate the computer company with the man who revolutionized science with his theory of gravity!
- Coca Cola
For a brand that came into existence 132 years ago, Coca Cola has seen it all. If only logos could talk! Probably the world’s most widely recognized brand, the name Coca Cola was chosen because the founder thought the “two Cs would look well in advertising. Over the years, the logo has undergone several distinct changes: from different scripts to extra swirls, tail tweaks to a red disc, fishy shape to a white wave – although the logo has undergone constant change, what has remained timeless is the dedication of the company to associating themselves with happiness. What works for Coca Cola is the sheer longevity of their brand – for someone who has been around for more than a century, being recognized is not hard. Do you know? Consumers enjoy more than 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola’s beverages each day!
Nike’s swoosh logo is one of the most recognizable brand logos in the world. Although the company was launched in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports, the swoosh logo was designed in the year 1971 for a meager $35– when the Nike name was adopted. The logo was designed in an attempt to convey motion, and also to symbolize the wings of the famous Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike. Over the years, the logo has undergone several tweaks – the red and white color palette has given way to the solid black swoosh that is representing the robustness of the brand in a powerful and positive manner. Do you know? Nike’s logo is the most profitable logo in the world and is worth $26 billion!
The shipping company’s simple logo is probably best-known for its hidden image. Started by a young entrepreneur in 1971 as a small delivery company, the first logo went by the full name of Federal Express. The current logo was designed in the year 1994, and the different colors of the “Ex” represent different delivery types: while an orange “Ex” stands for express, the red stands for freight. Today, the brand has grown to become a powerhouse in the world of delivery (with annual revenue of $60.3 billion), delivering packages for every holiday and sale imaginable across the world. The distinctive look of the logo is recognized by everyone – from the logo on a truck on the highway to the plane on the runway. Do you know? The space between the “E” and “X” on the FedEx logo forms an arrow that denotes the company’s forward direction, speed, and precision.
NBA superstar LeBron James had said, “There are some teams and logos you see, no matter where you are in the world, and you know exactly who they are and what they mean.” While not a branding or design guru, it’s hard to argue with LeBron that this is really what a great logo should be all about, isn’t it?
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