Design Classics: 5 Brand Logos that Have Stood the Test of Time

22nd January 2018

Being a creative communications agency, we’ve rated, slated and created our fair share of logos over the years. Recently in the office, we found ourselves discussing our favourite logos and naturally got on to the subject of ‘logo longevity’.

While some brands seem to change their logos as often as the seasons, there is a handful of classic, iconic logos which have stood the test of time - albeit with a little tweak here and there.

Let’s take a closer look at five of these long-lasting logos.

 

Twinings Tea

The Twinings Tea logo was designed in 1787 and has been in use since 1887 - which is a very impressive 131 years. The simple, all-black design has proven to be so timelessly stylish that hasn’t had so much as a nip or tuck in over a century. In fact, it even holds a record for being the world’s oldest continually-used company logo.


Stella Artois

There’s a bit of debate as to exactly how old the Stella Artois logo actually is, but one thing we can confidently say is that it has remained relatively unchanged for decades. The eye-catching red and gold colour scheme, coupled with the horn motif have made this logo go the distance despite many changes in management. This is perhaps because the horn itself signifies the name of the brewery where the beer was first created - “Den Hoorn”, which translates from Dutch to “The Horn” in English.


Shell Oil

The Shell logo has had a few ‘facelifts’ over the years, but it has never deviated from its basic premise - a shell, of course! Colour was added to the logo in 1915 and the brand has kept the red and yellow hues consistent throughout the evolution of the logo. The truly impressive thing about Shell’s logo is the fact that today, it is often used without the brand name - showing just how iconic it has truly become.


Nike

Like Shell, the Nike logo has undergone an evolution over the years but has stayed true to its original roots. The iconic ‘Swoosh’ design was created in 1971 and only cost Nike $35 - proving to be perhaps the best ROI in the history of logo design! Designed to portray motion, the swoosh imagery is so strong that it is now able to stand alone without the brand name text to reinforce it.

 

Apple

Last but not least, we come to Apple and perhaps the most easily-identified logo of the early 21st century. The Apple logo hasn’t really changed since 1976 and the very fact that the brand name is actually depicted in the logo gives it a massive boost in memorability. There’s also a dark, yet intriguing legend behind the logo. It is apparently a tribute to Alan Turing (the man who set the basis for what would become computers).


So, does logo longevity matter?

It’s clear that brands like the ones we’ve discussed here are in the minority - with the majority of businesses changing or drastically evolving their logos at one point or another. So, this brings us to the question - how long should logos last?

As you might suspect, there’s no simple answer to this question. It really depends on the brand, the existing logo and market trends & conditions. To help you decide what’s best for your brand, we’ve outlined the case for both below:


The case for logo longevity

  • If your customers can easily recall your logo, changing it may damage brand awareness and recognition
  • If your current logo is working well, why shell out for the unnecessary expense of rebranding
  • If you were to change logos, a segment of your audience may not ‘get the memo’ and select competing brands instead out of confusion


The case for rebranding

  • If your logo isn’t well-known or was poorly designed in the first instance then a refresh shouldn’t do any harm
  • It’s a sure-fire way to get people talking about your brand, but be aware that the change is likely to be met with a ‘Marmite’ response
  • If your company is moving in a new direction or wishes to draw a line under a recent crisis, a new logo can be a great way to symbolise the dawn of a new era


For some further food for thought on this issue, why not carry out some research into how well people can recall your current logo? After all, this is where the power of a logo truly lies.

A fun way to do this is to put your logo to the ‘sketch test’. E-commerce site Signs.com recently ran a logo study where people were asked to draw some of the world’s most well-known logos (including Adidas, Starbucks and IKEA) purely from memory.

Despite the big names, it may surprise you to learn that only around 16% of the drawings submitted were near-perfect! While perfection might be difficult to achieve - the main thing to consider is how closely the sketches resemble your logo overall in terms of imagery and colours.

Whichever route you decide to go down, it’s clear that the decision to rebrand isn’t one to be taken lightly. If you want to discuss whether or not rebranding is right for your business, please contact our Managing Partner, Philip Martin at philip.martin@dma-partners.com.  


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Which logo is your all-time favourite? Are there any logos you’d love to see revamped this year? Tweet us @DMA_Partners and let us know your thoughts.

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