We seem to be surrounded by business logos wherever we go. They’re on television, billboards, and splashed all over the internet as well. Logos are what symbolize a business and are often among the most recognized images in many areas. For instance, the golden arches of McDonald’s are always visible from a distance, letting anyone know there’s sustenance nearby.
There’s actually quite a long history of logos in the business world, with the earliest forms being signatures on handmade products. In modern times, a graphic symbol and typography make up most of the business logos. The best types help a business be recognized by its target audience, hence leading to more sales.
Fining out more about the history of business logos may help us in choosing the best for our own ventures. Below is a brief walkthrough of this concept so that we may understand it better:
The word ‘logo’ has its own etymology. It’s the short version or ‘logotype’ or ‘logogram’. Both of these works meant a ‘sign of character representing a word’. Both the root words also come from the Greek term ‘logos’, which mean ‘word’, ‘gram’, or the phrase ‘what is written’.
The first logos originated in the region of Ancient Greece. They were cipher forms that included initials of some name. The design of the cipher was utilized like a monogram that represented rulers, their dynasties, etc. Since they were easy to recognize, these were mostly used for the Greek or Roman coins.
Eventually, the ciphers developed over time and became trademarks for the organizations and individual traders. This was during the 13th century. During the Middle Ages, logos were quickly increasing in number and utility. From being on coins and stalls, they became filigrees, signature marks for blacksmiths, and masonry marks.
At that time, the economy was mostly producing handmade products Hence, the signature or logo was a mark of quality, reliability, and uniqueness. This is the way in which logos started becoming a valuable marketing tool.
The 18th Century
In the middle of the 18th century, the logotype we’re familiar with first appeared in the United States and Europe. The Industrial Revolution was going on at the time, with a lot of emphases on mass-produced goods which were distributed on a national and international level.
Since so many products were mass-produced, certain items manufactured by rival companies started to look similar. Hence, the logo was used to differentiate between the items and hence people make decisions quickly. Logos from the high0end manufacturers quickly also became a way to guarantee quality.
As most people were illiterate at this time, logos allowed them to identify their favorite products with accuracy. Later on, manufacturers also added their brand name to their logos. They also started printing the logos and the names on product packaging.
The 19th Century
The 1800s saw many businesses utilizing logo as part of their marketing and branding strategies. Marcus Samuel was among the first to use logos for this purpose. He was an English entrepreneur who had a business selling shell-covered boxes. As his business expanded, he also started dealing in more valuable items like kerosene, jewels, and oil.
Eventually, his company became an international success and was known as the Shell Transport and Trading Company in the year 1897. Many people around the world are familiar with both the name and the minimalistic logo for this organization. The logo is a simple scallop shell outline, with red and yellow colors making it stand out.
The 1800s also saw another famous logo design. This was the Rock of Gibraltar, used by Prudential Financial, Inc. It was used by the company in 1896 and symbolized security or strength. It’s still widely used all over the world today. Yet another example here is the General Electric Company, which still uses the initials “GE” in a stylized manner.
Now, most businesses use a logo of sorts. Even the humblest startup would have their initials or a meaningful image that they use on several social media platforms. Logos are also utilized as watermarks on pictures that we don’t want to be copied on the internet.
Logos are now indispensable in the business world. Some of the most famous companies in the world are recognized more for their logos than their taglines or names. One example is Apple, where the logo is simply placed on their laptops without the need for an accompanying name. Another is Nike, where just the familiar swoosh is needed to assure customers about a branded item.
Consumers are actually surrounded by logos on all sides. They might not even realize that their spending decisions are somewhat influenced by the shape, color, or familiarity of a logo. The competition in business is getting more difficult every day, and logos are one way to stand out in a crowd.
In order to prevent anyone from copying their logo, companies now have to register it with the proper authorities. No other company can make use of exactly the same logo, as this would compromise sales and confuse customers.
Most of the symbols in ancient logos were taken from major faiths and their religious symbolism. These included images of fish, wings, etc. In the 12th century and the medieval times, logos included coats of arms, heraldic bearings, or shield. The designs on these platforms gave others an idea of the individual, organization, or family they were dealing with.
Now, the symbols of logos could tell us various stories. The images could be a nod to the country where a product comes from, like the Swiss mountain on the Toblerone chocolate bar. It could also have a clever message hidden inside, such as the “31” in the Baskin Robbins logo.
Business logos have certainly evolved into an essential part of modern marketing and business. It’s difficult to think of any company that doesn’t have a logo of any sort. In fact, the logo is usually one of the first decisions for a startup or new venture.