How Some of the Most Iconic Logos Were Created

By Anurag Pal

You see them every day on products and at retail stores, and you can also picture them in your mind when you think about certain brands. They are the iconic logos that we inexorably link with the companies they represent. As entrepreneurs work to create their own logos, it’s a good idea to investigate the processes that went into creating some of the most enduring designs that are around today.

Amazon

Like many firms, Amazon has gone through several iterations of its logo, the first of which was created when the company was simply known as “Earth’s biggest bookstore.” However, when the retailer segued from books and began to be known as a “store of everything,” CEO Jeff Bezos called on design firm Turner Duckworth to update its logo.

After submitting three logos to Bezos, the firm noted that he was immediately drawn to the company name with a yellow line under it that formed into a smile. “It was one of the fastest, easiest branding projects we’ve ever done because Jeff Bezos was in every meeting personally, made decisions and just moved,” said agency co-founder David Turner. In fact, when one of the agency’s staffers suggested running the logo past a focus group, Bezos replied, “Anybody who doesn’t like that logo doesn’t like puppies.” And thus, the logo became ubiquitous.

The smile logo gets additional exposure due to it being printed onto the side of many shipping containers that Amazon sends to its customers, making it a marketing vehicle that has paid off several times over.

McDonald’s

Much like Amazon, McDonald’s has brought its logo through several redesigns over the year, but everyone is familiar with the enduring Golden Arches, which have been part of the design since 1968. No matter what language they speak or where they live, customers know when they see the Arches that they’re looking at a McDonald’s restaurant.

The arches were part of McDonald’s actual restaurant buildings, because co-founder Richard McDonald believed they would capture the attention of those driving past the locations. After Ray Kroc acquired the company from the McDonald brothers, he updated the logo to reflect the arches that were so well known among the chain’s fans. The fact that they so easily formed into a letter “M” – also the leading letter in the company name – made the decision a no-brainer.

Although the logo has had other words added and removed from it over the years (such as “I’m lovin’ it”), the basic premise showing the arches has lived on as a reminder of the company’s roots.

Twitter

When you see the outline of a blue bird, your mind immediately goes to the social media giant. Twitter and its logo are forged together, and although the Twitter Bird has seen a few updates since the firm’s 2006 launch, it endures as a symbol of the company.

Interestingly, the original blue Twitter Bird was an illustration that designer Simon Oxley was offering on the iStock website for sale back in 2006. A Twitter staffer bought it for $15 and the firm used it for a few years, until the company began to explode. At that point, it was unable to continue using the iStock image as an official logo, and the firm embarked on a series of redesigns before arriving at the Twitter Bird we see today, which was designed by Doug Bowman in 2012.

Bowman, who was the firm’s creative director, noted, “Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.” That’s why when we see the logo, we know we’re talking bout the social media behemoth, whether or not the word “Twitter” is actually anywhere near the logo.

Coca-Cola

To think that a logo has endured for over a century is jarring, but that’s the case with Coca-Cola. After Dr. John S. Pemberton created the soft drink in 1886, his bookkeeper Frank M. Robinson had the idea to call it “Coca-Cola,” noting that the two “C” letters would be a plus to the firm’s advertising. It was Robinson who designed the company’s well-known script logo, and the other members of the company unanimously agreed that it should be the official logo of the brand.

The logo was initially trademarked with the US Patent Office in 1893, and red hues were later added to make the symbol pop with consumers. The Coca-Cola logo is considered a minimalist style, allowing the brand name to be the focus of the look. Although it has a vintage feel to it, the design can definitely be described as timeless, considering that it’s been in use for over a century.

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