7 Top Logos Explained & What They Stand For

Apple Logo Explained

apple logo explainedThe apple logo is one of the big mysteries to many designers and non-designers as well. This is one of the most famous logos in the world. I conclude that you probably wonder why an apple and why with a bite out of it? First of all let’s start by reminding ourself about the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Furthermore we will consider other probable theories. And finally your eyes will open and see the truth of the matter and the meaning behind Apple logo.

Adam, Eve and an apple

Most of us know the biblical story. Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan to taste the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. Eve gives into satan’s temptation and takes a bite out of it. They both had a taste of knowledge and they eyes were open. They realized they were naked and they were ashamed.

The apple logo story

Are there any other stories with an apple? I think that there are at least two other theories out there to consider as well. An apple is:

  • a symbol of lust and knowledge as in the biblical story of Adam and Eve;
  • a reference to the falling fruit that led Sir Isaac Newton to the concept of gravity;
  • a tribute to Alan Turing, the man who laid the foundations for the modern computer, committed suicide by biting an apple laced with cyanide.

These two additional stories might seem probable as well. But, Rob Janoff – the Apple’s logo designer, ultimately dismissed them all. But the really funny thing was the only direction he got from Steve Jobs is to not make it cute. So there was no specific brief. He also said that he didn’t intend any explicit meaning when designing the Apple logo back in 1977. He admitted consequently:

The bite was simply introduced so it couldn’t be confused with a cherry.

Apple logo explained

So the reason for the bite is crystal clear: it’s there for scale. It was also sort of an iconic treatment, that would ensure the logo burns into people’s mind and becomes memorable. The logo is timeless. Otherwise, how would you explain the fact that the logo hasn’t been changed for over 30 years? It’s beautiful in its simplicity. Hence, I don’t think there is a reason for change in a foreseeable future.

I have another anecdote for you. It may surprise you or not. But this is Rob Janoff’s response to how he designed the Apple logo:

Of course at the time computers couldn’t really do that for me. So I designed the logo by using pencil and paper, glue and cut paper, pens and all that stuff.

Interview with Rob Janoff, designer of the Apple logo.

Amazon logo explained

Amazon logo explainedAmazon.com started off as an online book store. Now, is the biggest online retailer in the US. The amazon logo is well known, not only in the US, but worldwide. Let’s discuss the story behind the Amazon logo design. That yellow arrow is more than just a decorative swoosh. It’s not hard to notice, that the Amazon logo looks like a smiley face. Was it intentional? Of course it was. It emanates with positive vibrations. The smile expresses Amazon’s main mission – to make customers happy. However, there is more meaning to that.

How Amazon got its name

The company was founded in 1994. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com named his business after the Amazon river (the biggest river in the World) in order to suggest scale. He came up with the name by browsing through the dictionary, and settled on “Amazon” because it was a place that was “exotic and different” just as he planned for his store to be. So, amazon.com launched in 1995 with the tagline “Earth’s biggest book store”.

The smiley Amazon logo

Current logo was designed in 2000 by Turner Duckworth and it features a smiling face. But the Amazon logo was redesigned several times previously. Bellow you can see the very previous version (from 1998) and it’s evolution to the current one. As you can see, the smile was introduced as a completely new idea.

amazon logoThe 1998 is simply an underlined word-mark without any special meaning. In the new one, however, a smile was introduced. The smile is at the same time an arrow that points from A to Z. And this treatment further represents the fact that Amazon has a large variety of items to sell. Amazon’s goal is to sell every imaginable product. You can find there everything – the whole alphabet of items.

The smile and arrow say:

We’re happy to deliver absolutely anything, anywhere. From A to Z.

Amazon logo must be one of the most know logos of the web. The logo is very simple, yet it conveys the company’s mission in a very distinctive way. This is a brilliant concept, not only visually but also strategically.

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FedEx logo explained

Fedex logo explainedYou can see FedEx logo everywhere. The logo looks simple and straightforward. Probably you haven’t notice the hidden message though. Maybe at first glance all you can notice is two colors that stands out. And perhaps the bold typeface as well. Sometimes a company logo is more than it first appears. And the Fedex logo is the most relevant example.

The logo was resigned in 1994 by Linden Leader & Landor Associates. The FedEx logo features hidden message. It’s a perfect example of a negative space use. If you’ve never noticed the subliminal symbol hidden in this logotype it’s about time. You won’t look at this logo the same way again.

Hidden arrow in Fedex logo

If you look closely, you can notice a “hidden” arrow. So have a close look at the letters “e” and “x”. Notice the smart use of white space between them. The first original logo however, doesn’t feature anything like that. Therefore it is a whole new idea.
fedex logo history

Other companies use arrows in their logos as well. So arrows are omnipresent. However, this treatment is a unique one. Therefore I must say, that the Fedex logo definitely stands out from its competitors.

