Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Greatest Logos of All Time...

There are many great logos in the world, the best of which are well considered, applicable and instantly recognisable. Here we look at five of the best…

In 1891 Shell was founded. Then a trader of antiques and oriental seashells, the company quickly developed into Shell Transport and Trading Company and, although now trading fuel, the iconic Pecten shell has stuck. The logo not only suggests an environmental conscience, but also a sense of tradition and heritage: the shell is an elegant and precious symbol from the roots of the company. It’s simple design and warm colours (the red and yellow taken from the Spanish flag in an attempt to please Californian customers of Spanish descent) make the emblem so recognisable that it is often not accompanied by any text, giving it a bold and confident character – a reflection of the economic superpower we know today.


Love or loathe the fast food giant, McDonald’s ‘Golden Arches’ is undoubtedly one of the most iconic logos ever created. Initially developed from two separate arches that stood at either end of their first eatery, the M is an instantly recognisable symbol across the globe. Employing a similar colour scheme to Shell, the McDonald’s logo feels self-assured and proud, and, despite drastic changes in McDonald’s image in recent years, remains a key symbol of their brand – standing tall and resilient. Whats more, the ‘Golden Arches’ is simple yet well consider – key attributes of a successful logo – allowing it to be applied to all manner of products and merchandising easily and unobtrusively.


In the 1980s MTV encapsulated a generation and birthed its own culture. The MTV generation was young, care-free and pop-culture orientated: and the channel designed a logo to suit. A simple mix of two fonts, the chunky, block ‘M’ and the scribbled, graffiti like ‘TV’- the logo is so successful because of its adaptability. Always retaining the basic layout, the logo has lovingly played to pop-culture trends over the years to please its target audience and remain fresh and quirky. It has been filled with colour and shapes; zombified and space-aged; scrawled across the American flag; written in the stars; even made from nuts and bolts, yet has always defined MTV.


The FedEx logo is much loved by graphic designers. Simple and plain, perhaps, but the hidden arrow that subtly slips by many of us is a great example of using negative space and well considered design. Between the E and X lies an arrow that sums up the company as a global courier and logistics provider. There is nothing showy or forced about the logo and the arrow, a reflection of the company’s ideal perhaps? To go about business efficiently and seamlessly behind the scenes, to be there but not necessarily be seen – much like the ingenious arrow.


The infamous Nike tick, a.k.a. the ‘Swoosh,’ is a hugely recognisable logo. Nike, a name taken from the Greek Goddess of victory, adopted the ‘Swoosh’ in 1972. Initially developed to represent an outstretched wing of the Goddess, the tick began life as branding on the company’s running shoes. Due to its popularity and Nike’s sponsorship and endorsement by all manner of sportsmen the logo has become synonymous with the name, and hence become a stand-alone icon of the brand. The way it ‘Swooshes’ suggests a free-flowing and almost natural movement – of course a connotation the sporting brand would approve – whilst the tick embodies success and achievement.


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