Year Company Founded: 1940
Year Logo Introduced: 1940
Logo Designer: Jim Schindler (1962)
Company Founders: Richard McDoland, Maurice McDonald
When McDonald's first emerged, the company was known as "McDonald's Famous Barbeque," hence the 1940 logo that fittingly featured the name of the company with two parallel lines emphasizing the "Famous." In 1948, the company was renamed "McDonald's Famous Hamburgers," and from 1948 to 1953, the company logo featured a slightly creepy animation of a cook. In 1953, McDonald's introduced Speedee as the mascot for the franchise, and he remained until 1960 when the Golden Arches were born. Stanley Meston, the man behind the Golden Arches, drew on the architecture of the McDonald's restaurants at the time for his design of the two arches forming an "M" with a dash cutting across.
In 1968, the company simplified the "M" and turned the "McDonald's" logotype black, creating an almost Halloween-like color scheme, which would stay in use until 1983. In 1983, the logo was transformed into what is now associated with the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants. Atop a red background, the logotype became white, and the arches went back to being golden. In 2003, "i'm lovin' it' was added below the golden "M," a slogan that was translated into various languages and went on to be splattered all over the company's packaging and restaurants. Part of a "Forever Young" redesign in 2006, McDonalds introduced its most simplified logo of all time, a plain and iconic golden "M" that suffices as a symbol for the company world-wide to present day.
Year Company Founded: 1926
Year Logo Introduced: 1902
Logo Designer: Gottlieb Daimler (1909), Henrion Ludlow Schmidt (1989)
Company Founders: Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler
6. Mercedes Bends
The original DMG (Daimler Motors Corporation) logo, introduced in 1902, did not feature the now iconic three-pointed star, but was a logotype of "Mercedes" in an oval. Mercedes was a product name selected by DMG, inspired by founder Gottlieb Daimler's daughter's name. Seven years later, in 1909, Daimler, registered a three-pointed and a four-pointed star as trademarks of the company. Of course, it was the three-pointed star that was selected as a symbol for Daimler's ambitions for motorization "on land, on water, and in the air," and from 1910 on, every DMG car had a 3D three-pointed star adorning its radiator. In 1916, the three-pointed star became surrounded by a ring, bringing together the current Mercedes-Benz logo concept. Nonetheless, from 1916 to 1921, the logo featured an inner ring, which encompassed the logotype "Mercedes." The now iconic sleek silver star, with a simple ring surrounding its tips, was introduced in 1921, only to be replaced with a design reminiscent of the 1916 design. In 1926, following the merger of DMG and Benz & Cie. to create the modern day Mercedes-Benz brand, the new company introduced a logo which was a morphing of the two companies' logos. The 1926 design incorporated the DMG three-pointed star and the laurel wreath of the Benz logo. The words "Mercedes" and "Benz" were placed around the inner circle, which now encompassed the star. Mercedes-Benz stayed with the 1926 logo until 1996 when they returned to the sleek and simplified DMG design of 1921, bringing the company to its current iconic logo.
Year Company Founded: 1893
Year Logo Introduced: 1898
Logo Designer: Gould & Associates (1967), Landor Associates (1996), Arnell (2008)
Company Founder: Caleb Bradham
Caleb Bradham, the founder of the company, scribbled a design which would become the logo for the company. The design was changed only slightly until 1962 when the word "cola" was dropped, and it just became Pepsi. The logo was a bolded "Pepsi" with a red, white, and blue bottle cap in the background. The logo was modernized 5 times from 1971 to 2005, each time becoming more sleek and defined.
Year Company Founded: 1976
Year Logo Introduced: 1976
Logo Designers: Ronald Wayne (1976), Rob Janoff (1977), Landor Associates (1984), Apple (1998, 1998-2007)
Company Founders: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne
The Apple logo began with an intricate design by co-founder, Ronald Wayne, and was inspired by Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity, incorporating the Wordsworth quote, "Newton..a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought...alone," and featuring the words "Apple Computer Co." Instructed by Steve Jobs to replace the complex design with something not "too cute," Rob Janoff created the 1977 logo featuring a rainbow-striped apple illustration and the word "apple." It was supposed to appeal to young people and highlight the computer's unique ability to reproduce colors. The 1977 logo also featured the now iconic "bite" taken out of the apple, which was supposed to distinguish the illustration from a cherry.
In 1984, coinciding with the release of the Apple Macintosh, the company decided to simplify the logo to the lone apple, thinking it iconic enough without the accompanying word. Since 1984, the company has tweaked the design of the Apple logo, modifying colors and shading, though it has never steered away from the now distinctive symbol of the company.
Year Company Founded: 1903
Year Logo Introduced: 1903
Logo Designer: Childe Harold Wills (1907)
Company Founder: Henry Ford
Ford Motor company was actually Henry Ford's third automobile company. The first went bankrupt, and he left the second, which went on to become Cadillac. The original logo for the Ford Motor Co. was an embellished circle with the location and name of the company. It was changed to the famous blue oval in 1927 with the release of the Model A.
2. Coca Cola
Year Company Founded: 1886
Year Logo Introduced: 1886
Logo Designer: Frank Mason Robinson (1887), Lippincott & Margulies (1968), Desgrippes Gobe & Associates (1998), Turner Duckworth (2009),
Company Founder: John Pemberton
The Coca-Cola logo was created by Frank Mason Robinson, John Pemberton's bookkeeper, in the Spencerian script typeface, which was the principal style of formal handwriting at the time. In 1890, the company re-designed the logo to be more complex, featuring swirls and what appear to be cherries hanging from the "Cs" of "Coca-Cola". Of course, the logo did not stick, and we still see Frank Mason Robinson's design on every Coca-Cola product for what has become one of the world's most recognizable brands.
Year Company Founded: 1964
Year Logo Introduced: 1971
Logo Designer: Carolyn Davidson (1971), Nike (1978, 1985, 1995)
Company Founders: Bill Bowerman, Philip Knight
First founded as Blue Ribbon Sports, an import company, Nike did not come into existence until 1971, when the company expanded into the production of their own sports footwear. The now iconic Nike "Swoosh" was selected half-heartedly by co-founder Philip Knight who said "I don't love it, but it will grow on me."
Carolyn Davidson, who at the time received only $35 for her work, was inspired by Nike, the namesake Greek goddess of victory, to create the Swoosh which implied movement and speed. Updating the logo in 1978, Nike opted for a bolder, all-caps font and a slight re-positioning of the Swoosh. The Swoosh went on to become one of the most iconic images in the world, so much that in 1995 the company chose to remove the brand name of the original design, leaving the Swoosh as the sole symbol of the company.