An iconic logo became that way for a reason. Here, I break down what each logo’s story and meaning are and share what insights you can gain from these iconic examples.
Many know that Toyota’s logo forms a “T” for Toyota, but few realize that there is a deeper meaning. The three ellipses within the logo actually represent three hearts. One ellipse is the heart of the customer, another represents the heart of the product. The last ellipses are the heart of progress in the field of technology.
From a design perspective, this is exactly what a business should look for in an abstract logo. Deeper meanings are what make abstract logos great, as they help the logo tie into the brand’s core values.
The meaning and/or story behind the M in McDonald’s varies based on who you ask. The most interesting story I’ve heard has to be the one about their design consultant and psychologist Louis Cheskin.
McDonald’s had a desire to redesign their logo back in the 60’s, but Louis Cheskin advised them not to. What makes the story interesting is his reasoning against the redesign. Cheskin believed that customers would subconsciously recognize the McDonald’s logo as “symbolism of a pair of nourishing breasts.”
I can’t say whether that reasoning is valid or not, but you can’t deny that the McDonald’s logo is one of the most recognizable in the world.
This also highlights an important factor in logo design. You need to understand, and take into account, how people subconsciously perceive your logo.
Few realize this, but BMW actually began as an aircraft manufacturing firm. They only began producing cars and motorcycles because the Versailles peace treaty forced them to stop producing aircraft after WWI. In WWII, BMW again began producing aircraft engines, even making some of the first jet engines during the war!
Why is BMW’s history in aircraft manufacturing and design important? Because it’s such a big part of BMW’s history that it helped shape their logo. Have you’ve ever wondered what the BMW emblem’s blue and white quarters represent? If so, it’s actually meant to look like a propeller in motion.
The white is an aircraft’s prop and the blue is the sky as it peeks through. A very neat logo that is relevant to the history of the company.
The BMW emblem is a perfect example of using simplicity in logo design. They could have made the logo an actual prop, but in making it so simple it’s easy to remember and replicate across marketing materials.
Apple’s old rainbow logo is a great example of a logo that is influenced by the product a company sells. The designer of the old logo decided on the color bars because the color on an Apple computer’s display was much more vibrant than on other computers.
The colors, in this case, were a nod to the brilliant colors on an Apple display.
If you’re working to redesign or create your organization’s logo, don’t forget that a logo can (and should) represent what makes your products and services better than the competition!
The Adidas logo is interesting because originally, their logo had no meaning. The “Three Stripe Company” as they called themselves, simply put three stripes on everything because they could. Even their second logo design, the trefoil didn’t have much meaning.