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10 Best Company Logos of All Time

A logo is a company's visual identity. To demonstrate the power of a memorable logo, we compiled a list of the best company logos to inspire you.

McDonalds logo

A logo is the face of a brand. It has a huge influence on your brand’s visual identity,  the way consumers perceive your brand, and even the associations consumers make with your organization. To demonstrate the power of a memorable brand symbol, we compiled a list of the best, or most revered and talked about, company logos. These logos have stood the test of time, carrying the brands’ essence throughout the years but also growing and evolving along with them.

What makes a good logo?

There are many factors that make a logo ‘good’. Visual elements that follow established design principles, meaningful typography and a balanced colour palette are some of the ingredients for a good logo recipe. It should be relevant to the brand and its story for many years to come, tell you something about its customers, and be simple enough to understand. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it sounds.

10 Best Company Logos of All Time

1. Starbucks: the imperfect one

The two-tailed siren appeared in the Starbucks restaurants in 1971. Inspired by the Italian medieval character “Norse”, the Starbucks mermaid was re-designed several times since it was created, and notably made less symmetrical a few years back, helping the logo be more approachable and “human”. As Starbucks grew and established its brand presence across the world, the business decided to eliminate their name from the symbol and have the siren speak for herself. This reflected the brand’s iconic status, whereas the trademark green colour is one of the most recognizable logo colors, known by anyone who’s heard of Starbucks.

starbucks logo

2. Nike: the $35 dollar one

It’s well-known that the creator of the famous Nike “swoosh”, Carolyn Davidson, was initially paid $35 for her logo work (she was later rewarded with gifts for her contribution to Nike). Although the symbol has been tweaked several times since 1971, the swoosh always represented the dynamism and speed of athletes that Nike targets. Other than being a clean and beautiful icon, the swoosh also translates the meaning behind Nike’s name - it represents the wing of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory

nike logo

3. Apple: the deliciously simple one

Interestingly, the original Apple logo carried a different meaning of the word ‘apple’. It featured Isaac Newton, who created the law of universal gravitation after an apple fell on his head. To reflect the company’s drive for the future and to make the design more visible in smaller sizes, Steve Jobs proposed the now-classic design of the bitten apple. The symbol was first rainbow-striped and included the name “Apple”, but later the organization changed it to a single colour design. The new logo represents Apple’s simplicity and drive to be different. Steve Jobs' description of the brand's emblem fits it very well: “The fruit of creation, Apple. It was simple but strong”.

Apple logo

4. McDonald’s: the instantly recognizable one

When you see McDonald’s golden arches logo, you immediately think of Happy Meals and Big Macs. That’s how powerful their logo is today. Compared to the previous examples, McDonald’s logo evolution happened due to practical reasons. Initially, the logo had many small elements like overlapping texts and lines. But eventually, those elements were eliminated and the modern-day logo was designed to be seen from afar,catching the eyes of hungry customers. This allowed McDonald’s to create an image that was instantly recognizable to anyone passing their restaurants.

Mcdonalds logo

5. Coca-Cola: the Christmas-y one

Unlike other businesses, Coca-Cola didn’t steer away from its original design. It was developed by Frank Mason Robinson in 1886 who thought that the curly C’s “would look well in advertising”. It’s a great example of a business that used a custom font to differentiate itself from other brands. The colour red was introduced in the 1950s to attract younger consumers. Throughout various logo changes, Coca-Cola’s red and white colour palette denoted energy, excitement and passion. These meanings were even translated into Coca-Cola’s holiday advertising - thanks to the brand’s extensive Christmas marketing activities, red and white are widely associated with Santa Claus and Coca-Cola.

Coca Cola logo

6. FedEx: the award-winning one

The patriotic red and blue colours on the FedEx logo were incorporated to associate the brand with the US. After shortening its name from ‘Federal Express’ to simply ‘FedEx’, the firm created a new logo in 1994. FedEx’s symbol is one of the most creative ones in our list because it has won 40 awards for its smart design and use of negative space. Look at the white space between the letters ‘E’ and ‘x’ - can you see the arrow? It signifies direction, precision and speed. That’s where the minimalism and charm of the FedEx logo lies. 

fedex logo

7. Amazon: the everything-under-the-sun one

Amazon is another brand that uses arrows to indicate certain meanings. Having expanded its horizons from bookselling to selling… absolutely everything, Amazon needed a logo that conveyed this message. That’s what the arrow signifies - it moves from the letter ‘A’ to ‘Z’ to show that the firm sells anything you like from A to Z. The arch of the arrow also symbolizes the smile of their happy customers, whereas the orange colour connotes joy and pride. This is how Amazon wants its customers to feel whenever they shop with them.

amazon logo

8. Toyota: the culturally relevant one

What sets Toyota apart from other logos is that it’s meaningful for English speakers while staying true to Japanese culture. On the one hand, the 3 ovals that make up the symbol reveal each letter of the company’s name in English. On the other hand, each oval has a different stroke thickness, just like the strokes in Japanese calligraphy. Toyota also states that the ovals signify three cultural elements of the organization: progress, team spirit and freedom. Their logo works not only because of its well-structured design but also because it tells the story of the brand.

toyota logo

9. Adidas: the literal one

Over its history, Adidas created 4 different logos that it still uses for different product lines. But what remains unchanged are the three stripes which the business applies in all of its branding work. Originally, the stripes were used as stabilizing strips on Adidas’s track spikes. The stripes proved to be simple and versatile enough to apply them in all the variations. Adidas’s symbol is an example of a creative logo design that is practical, descriptive of their products’ original use cases, and unique in its design.

adidas logo

10. Mercedes-Benz: the family-matters one

Mercedes-Benz’s symbol takes inspiration from a family artifact that belonged to the brothers Paul and Adolf Daimler, sons of the business's co-founder Karl Benz. While designing the logo, the brothers recalled a picture of a star drawn by their father in a letter to their mother. This star, which was a symbol of hope that one day their factory will face prosperity, became the basis of the 3-pointed star that eventually became Mercedes-Benz’s symbol. It signifies three types of mobility and the business's aspirations to dominate those spaces: land, water and the air. What started as a familial emblem a century ago became the icon for one of the world’s most luxurious brands today.

Mercedes-Benz logo

We hope this list of the 10 best brand logos inspired you; each symbol is unique, appeals to their audience, is easily recognizable and tells us something about the brand itself.. 

That’s why it’s so important to test your creative logo design ideas before launching them in-market. Here at Upsiide, we test logos all the time. Book a demo with us to give it a go and find out which ideas have the most potential for success within your target market.