Logo Design

Logo: A specific design with unique characteristics made as a corporate "signature." A logo is pretty much the same as a trademark, although a TM refers to a business device that has been legally registered. A logo can be a nameplate or a monogram, emblem, symbol or signet. The wealthier the corporation....the simpler the logo.


The origin of logotypes goes back to the 19th century, when industrial manufacture of products became important.

The new industrial procedures allowed a much higher output then that of the former handmade products.

The new products were distributed in large geographical areas, even nationwide.

New competitors appeared from time to time, and the offer of products of a same kind increased notably.

At that time, a significant part of the population was still illiterate. The industrial leaders became soon aware that the public would not easily differentiate their product from the same product of their competitors. More and more manufacturers began therefore to include a symbol, sign, or emblem on their products, labels and packages, so that all the buyers could easily recognize the product they wanted.


Logo design is commonly believed to be one of the most difficult areas in graphic design. It's not just an image, it is the face of an organization, which is the visual representation of a brand. For brand continuity, and because of the expense involved in changing it, a "good" logo is expected not to be too trendy, but ideally last many years before needing a redesign.

A good logo:


Some logos are so strong that they remain identifiable even when incomplete

Take a look at the logos of Coca Cola, Mobil Oil, IBM, Kellogg's. They are all uniquely different. They are instantly recognizable across the world and if you were to take any one of them and cut it up into pieces, even the individual pieces would still be identifiable.

Most company trade marks have some little visual trick that turns a type face into a distinctive logotype.

All these logos have been around for quite some time and have had millions spent on promoting them in advertising and packaging.

When you design a new logo, you certainly won’t have the benefit of time - not to begin with anyway - and you will be very fortunate indeed if it eventually gets the megabucks behind it to make it an icon of our times.
        One thing is for sure, if you don’t get the basic principles right, it doesn’t matter how much you spend, a bad logo won’t get a chance to stand up to the test of time, it will be replaced pretty quickly.

Some logos have been around for years with little or no changes. They look every bit as relevant today as they did when they were introduced umpteen years ago. The Coca Cola logo, for instance, has been tinkered with by designers over the years but the changes have been evolutionary not revolutionary. It’s not what you would call a modern logo, how could it be? It was originally designed ‘in-house’ back in 1886 and despite the many changes and translations that have been made over the years, it is still essentially the same logo - in fact, the most recognizable logo in the World.

        There are two lessons to be learned here. Firstly, overtly ‘trendy’ logos date quickly and can become embarrassments. If you can put a date to a logo, there is probably something wrong with it - unless, of course, ‘being of today’ is an essential part of the brief. Almost any well known logo that you can think of is just as relevant today as it was years ago - timeless, in fact!

A very early use of Coca-Cola's now-familiar Spencerian script logo was in this April 15, 1894, ad for the Douglas, Thomas & Davison soda fountain in Atlanta, birthplace of Coke and home of the new Coca-Cola museum.

        Secondly, there’s consistency. Unlike the Coca Cola logo, the Pepsi Cola logo has changed significantly over the years. It was originally very similar to the Coca Cola one, written in a flowery script style. Today, it is arguably more modern, with its bold sans serif typeface, but loses out on the classic, timeless aspect that helps perpetuate Coke’s heritage. To gain universal recognition, any company or brand image depends on the amount of exposure it gets. If it is changed every few years because it is starting to look old fashioned or through some chairman’s whim, then it has to be relearned by the public and it’s back to square one

Around 1893, Caleb Bradham, a young pharmacist from New Bern, North Carolina, began experimenting with different soft drink mixtures. Like many pharmacists of those days, he served his customers refreshing drinks created by him. His most popular beverage was something he called "Brad's drink" made of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils, pepsin and cola nuts. In 1898, Caleb bought the trade name "Pepsi Cola" for $100 from a competitor that had gone broke. At the same time Bradham's neighbor, an artist designed the first Pepsi logo.



If you are designing a logo for a company or product that already has an established logo, think twice before suggesting any radical change. Look first at an evolutionary change that it makes it more relevant to today - that doesn’t mean ‘modernise’ it.




Of course, you could be designing a logo for a new, hi-tech company and you don’t want any hint of tradition. 

‘Fashionable’ might be an essential part of the image you are trying to portray.

Take Microsoft, IBM, Canon, Sony, Apple. They are all fairly simple, with the exception of Apple’s ‘apple’ symbol, all are just the name of the company written in a distinctive way.

        ‘Distinctive’ is the important factor here. These are not ordinary typefaces bought from Adobe or downloaded from a free font site on the Web. They have all been specially designed and hand-drawn so that they are NOT the same as any other typeface.

