Famous Brands & Their Logos: What Were They Thinking?

A majority of the famous brands around the world are defined through their logo. The colors they use, the font they showcase, and the illustrations they design all combine together to make people recognize them even if their name isn’t present. Logo design is one of the first marketing strategies a brand comes up with. But what is the meaning and the reason behind most of these logos to be designed the way they are? In this blog, I talk about a few of the most famous brands and their logos, looking to answer the question about what they were thinking when they came up with these ideas.

1. Facebook

Everyone knows the F in the Facebook logo stands for the brand itself (duh!). But what you may not be aware of is why the social media giant is blue in color. Yes, it’s a color that stands out more than most, a thought that went behind choosing a color scheme for Mainstream itself. But Mark Zuckerburg has a bigger reason for coloring it blue. The social media giant founder is red-green color blind. Hence, this blue we find on Facebook is the one color that’s easiest for him to perceive.

2. National Geographic

Ever wondered why Nat Geo has a yellow rectangle on the side? It’s because the brand’s initial goal was to be a magazine. Hence, the yellow rectangle is an indication of the brand’s original identity. The color yellow of the rectangle depicts the color of the sun, which shines all over the world. And that hints towards National Geographic’s global reach.

3. Pepsi

Pepsi’s original name was Pepsi Cola, named after the two main ingredients found in the soft drink i.e. Pepsin – a digestive enzyme – and Cola – cola nuts. This inspired the first logo for the brand with simply that name. But as decades passed, Pepsi’s logo became updated with regular intervals.

The current logo of the soft drink giants was revealed in 2008 to be a secret message that includes the Earth’s magnetic field, shown through red and blue colors of a magnet and a white line running through them. Alongside a magnetic field, it indicates toward Pythagoras, Fengshui, Gravitation, and other knowledgeable fields. Hence, a DaVinci Code all on its own!.

4. Instagram

Staying true to the app’s first logo but also combining with modern trends, the current Instagram logo also shows a polaroid camera in the most minimalistic ways, with just a dot, a square, and a circle. The idea behind the polaroid camera is that it carries nostalgia, childhood memories, family photos, etc. The color combination comprises warm colors, depicting excitement and energy. The colors also indicate the golden hour, when photographers get to work to create the most beautiful images, and also the sunset warm colors indicate toward the evenings and fun nights out. No one would think too much about the colors of the logo, but it’s a good piece of information for those who do pay attention.

5. Adidas

Adidas markets casual sportswear in its logo by showing the first letter being spelled in lowercase letters like the rest of the letters. Furthermore, the brand has 4 logos with different meanings:

a. Trefoil: Along with the 3-stripes, this logo is shown for the Originals product line.
b. Mountain: Used to promote the Performance line of products, this is perfect for sports professionals.
c. Circle: This logo is shown with designs created and promoted with other famous brands.
d. 3 Stripes: The latest design of logos, it appears not just in the Originals but across all product lines. It’s the major indication of Adidas branding.

6. Unilever

One a whole, the Unilever symbol is a U, showing the first letter of the brand’s name. But when you look closely, the logo consists of different symbols, indicating different departments the company sells the products of. With a lock of hair showing shampoos, a spoon, an ice cream, a leaf, a hand, and much more.

7. Evernote

The main feature of this app is to store and remember your notes. And it’s symbol shows an elephant, the animal that has an incredible ability to store memories. “An Elephant never forgets” and apparently, neither does Evernote.

8. Nike

The company was called Blue Robbin Sports when first established, but later changed their name to ‘Nike’ in 1978. The name belongs to a Greek Goddess, who was an inspiration to Greek warriors. The symbol is known as ‘Swoosh’, based on the Goddess’s wing sign. The swoosh was also the fabric Nike shoes used to have at that time. Now, this symbol is globally recognized as Nike’s own unique brand.

9. BMW

The renowned vehicle company’s checker boxes are a stylized representation of white and black propellers spinning in a clear blue sky. They’re an indication of the company’s origin, which started out as a brand that specializes in aviation technology.

10. Tour de France

The Tour de France symbol shows a cyclist hidden among the letters R and U, with the letter O serving as a wheel. The yellow symbol beneath the letter R, serving as another wheel, is also an indication of the sun, meaning the race happens during the daytime.

11. Baskin Robbins

The Baskin Robbins symbol is designed such that it shows the company’s specialty of serving 31 different flavors of ice-cream.

12. Gillette

On the surface, the Gillette logo seems quite bland and dull, and you don’t pay much attention to it. But if you look closely, the G and i have a subtle indication of a cut made through a blade. It’s not hidden, yet not obvious either. It’s what you’d call a design brilliance.

13. Toblerone

Recently taking the internet by storm, the symbol behind the Toblerone logo is quite a work of art. If you zoom in, you’ll see a bear in the midst of the mountain. This bear is a symbol of the Matterhorn Mountain, the place where Toblerone originated.

14. Amazon

A lot of people misperceive the arrow beneath the word Amazon to be a smile. In reality, it’s a connection from the word A to Z. Meaning the brand has all the products available, whatever you can name from the letter A to Z.

15. NBC

Known as the Peacock Network due to its logo shaped like a Peacock, each of NBC’s colors represents the different divisions the network operates. From the six feathers, yellow is for news, red for entertainment, blue for the network, orange for sports, green for productions, and purple for the stations. The beak of the peacock was turned to face right indicating that NBC is looking at the future rather than the past.

What goes on to designing most of these logos is the idea to make them as recognizable as possible, without taking away their simplicity. When logos are simple, people remember them. When they remember them, they can recognize them anywhere in the world. And that is what marketing a brand is all about. To make a powerful logo, read more on the principles of designing a logo.

Mainstream Contributor

A content driven blog by marketers, for marketers.

Explore further 👇

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x