How the World’s Most Iconic Logos Evolve Over Time via Visual Capitalist
or many of the world’s most iconic companies, the value of a brand is immeasurable.
Companies like Apple or Mercedes-Benz work endlessly to forge identities that allow them to be instantly recognizable to consumers. They want a logo that communicates their mission, value proposition, history, and legacy – and to do this, many of these companies continue to use icons, symbols, or colors that are decades old.
But this doesn’t mean that their identities and logos are static. In fact, many of these world-class brands have actually changed dramatically, while still incorporating important elements from their company histories.
How Logos Evolve
Even today, many of the world’s most iconic companies have logos that pay tribute to their rich histories. And though some of the imagery may stay the same, the logos continue to evolve to reflect the values and new design aesthetics of modernity.
For example, the identity of Royal Dutch Shell has been based around the image of a shell for well over a century. Between 1900 and 1930, the company represented itself by using realistic drawings of scallop and pecten shells:
The distinctive yellow and red colors were first added to service stations in 1915, and the shades eventually made it into the official logo itself by 1948. Today’s version of the Shell logo is ultra-simplified, and the brand is so recognizable that the logo often appears without the name of the company.
Pepsi’s brand history is another great example of how logos evolve while still paying tribute to company origins. The signature red, white, and blue combination comes from 1941, when the company changed the colors of its bottle cap to support America’s war effort. Since then, the Pepsi logo has used some mix of these colors, usually with a globe and swirl involved.
The most recent update to the logo in 2008 costed hundreds of millions of dollars, receiving heavy criticism from the design and business communities. However, for those that want to dive deeper, the rationale behind the redesign is quite interesting in itself.
Regardless, Pepsi’s brand has continued to evolve while maintaining at least some element of nostalgia from the company’s history. Whether it is effective or not is a story that will continue to be debated.