The Microsoft logo is the ultimate example of "style meets simplicity". The logo perfectly evinces the company's mission of offering high quality products to its customers with its simple typeface and potent slogan. Both the Microsoft logo and the company have become synonymous with innovative ideas and latest computer technologies. The 2nd version of the Microsoft logo was fea fanciful lettered O in it. The current official Microsoft logo created by Scott Baker has been adopted in 1987. Designed in Helvetica italic typeface, the new logo had a slash between the o and s (or a triangle)


Microsoft has a fairly ordinary bold italic sans typeface, but the ‘o’ has a little slice taken out of it making it more distinctive, recognizable and memorable.

Paul Rand's trademark for International Business Machines (1956) was developed from an infrequently used typeface called City Medium, designed by Georg Tromp in 1930. This is a geometrically constructed slab-serif typeface designed along similar lines as the geometric sans serif styles. Redesigned into the IBM corporate logo, a powerful and unique alphabet image emerged, for the slab serifs and square negative spaces in the B lent a unity and uniqueness. In the 1970s, Rand updated the logo by stripping it to unify the three forms and evoke scan lines on video terminals. Wliot Noyes, IBM's consulting design director during the late 1950s wrote that the IBM design program sought ''to express the extremely advanced and up-to-date nature of its products. To this end we are not looking for a theme but for a consistency of design quality which will in effect become a kind of a theme, but a very flexible one''.


Canon has a distinctive ‘C’.

Sony has what is probably the least distinctive type style of all these examples, an extended slab-serif, but the word itself is so unique it can get off with it.

The golden arches of the McDonalds "M" are one of the strongest and most recognizable logos of our day. The simplicity of this M and the traditional red and yellow colors used, have become the most famous business traits in the world. Normally the word "McDonalds" sits next to the "M" or the "M" is used on its own. The Golden Arches logo was created by Jim Schindler in 1962 to look like new arch shaped signs on the sides of the restaurants. He merged the two golden arches together to form the famous 'M' now recognized all over the world. This logo is not just an "M" for McDonalds. They called the logo Golden arches firstly, to input the idea that owning one McDonalds franchise is like having a gold mine. Secondly, the arches symbolize a place to hide under, to escape. The protection of the "golden arches" is where one should have their "break".


Nike was founded by Phil Knight in the 60s, but at that time he called it "Blue Ribbon Sports". The name Nike and its trademark swoosh design were brought about later, in 1971. Drawing from Greek mythology, Knight named his company Nike, after the goddess of victory. Thus, the Nike name provided the company with a strong association and image, especially appropriate for a sports gear company, which positions itself in the market as a leader of sport footwear and uses the greatest athletes and the record of their achievements in its advertising. The swoosh logo was originally developed by a graphic designer, Carolyn Davidson in 1971. She was one of 35 people who made suggestions as to what logo to use for the organization. The owners met and agreed on Davidson's design, taking into account her conceptual thinking about the wings of the Greek goddess Nike According to Davidson, Knight asked for a design that suggested movement- originally disliking the swoosh she submitted, but as Knight had deadlines to meet, he ended up using it saying "I don't love it, but it will grow on me". As the time passed, the Swoosh logo has become synonymous with the company.




Burger King (BK) is a well-known chain of fast food restaurants. Started on December 4, 1954 in Miami, Florida, USA as Insta Burger King by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King has become one of the world’s most famous fast food establishments


The first Burger King hamburger stand opens at 3090 NW 36th Street in Miami. Burgers and shakes were 18 cents each. The Whopper, which appears in 1957, will sell for 37 cents

In 1969, Burger King established its famous Burger King “bun halves” logo that lasted till early 1990s. It was created to signify the eatery’s association with hamburgers. The earlier version of Burger King logo featured the name “Burger King” in orange placed in-between two ochre semi-circular buns. By 1994, Burger King modernized its old Burger King logo by giving it a smoother typeface with rounded edge. This graphical tightening of the font replaced the obsolete “bulging” font to suit the advertising needs.

Again in 1999, Burger King modified the Burger King logo that is a revised version of the original Burger King logo. The color of the restaurant’s name in the new Burger King logo was changed from ochre to orange. A blue swirl was added in the new Burger King logo which wrapped the burger, giving the Burger King logo a circular appearance.


The new Burger King logo also tilts the bun halves and the font on an axis making it contemporary and at the same time relevant. Though not instantly but gradually, in 2001, the new Burger King logo got endorsed by all of the Burger King outlets established throughout the country. No doubt, the new Burger King logo had branded the company’s hamburger business.

For only the third time in its history, Sears has a newly refreshed logo, shown below. The logo sports a brighter blue, lower case letters and a red arc that adds a colorful dimension.  

