To survive in any market a company needs to build a brand, and one of the most important aspects of visual branding is the logo. World famous logos need to stand out by being different, but the question is do these logos become memorable because of their design, the frequency you are subjected to them, or the product they are associated with.
This topic is food for thought for another day, for now we will be looking at the problem of logos becoming outdated and how companies have evolved their logo over time to stay relevant. Another point to consider is the recent revival of retro branding, that is companies using their original logo to show they are an established brand and to let the customer connect with their history.
Generally speaking iconic logos tend to be simple. They need to be used in all situations from a business card to an advertising banner, sports hoarding or even the tail fin of a plane. Below are some examples of iconic logos and how they have evolved.
Microsoft Xbox – here is the first example of brands ditching their name in the logo. Obviously it would be hard to do this for a start up company, but once the format, style and colour of the logo is associated with a brand, they are able to remove the text while it still being recognisable to the general public.
Shell – well the use of the shell is obviously a mainstay of their logo, which is clever in itself as not many brands can get away with using the visual representation of their company name as their logo, and to be honest it hasn’t changed too much over the decades. The red and yellow colours are important to their business as you will see the majority of their forecourts whislt driving, and most drivers can tell a petrol station from the colours of the roof before they even see the sign. Again they have lost the name from their logo.
Starbucks – this logo has managed to not stray too far from the original but also stays current and up to date.
Ford – this is a classic logo and is the first one that uses a unique font combined with the blue and white colours to make a brand that is synonymous with tradition and reliability. Again they have made use of advances in graphic design to make their logo stay fresh with use of metallic effects.
Adidas – their clothing is known for the three stripes, and they have cleverly used this in both versions of their logo. In the clothing market branding is everything, and I believe that the Adidas one is instantly recognisable, yet simplistic in its design and colour.
BP – the last logo on the list incorporates many of the factors already seen; losing text, symbolic colours, fresh redesign, but also is perhaps the most different in terms of the starting point to the current one. A brand like BP can get away with it as their logos are seen often and the colour combination isn’t as common as some used by other companies.
Let us know if you can think of any other iconic logos that have changed considerably but always stayed on trend and relevant.