5 Classic Logos And Why They Worked So Amazingly

Image by FilipeSJ
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A well-designed logo can say more about your brand in a couple of seconds. That’s a lot shorter than your elevator pitch – which are typically thirty seconds long – and they’re a lot more memorable too. The right colors mixed with the right design can create something iconic – and we’re going to discuss five of the best.

Your brand/product/service might, for the moment at least, live primarily on a website because you don’t have a bricks-and-mortar location; and there are several low cost options out there. Among them is WordPress hosting with Dreamhost. Beside a great website you also should have a distinctive logo.

But when you’re designing that logo, remember that the three things that they all have in common is their simplicity, their timelessness, and the way they embrace the best design practices of logo design.

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In no particular order, let’s kick it off with…

Coca-Cola

Coca Cola Logo
Image by Paulius Kairevicius

The simple and elegant Coca-Cola logo is its very hallmark. It began back in 1886 when John S. Pemberton, the man behind the formula for Coke, and his partner Frank M. Robinson had to come up with a name for their new drink. Robinson suggested “Coca-Cola” because he thought the two C’s would “look well in advertising.”

Since the logo debuted – apart from a brief moment in 1890-1891 – it has remained mostly the same. The only things that changed for the first fifty years or so was the placement of the “trademark registered.” It was in 1969 that the iconic white wave was added – also known as a “dynamic ribbon device.”

The ribbon changed size again in 2007 but it wasn’t drastic – it was a subtle thinning that designers thought was needed. But that color combo (the red and white) combined with the elegant font has been all Coca-Cola has needed to brand itself for over 100 years. Impressive doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Apple

Apple Logo
Image by Musical Offering

The iconic sight of an apple with a bite taken out of the right side immediately identifies what you’re looking at as a product of Apple. The original design – which looks incredibly similar to the one they use today – was a multi-colored apple designed in 1977 by Rob Janoff. The process took just two weeks – in fact it was the first and only version presented to Steve Jobs who signed off on it almost immediately – and it produced an iconic logo that went untouched for 20 years. Since then, the logo has changed color now and then (it’s gone from translucent to black to aqua to chrome).

Despite many different reasons that have been suggested for the design of the logo, none of them are true. Said Janoff, “I was going for the silhouette of an apple, but to make it look more like an apple and not some other round fruit, I did what one does with an apple, I took a bite out of it.”

Nike

Nike Logo
Image by FilipeSJ

The swoosh design that the world is familiar with cost a staggering…$35 dollars. Yes, that’s all this iconic logo cost! It was designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971. She’d met Phil Knight, a then-assistant Professor at PSU where she was attending college. He’d recently come up with the idea to create his own brand of athletic shoes and knew Davidson was struggling for money, so asked her to design a logo. The swoosh attracted everyone’s attention as it suggests both speed and movement. It also looked somewhat like a wing and hinted in a subtle way to Nike, the Greek Goddess of victory, whose name was taken for the shoe.

Macy’s

Macy's Logo

The logo for Macy’s features a single red star alongside a simple font of the word Macy’s written in all lower-case – with anther star (black) for an apostrophe. The designer went for the star to imply excellence – and the design has remained ostensibly the same since it was created in 1858.

Interestingly, the star was influenced by a tattoo that Macy’s founder Rowland Hussey Macy had. Macy had been a whaler and gotten lost at sea – and it was a star that ultimately guided him to shore. He then had a star tattoo made to remind him of his luck which then inspired the logo itself.

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz Logo
Image by Ben Kalsky

This logo doesn’t even feature the name “Mercedes Benz” and yet most everyone who sees it instantly knows who it is and that it stands for. Their three-pointed star is over 100 years old. It was inspired by a picture-postcard from 1872 that had a similar-looking star on it. Originally, it was colored blue but became silver in 1934.

These logos are classic and timeless and serve as inspiration that elegance and simplicity are the hallmarks of an iconic logo. Make sure your logo checks all those boxes too – as well as your website – if you want to make your brand as visible and memorable as all those others.

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