logo history

Logo History: The Evolution of Logos in Branding


Aug 24 2017
Logo History: The Evolution of Logos in Branding

logo history

Logos have become very common to us that we never consider how far they’ve come. They help us identify and name many different companies. To figure out what the future holds, we will need to take a step back and look at the logo history.

A logo is a distinct and recognizable design, name, or symbol for identifying a company. Each logo has the following characteristics:

  • it is memorable
  • it is recognizable
  • it is scalable for different media
  • it is convertible or versatile for use in different media
  • it is relevant to each business type

Businesses try to get the best logo design. They realize that effective branding is the key to their success. Having a great logo helps the company in several ways:

  1. serves as a marketing and promotional tool
  2. distinguishes from the competitors
  3. attracts potential customers
  4. creates an emotional connection with customers
  5. brands the company as providing solutions to consumers
  6. communicates the company’s values

With this type of impact, it is not surprising that logos are this important. But how did logos come to be a crucial part of a company’s success? Read on to learn more.

Understanding the Logo History

All the different lessons and changes from the past are the reason we are in this moment. Understanding the logo history helps to predict the future of branding.

Here is an outline of the evolution of logos:

Early Centuries (BCE)

The early human civilizations displayed an innovative ability to communicate using symbols. Languages used logographic systems. For example, hieroglyphs in Egypt, Cuneiform script by the Sumerians in 34th Century BCE, and Mayan script in the 3rd Century BCE.

Such use of symbols to convey meaning was a precursor to what we see today.

6th Century to 12th Century A.D.

In the 6th Century, the coins used for trading had symbols. Later on in the 12th Century, coat of arms came into widespread use. These were heraldic visual designs used as symbols of achievement.

They were common with knights, royal families or monarchies, and states. People also began using them as a seal on legal documents. Nowadays, we can see this practice in use in company letterheads and stamps.

15th century A.D.

Various states made it a requirement for manufacturers to use silver hallmarks. These were symbols stamped on silver objects. It was a representation of the source of the objects.

Companies today use this similar approach by putting logo designs on their products. Everything you own has a name or logo of the company from where you bought the item.

18th & 19th Centuries A.D.

We write today using the typographic system from the Industrial Revolution. It includes different typefaces such as Times New Roman, Cambria, and Garamond.

This type of logo design came into use by several companies. For example, Coca-Cola had a simple typeface in 1886 called Spencerian script.

After the Victorian Era, the Arts and Crafts movement came in to emphasize a simple but detailed craftsmanship. As an example, in 1898, Pepsi was using a red script on a white surface. Now, it is a circle with red, white, and blue stripes.

20th Century A.D.

Modernism came into being and brought color printing, advertising, use of images and words, visual simplicity and minimalism. For example, in 1978, Nike’s logo was a name and the Nike Swoosh symbol on a blue background.

21st Century

Currently, we are in a postmodernism and post-minimalism era. Companies are using ideograms, symbols, and branding for their logo designs. You can recognize current logos without a name, or with the name in a different color or language. Examples include the Apple logo, Red Cross, or the Nike Swoosh.

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These changes show the importance of companies evolving to relate with their customers better. New logo design ideas are coming up every day. Businesses need to keep up or they will be left behind.

Fill out our creative brief and we will design a great logo for you.

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