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How 4 of the world’s most identifiable logos were created

Posted by Shivali Anand

September 27, 2021    |     4-minute read (694 words)

You see them in the media and on items in the store every day, and you can picture them in your head when you think of companies. A well-crafted logo becomes inextricably linked to the business it represents. As entrepreneurs strive to develop their own logos, it's instructive to look at the efforts that went into developing some of the most iconic logos of our time.

Twitter

When you see the shape of a blue bird, your imagination automatically goes to the corresponding social media company. Twitter and its logo are inextricably linked, and while the Twitter bird has seen a few changes since the company's inception in 2006, it remains a symbol of the brand.

Interestingly, the original blue Twitter bird was artwork sold by designer Simon Oxley on the iStock website in 2006. It was purchased for $15 by a Twitter employee, and the business used it for a few years until the company’s popularity exploded. It was no longer possible to use the iStock picture as an official logo at that point. The company went through several redesigns before settling on the Twitter bird we see today, created by Doug Bowman in 2012.

"Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter," said Bowman, Twitter’s former creative director. That's why, regardless of whether the word Twitter appears anywhere near the logo, we know we're talking about the social media juggernaut.

McDonald's

McDonald's, like Amazon, went through numerous logo redesigns, but now everyone recognizes the iconic golden arches that have been part of the design since 1968. Customers identify a McDonald's restaurant when they see the arches, regardless of what language they speak or where they are. Originally, real arches were part of the restaurant interior design because co-founder Richard McDonald thought they would attract attention from people driving by. After Ray Kroc bought the firm from the McDonald brothers, he changed the logo to represent the famous arches that the chain's patrons were already familiar with. That they could easily be shaped into the letter "M" – matching the first letter in the company name – made the choice obvious.

Although different phrases, such as “I’m lovin’ it,” have been added and deleted from the logo through the years, the fundamental concept of the arches pays homage to the company's beginnings.

Amazon

Like many other companies, Amazon went through numerous iterations of its logo. The earliest was designed when the company was simply known as "Earth's biggest bookstore." When the retailer moved away from books and became known as a "store of everything," CEO Jeff Bezos enlisted design studio Turner Duckworth to revamp its logo.

After sending three logos to Bezos, the firm’s designers said he was immediately drawn to the company name with a yellow line that turned into a smile at the bottom. "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," stated David Turner, co-founder of the agency. When one of the agency's employees proposed putting the logo in front of a focus group, Bezos said, "Anybody who doesn't like that logo doesn't like puppies." Because the smile logo is printed on the side of many of the shipping containers that Amazon ships to its customers, it receives additional exposure, making it a marketing tool that has paid off in spades.

Coca-Cola

It's incredible that a logo can last over a century, yet that's precisely what Coca-Cola’s logo has done. After Dr. John S. Pemberton invented the soft drink in 1886, his bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name Coca-Cola, recognizing the two C’s as a marketing advantage. Robinson created the company's well-known script logo, and the other team members unanimously agreed that it should be the brand's official emblem.

The logo was trademarked with the U.S. Patent Office in 1893, and the red colors were added later in a bid to make it more appealing to customers. The Coca-Cola logo was intentionally designed in a simple manner that allows the business’ name to take center stage. Although the design has an antique feel, it is unquestionably timeless.

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