History of Famous Logos and the Lessons Learnt

A logo is like the first impression of a business. It’s is more than that. It’s a way to introduce yourself to the customer. The world’s most iconic and famous brands understand this.

What makes a memorable logo design? Successful logos are instantly recognizable, reflect a brand’s identity and are unique from other brand logos. They build trust and look everlasting and professional. Effective logos also can have the same impact regardless of size or the space it is put on. Here are top 5 iconic logos who have been able to manage all this and leave us with some important lessons to be learnt.

Markets and trends are continuously changing, but certain elements like typography, layout, patterns and colour have a huge impact on how people perceive a logo. Understanding how the big brands do it right will help you refine your own brand and connect with your audience.

Let’s jump in and have a look at a several companies who have really raised the bar with their logo design, why they have been so successful, and what we can learn from their iconic logo designs.


The History

Target designed its unique and synonymous logo in 1962. Originally, it had three white and three red rings with the organization name boldly displayed across it. Just seven years after, the company launched a famous ad that introduced a woman wearing the Target logo as an earring, the earliest use of Target’s stating its branding as “unexpected.”

In 1989, the company briefly removed the image from its logo, and it became a text-only wordmark with “TARGET” in bold lettering. However, in 2006, the iconic, standalone bullseye returned without the text.

The Design

What better way to embody the name “Target” than by using an actual target? Obvious, yes. But the passion behind the design is more profound.

Target’s logo catches your attention due to its strong use of the colour red and striking simplicity. Most of the logos we will examine in this piece have stood the test of time due to their impressive minimalist design, and the Target logo is the most prominent in this regard.

The circle-within-a-circle logo design communicates unanimously. The use of negative space beyond the outer red ring sensibly creates an image of strength and trust. Circles bear a message of friendship, community, and endurance, traits which are all important to the Target brand.

In business, the colour red symbolises passion, importance. and attention, and white represents cleanliness, quality and health. When we explore the philosophy of the organization, the colours used in their logo design are perfectly in sync with the vision and purpose of the corporation.

It’s commendable how much thought and effort went into such an obvious logo.

The Lesson

Depending on your industry, you’ll need to implement certain traits in your logo design. Shapes are an effective way to do that. Like Target, if you want to establish trust and community, circles can convey that to your consumers.

Use negative space to avoid cluttering your design with elements that will prevent your consumers from understating your brand identity.



The History

Apple’s first logo in 1976 was way off the Apple logo design we know today. The original presented Isaac Newton sitting underneath a tree with the apple hanging from it, poised to drop. While it was creative, Apple swiftly simplified their logo to a literal apple.

Between 1977-1998, Apple frequently used a rainbow-coloured logo design to coincide with their first colour display computer. But this lavish use of colour eventually evolved into shiny chrome and then flat colour the world sees today.

The Design

As with the Target logo, it’s easy to point out the obviousness of Apple’s current logo design. So, why the modification from its original rainbow to chrome to flat colour?

Apple strives to make trendy products that are as accessible as possible, so even the most technologically-challenged individuals can use them. The chrome and then flat-colour logos establish sleekness and sophistication and the curved apple denotes style. All three traits are synonymous with the Apple identity and the perception they want the consumer to have.

And the iconic bite?

Some people say the “bite” out of the apple is a play on the word “byte”, as in gigabyte, or megabyte for us rookies. Others say it symbolized the bite of knowledge consumers get from using Apple’s products. Either way, we think it’s a pretty innovative way to add interest to a minimalistic logo.

The Lesson

So, what can we learn from Apple’s popular logo design? It’s important to notice how the Apple logo exhibits the traits of its products in its design. Their logo completely exudes the personality of their brand. When we think of Apple now, we think of products that are accessible, sleek, and intelligent.

The minimalism of their logo goes a long way in sticking in the mind of the consumer, as if there are too many things going on in a logo, then we will most likely forget about it easily. The stark and striking simplicity of the Apple logo means it’s easily and globally recognized and easily remembered.



The History

Google designed its original logo in 1998 using a standard font to display the company name. The logo was unchanged until 2009 when the company reformed the colouring and shading of the lettering. In 2014, Google made several minor changes to letter spacing as well.

In 2015, Google relaunched their logo with a new, innovated and modernized custom typeface with the use of similar colours that were more vibrant and saturated. This is largely the logo we see today.

The Design

Once again, the simplicity of Google’s logo is clearly obvious in its design, as with the previous mentioned brands. Like Apple, Google likes to brag how accessible it is to the masses, which is a huge part of what people know and love about the company.