The right-facing arrow serves to symbolize FedEx’s speed and accuracy.

The arrow in a negative space promotes company’s fast and precise delivery service. It does so in an uncanny and subtle way which is rarely seen. The arrow represents company’s forward-thinking ways and outlook towards the future.

How FedEx got its name

FedEx was once a tiny delivery company. It was launched in 1971 with its full name “Federal Express”. The main reason behind the original name, was to associate the company with the U.S. Government. This helped Federal Express to catapult itself to the top of the delivery world. People started to call the company FedEx in a shortcut. So the company took it as a new name.

Now, FedEx is the most recognizable logistic company in the world. The famous FedEx Logo is a quality example of sheer ubiquity and inspiring symbology. Fedex logo won many awards for that reason. The logo imprints it’s hidden arrow on millions of unsuspecting minds.

Check my collection of other negative space logos.

Starbucks logo explained

Starbucks logo explainedSeattle’s coffeehouse chain is omnipresent, but what is the meaning of Starbucks logo? What does an image of a bare-breasted female with a crown on her head has to do with a coffee shop? If you ever wondered what does the logo stands for, I will try to explain the origins of Starbucks logo. Bear with me.

Why there is a siren in Starbucks logo?

It’s obvious that the image attracts female customers because it promotes “women power”. The fact that she wears a crown on her head makes her look very glorified. Other than that, she looks happy and confident with only her long locks covering her bare chest. Considering all these characteristics she could be perceived, especially through the eyes of female customers as she is the “head” or above the man. On the other hand, I believe that the image draws in male customers as well by with her seductive, mystery look and sex appeal.

Starbucks logo was designed to reflect the seductive imagery of the sea.

You might be pondering about why Starbucks’s siren seems to be holding 2 fishes. I have news for you: Those aren’t fishes. The lady simply holds her fin-legs so they spread-apart.

Origins of the Starbucks logo

The company was born in 1971 in Seattle, Washington. In search for an image to capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots, there was a lot of browsing through old marine books. The founders finally came across 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid/siren.

starbucks logo origins

There was something about her and the founders immediately knew it was exactly what they were looking for. Starbucks’s logo evolved over the last 40 years but the siren has always been there. She is at heart of Starbucks identity and represents the finest coffee for people all over the World.

Read the full story of Starbucks siren here.

IBM logo explained

IBM logo explainedMany tech companies these days redesign their logos. IBM logo is 43 years old and in this context it’s an ancient scripture among them. But this iconic 8-bar logo is an example of awakening to the power of design in 1950. IBM well known logotype can be seen all around the World, but do you know that the abbreviation really stands for? And why the logo consist of 8 bars?

IBM logo designed in Brooklyn

Current IBM logo was designed in 1972 by an iconic American graphic designer Paul Rand. He understood that a distinguishing mark was essential to a company’s success. Distinctive company logotype is the principal mean of distinguishing one product from that of another he observed. IBM logo is eminent all over the world because of it’s simplicity. The name is rather generic though: International Business Machines.

The word-mark is set in a capital bold typeface and it demonstrate authority in a fashionable way. Blue color was selected, as you may conslude, because it projects strength and dominance of the company. Blue is rather widely used for corporate logos because it is a very “professional” color.

Why 8 horizontal bars?

As there are reasons behind the color selection and the font used, there is also a reason behind the shape and the bars. It’s not just a “differentiator” as you may conclude.

ibm logo

Paul Rand was experimenting with variations of the logo for over a decade. He once said:

I felt there was a problem with the sequence, going from narrow to wide without any pause, without any rhythmic possibility.

Finally in 1972 Rand introduced stripes to establish a better sense of unity in the monogram and suggest a sense of movement. If you look at the logo closely you can also notice that two lower right parallel lines form a sign of “Equality”. Eight horizontal stripes suggest speed and dynamism. The stripes in IBM logo also enhance the beauty and give a distinctive quality to the logo.

And the rest was history as they say. The IBM logo has remained unchanged since then.

Find more about the logo and it’s history on official IBM website.

Gucci logo explained

Gucci logo explainedGucci logo is perhaps the most recognizable in terms of luxury brands. Gucci is a designer fashion label, that produces fashion items, mostly including high end leather goods and clothing.

But have you ever wondered why Gucci logo features double G in it? In fact, there is no double-G in the name but rather double C.

Who founded Gucci?