As a focused retail and related services company, poised for profitable growth, the logo gives Sears' retail landscape a more inviting look while still capturing the trust and reliability for which Sears is known.

The new logo is being incorporated into all advertising and will begin to roll-out to the stores in the near future.





FCUK Fashion: A shocking success

f c u k

At the start of 1997 French Connection was just another anonymous fashion chain, muddling along with all the other bland and boring fashion chains on the high streets of the UK. Then the CEO, Stephen Marks, made a brave decision, a brand strategy decision. French Connection was going to stand up, stand out and be distinctive. The brief to their agency was simple: "Make French Connection the most talked-about fashion brand on the high street".

Apparently French Connection was launching a store in Hong Kong at the time, and the agency came across a fax 'from FCHK to FCUK'. The result: FCUK Fashion was born.

All very juvenile I'm sure. Except that profits have increased from £6.4m to £19.1m. There are now FCUK stores in over 20 countries, and the company's share price has risen from £3.00 to £7.70.

Over the past few years, several fashion companies have tried to rejuvenate themselves: trying to find new energy and enthusiasm for their brands. Like it or not, French Connection UK stands out as an example of brand that found new potential within itself, took risks and has reaped the rewards.

Following a number of complaints about advertising campaigns using the initialism, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority requested that the company submit all poster campaigns for approval before running them. In the United States, the American Family Association urged a boycott of fcuk products. French Connection stopped using the initialism in advertising in 2005, and reduced its profile in its shops.


Tropicana Squeezes Out Fresh Design with a Peel

Jan 16, 2009

The idea: To generate attention for the leading refrigerated orange juice brand, Tropicana decided to take a blank gable top carton and start over. "It was about refreshing and modernizing," said Tropicana president Neil Campbell. "The entire orange juice category has been in decline for some time. We wanted to create an emotional attachment by ‘heroing' the juice and trumpeting the natural fruit goodness."

The challenge: About half of consumers think there is added sugar in orange juice. Tropicana needed to change that perception. The fact that the juice is pure, natural and 100 percent squeezed from fresh oranges needed to be conveyed.

How it was created: The design team decided to take full advantage of all of the dimensions of the packaging. A picture of a glass of orange juice spans across the oblique corner of the carton. The idea was to create some perspective on that corner so it is not sharp or angular, said Peter Arnell, head of the Arnell Group which spearheaded the redesign. "It's like having a glass come to your table. It's very elegant. We no longer wanted to work with assets or parts that were not clear to the consumer. They might have identified with the orange and the straw on the old packaging but no one new why it was there."

What is says and why:
This thinking was also applied to what the package said. Arnell said the team was instructed to use "Obama-esque design language that was clear, simple and profound." This meant placing the words: "100% orange pure & natural" front and center. "The joke around the office about our friends in Atlanta and their notion of ‘simply' [was] we trademarked "100% orange" which absolutely nails the competition on the shelf," said Arnell of Coca-Cola's Simply Orange brand.

What's next?: The brand is the manufacturing development stage of creating a new 89 oz. carafe that will replace the existing white jugs.

The results: While much of the new packaging is still hitting shelves, the media has taken note, said Arnell. "No one would ever write an article about Tropicana. Then you get rid of the orange and the straw and the whole world pays attention."

Orange you glad:
The new packaging has 20 design trademarks and copyrights. It took 30 people five months to develop it. Three alternative designs were scrapped including a revised orange and straw version and a Pepperidge Farm-like depiction of an orange grove.

Here is the capper:
Tropicana wanted a physical mnemonic for the brand. The design team at the Arnell Group took half of a mid-season orange and created a cap that mimicked its peel in both color and texture. Because you have to squeeze it and turn it, "the cap symbolically represents the essence of the message which is that it the juice is fresh squeezed," said Arnell. The cap is made from a special gauge of plastic with a soft rebound to it, he said. "It's got a tactile quality, not unlike an orange. It helped us create a whole new ritual for Tropicana."



2000 update


At this time, Steve Jobs who advocated that Apple should have a more stylish logo, he believed, that the logo could be part of the reason for the slow sales of the Apple I.

Apple logo with Motter Tektura typeface


The bite of the apple

The Apple logo was designed in 1977 by Rob Janoff at Regis McKenna Advertising.
Janoff started with a silhouette of a black apple on a white background, but felt that something was missing. A play on words that Apple previous had used in advertising for the Apple I, may have helped Janoff to the idea that a bite should be taken of the apple (playing on "taking a bite of the Apple", where "bite", is pronounced the same as the computer expression "byte" (as in Megabyte).