Since Google chose a wordmark for its logo design, their use of colour is vital. Google’s goal was to use primary colours to give its design a look that stands out. However, check out the “l” in the logo. Green is a secondary colour, and Google involved this in its logo to say “We don’t have to follow the rules,” a choice that perhaps makes the organization look more innovative.

The wordmark’s letter spacing flows flawlessly to characterize how Google moves users through its interface. The use of negative space also delivers a blunt contrast to the primary colours used, signifying the way the company stands out over the competition.

On a final note, Google often makes use of quirky versions of its logo to reflect world events, a great way for the company to stand in community with a worldwide audience.

The Lesson

Just like Google, consider having a dynamic logo to reflect local or world events. While you might not want to go altering your logo every week, an innovative touch like this is a great way to stay relevant with your consumers.

Think wisely about the use of colour and lettering in your logo design. Do bright colours characterize your brand? How much space do you want to take in between your letters? The Google logo gives us some great awareness into how you can make your brand interactive and unique.



The History

Most car brands change their logos over time to evolve with current design trends. But a logo that’s succeeded to stay original and relevant for over a century is the Mercedes-Benz star. The company introduced this icon in 1909, and it’s still the prominent element of their logo to this day.

The Design

Mercedes presents its logo on many of its vehicles and advertising without any lettering. With decades of brand awareness, the company can easily understand its consumers’ universal knowledge. But the star itself is bursting with meaning: the three prongs represent the air, land and sea, each a segment of the automotive industry.

The logo’s silver colour symbolizes dependability, security, professionalism, and conventionality along with value and quality. All traits communicated commonly in the industry.

Compared to other brands, the typeface of their logo is thin and curved, which gives it a touch of elegance, exactly the image the company wants to portray.


The Lesson

Font styles matter. The curved edges allow the company to convey luxury with just letters. Imagine if that font was thick, bold and huge. Wouldn’t evoke the same feelings would it?

If you are arranging to use text in your logo, remember that every typeface has its own personality. Find one that suits your brand identity and run with it.



The History

Coca-Cola presented their first black-and-white logo in 1886. Over time, the logo has progressed, but that classic, script lettering has mostly remained the same. By 1958, the brand’s famed red and white colours officially became part of the logo.

Across numerous of iconic marketing campaigns, the logo hasn’t changed intensely, aside from the addition of the “white wave” we normally see underneath the text

The Design

It would be difficult to find a logo that has been more resilient than Coca-Cola’s. So, what is it about the logo design that makes it undeniably one of the most remarkable in the world today?

Uniqueness and class.

The Coca-Cola logo design imitates classic Americana; the two are synonymous with each other. The cursive and fashionable lettering is justly unique and undeniably personifies the fashionable class of its brand. When we think of classic America we concurrently see the Coca-Cola logo, which gives the company both a nostalgic and cross-generational feel.

Today’s Coca-Cola logo is recognized and loved around the world because of its famous red and white colours.

Red is a very potent colour. It generates excitement, energy and passion. Don’t these qualities seem reflective of the classic America already mentioned? Red also arouses the appetite, which undoubtedly works in a soft-drink company’s favour!

The Lesson

What can’t we learn from Coca-Cola’s original, innovative and simplistic design? Seriously, if you are ever looking for inspiration for your logo, you can surely find it here.

Put thought into your colour. The company invests heavily in pushing its brand colours into its products and marketing, and it works. Use colour psychology to find a primary colour that best suits your brand to “stimulate the appetite” of your own customers.

Contemplate custom fonts. The Coca-Cola logo is particularly remarkable because of the way the font clearly matches the personality and identity of its brand. That’s because it’s entirely custom. As you grow at your brand, get creative with how you can use or re-imagine fonts, letters and shapes that are unique to make your brand truly exclusive.

In conclusion, these famous logos belong to businesses that people all over the world admire because of their success, philosophy, identity, or customer satisfaction. Each logo encapsulates the brand perfectly to forge an identity that everyone can relate to.

Effective use of colours, shape and lettering, all while keeping it simple. Use these techniques to create a memorable logo design that tells your customers everything they need to know about you, your products and your values. And don’t forget to focus on not only what you want to know, but also feel, when they look at your logo.

A great logo isn’t the sole indicator of a successful company, but a thoughtful, eye-catching logo design will help you establish yourself as a reputable brand in a competitive space.