Let’s dig deeper into the history of this famous luxury brand. We can find out that GG actually represents the full name of its founder. Gucci (or technically named The House of Gucci) was founded in Florence, Italy in 1921 by an Italian businessman and fashion designer.

Guccio Gucci, gucci logo explainedGuccio Gucci

While working in Paris and London in the hotel industry, he was impressed by the guest bringing elegant and luxurious luggage bag. After seeing the luxury luggage, he started a high-end leather shop when he returned to Florence.  Three of his sons joined, Aldo, Vasco and Rudolfo and expanded the company with additional shops in Milan and Rome.

Gucci, with €6 billion of revenue as of 2016 is the biggest-selling Italian brand in the world and the Gucci brand is perhaps the most recognizable and desired luxury brand nowadays.

His son designed Gucci logo

Aldo Gucci, one of Guccio’s three sons, joined The House of Gucci in 1933 and he was the one who designed the actual logo that we can see today. The Gucci logo is artistically designed, and has been timeless and classic since the design took shape. Now It is the most memorable and recognizable fashion logo ever created. The logo symbolizes grandeur and authenticity and is seen worldwide.

gucci_logo_explained_by_ebaqdesign_squareThe shape of the logo could easily apply onto any application. The curve, contrast and spaces between the letter spacing really bring out the information of the brand.

The famous double G logo of Gucci employs the two interlocking, bold “Gs” of the father’s – Guccio Gucci’s – initials in a very artistic and smart way. The Gucci logo has become synonymous of luxury and sophistication.

Gucci, the best brands of 2016

No doubt that in 2016, Gucci is the hottest fashion label on the planet. Some of the biggest names in the rap game like 2 Chainz, Kanye West, & naturally Gucci Mane himself are obsessed with the brand. Here, in New York you can hear people use the familiar rap phrase “it’s all Gucci.” on a daily. Do these notoriously exclusive, elitist brands want rappers in their clothes? Maybe not. But a rapper, as with any consumer, will like what he likes and buy what he wants. And what he likes, he will rap about. If anything rap songs increase the value of brands. In fact, they make items more covetable. What do you think?

Yankee logo explained

Yankee logo explainedThe stylized N and Y interlocking initials are well known not only in the US. The Yankees logo is famous around the globe. As a matter of fact, I can reach back to my childhood memories. I remember when my grandmother sent me the first Yankee hat. All my friends would know what the logo stands for. It was cool to have a hat with the famous NY initials. But did you know that the New York Yankee logo actually predates Yankees?

Designed by Tiffany & Co.

The famous interlocking NY logo was created before Yankee even existed. It first was originally designed by Tiffany and Co. as part of a Medal of Valor for John McDowell, an NYPD officer who was shot in the line of duty in 1877.

The NY cap is a crown

The Yankee cap has become one of the most notable pieces of head-ware in pop culture. No doubt you can spot celebrities, artist, rappers and sport figures wearing a Yankee hat. Of course the Yankee cap is famous because the Yankees are famous. Moreover, they are one of the founding American League franchises and among the oldest franchises in baseball.

Therefore many people want to be associated with a proven winner. In fact, with a popular brand and a famous foreign sports team if they believe it makes them seem hip. So for this reason you can see many celebrities with a Yankee hat on. Ironically however, Jay-z in his song “Empire State of Mind” features the line “I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can”. Find out here if he really does.


NY yankee logo

The Yankee logo before and after

The primary logo was created in 1947 by sports artist Henry Alonzo Keller. The red logo consists of “Yankees” against a baseball. The name is written in a script font and with a bat forming the vertical line of the “k” letter. There is also an Uncle Sam hat hanging from the barrel. The current version of the Yankees logo first appeared in the 1970s. The logo was slightly changed over the years, but mainly stayed the same.

yankee_logo_before_after

Most people probably believe there is only one version of the insignia. Strangely enough, most Yankee fans, in fact probably believe it too. But a guidelines document would clearly show there have been numerous amendments to it’s shape and proportions – many probably only noticeable through the eyes of a designer or when you look at the NY logo closely.

Three Yankees logo versions

Have you ever noticed that the logo actually has 3 different official versions? They differ slightly depending on were they are meant to be used. The first one and the most popular version is used on the caps. The second one is used extensively in marketing and is printed on the stadium. This one is more fancy. Uniquely, the N is larger and more curved, and the letters have large serifs at the end. And finally, to the third one apparent changes were done. This is used on the jerseys. The Y here is larger, the letters more blocky, and the curves more exaggerated.


Yankee logo - cap

Yankees logo cap

Yankee logo - print, stadium

Yankees logo print

Yankee logo - jersey

Yankees logo jersey

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