 Before the introduction of the first Macintosh, alongside the Apple logo, Apple used a typeface called Motter Tektura, which was designed in Austria by Othmar Motter of Vorarlberger Graphik in 1975 and distributed by Letraset (and also famously used by Reebok). At the time, the typeface was considered new and modern. One modification to the typeface was the removal of the dot over the i. The s was also modified for the label on the Disk II 5.25-inch floppy disk drive.

According to the logo designer, Rob Janoff, the typeface was selected for its playful qualities and techno look, which were in line with Apple's mission statement of making high technology accessible to anyone. Janoff designed the logo in 1977 while working with Palo Alto marketer Regis McKenna. The Apple logo's bite mark was originally designed to fit snugly with the Motter Tektura a.

The bite in the apple also meant the the logo no longer looked like or was confused with a tomato.

The bite was also symbolic of acquire knowledge (as a biblical reference to eating of the apple of the tree of knowledge).

Janoff added the colored stripes - green, yellow, orange, red, purple and blue - to the apple logo, because of the Apple II's by then, impressive color possibilities.

In the early 1980s, the logo was simplified by removing computer ınc. from the logo. Motter Tektura was also used for the Apple II logo. This typeface has sometimes been mislabeled Cupertino, a similar bitmap font probably created to mimic Motter Tektura.

The word Apple is written in an ordinary typeface, a derivative of
Garamond (designed way back in the sixteenth century) called Apple Garamond. Since 2001, Apple has gradually shifted towards using Myriad in its marketing.



Trademark dispute with Apple Corps

There is very little value in copying somebody else’s logo - unless you deliberately want to look like a me-too. A logo should ideally be as different from every other one as you can possibly make it. It should also communicate something about the company or product other than just its name. You have an opportunity to add some additional values subliminally through your choice of typeface and color.

In 1978 Apple Corps, i.e. The Beatles filed suit against Apple Computer for trademark infringement. The suit settled in 1981 with an undisclosed amount being paid to Apple Corps. This amount has been estimated to $50–$200 million, but was later revealed to be $80,000. As a condition of the settlement, Apple Computer agreed to stay out of the music business....Jobs admitted to naming his company as a tribute to the Beatles.

In 1986 Apple added MIDI and audio-recording capabilities to its computers, and in 1989 Apple Corps sued again, claiming violation of the 1981 settlement agreement. In 1991 another settlement of around $26.5 million was reached.

At this time, an Apple employee named Jim Reekes added a sampled system sound called xylophone to the Macintosh operating system, but Apple's legal department objected on the grounds that Apple Corps would probably not like it. Reekes renamed the sound to sosumi, which he asserted was Japanese and meant nothing musical, but in fact can be read phonetically as "So, sue me".

The 1991 settlement outlines the rights each company has to the Apple trademark. While Apple Corps was given the right to use the name on any "creative works whose principal content is music", Apple Computer was given the right to use the name on "goods or services...used to reproduce, run, play or otherwise deliver such content," but not on content distributed on physical media. In other words, Apple Computer agreed that it would not package, sell or distribute physical music materials.

In September 2003 Apple Computer was sued by Apple Corps again, this time for introducing iTunes and the iPod which Apple Corps believed was a violation of the previous agreement by Apple not to distribute music. Some observers believe the wording of the previous settlement favors Apple Computer in this case. Other observers speculate that Apple Computer may be forced to offer a much larger settlement this time which may even result in Apple Corps becoming a major shareholder in Apple Computers or, perhaps may result in Apple Computer splitting the iPod and related business into a separate firm.

As of April 2007, the suit has been quietly resolved.


How do I know whether I’m infringing?

To support a trademark infringement claim in court, a plaintiff must prove that it owns a valid mark, that it has priority (its rights in the mark(s) are “senior” to the defendant’s), and that the defendant’s mark is likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers about the source or sponsorship of the goods or services offered under the parties’ marks. When a plaintiff owns a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register, there is a legal presumption of the validity and ownership of the mark as well as of the exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods or services listed in the registration. These presumptions may be rebutted in the court proceedings.

Courts have generally looked at the following eight factors to analyze whether a particular situation has developed the requisite “likelihood of confusion” :

  1. the similarity in the overall impression created by the two marks (including the marks’ look, phonetic similarities, and underlying meanings);
  2. the similarities of the goods and services involved (including an examination of the marketing channels for the goods);
  3. the strength of the plaintiff’s mark;
  4. any evidence of actual confusion by consumers;
  5. the intent of the defendant in adopting its mark;
  6. the physical proximity of the goods in the retail marketplace;
  7. the degree of care likely to be exercised by the consumer; and
  8. the likelihood of expansion of the product lines.

Learn More: http://www.uspto.gov/page/about-trademark-infringement