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Top 10 Most Recognized Corporate Logos

Written by: Editorial Staff

September 9, 2011
Filed Under Advertising 


A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logosContributed by Cassie O’Shea, Top 10 Guru

Among the thousands of brand names and logos consumers encounter on a daily basis, a few always stick out and linger on in the consciousness.

Many successful logos have become so recognizable that they have forgone words and letters entirely, relying upon their graphic design alone to inspire instant recognition. The following list represents the most familiar corporate brand designs, easily identified across the world.

10. New York Times

One of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

The New York Times has been delivering news to New Yorkers – and people around the world – since 1851. The news organization has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. The New York Times is the largest local metropolitan paper in the United States, and its website receives 30 million unique visits per month. The paper’s slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” is iconic in and of itself. Branded New York Times merchandise is a status symbol for the cultured and well-read among us.

9. FedEx

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

The FedEx logo was created by Lindon Leader of Landor Associates in San Francisco in 1994. As the company’s suite of businesses expanded, so did its logo, adding different versions for the various additional operating units. Created out of a proprietary font blended from Univers and Futura, the logo is a wordmark with a secret image. The negative space between the letters ‘e’ and ‘x’ form a hidden arrow pointing to the right.

8. Mercedes-Benz

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

Automotive competitors Benz & Cie. and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft merged in 1928 to create Mercedes Benz and one of the most iconic logos in history. Named after the daughter of one of the founders, the Mercedes Benz trademark is based on a simple three-pointed star design symbolizing “domination of the land, the sea, and the air.” The addition of the Benz laurel wreath around the star was added after the merger to symbolize the new collaboration. Today, their cars are easily recognizable without the need for words, simply based on this famous logo.

7. IBM

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

Often called “Big Blue,” this revolutionary computer company is heralded by a simple wordmark design featuring its three-letter name and block lines. The logo used today employs eight bars and was designed in 1972 by graphic designer Paul Rand. It was created to meet the limitations of photocopiers, which had just been invented and put into popular use. The blue color has been used since 1947 as the defining tone of IBM’s visual identity.

6. Starbucks

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

Like many of the logos on this list, the Starbucks design has undergone many changes over the years. Originally based on a Norse woodcut from the 17th Century, the siren was topless at first and displayed a double fish tail. In 1987, her breasts were covered by her hair and her fish tail was cropped, but her belly button remained visible. In the third version, introduced in 1992, her breasts and belly button are completely covered and the tail is barely visible. Earlier this year, Starbucks revealed that they will make further changes by increasing the image size and removing the Starbucks lettering around the siren.

5. Coca-Cola

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

One of the most successful logos of all time was designed by a bookkeeper. In 1885, Frank Mason Robinson created the name and unique cursive form of the Coca-Cola brand. The typeface he employed, Spencerian script, was developed in the 19th Century to reflect the most popular form of handwriting in the United States at the time.

4. Nike

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

The Nike logo has become so iconic that it has its own nickname. Known internationally today as the “Swoosh,” the image was invented by Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University at the time. It was emblazoned on hundreds of Nike running shoes when the new line of Nike footwear made its grand debut in 1972 for the U.S. Track & Field Trials held in Eugene, Oregon.

3. Google

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

The search engine that has become one of the most influential companies in the world has used pretty much the same logo since its inception. In 1998, Sergey Brin designed a digital version of the letters in the Google name with a free program called GIMP. Graphic designer Ruth Kedar then took over, playing with different color variations before settling on the primary colors used today. There is a subtle shift in the color pattern to reflect Google’s independent spirit. Slight changes were made in 2010, adding a bit more orange to the second ‘o’ and a different shading style.

2. McDonalds

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

From Hong Kong to Helsinki, the Golden Arches logo is recognizable around the world. Introduced in 1962, the design was fashioned by Jim Schindler to replicate new signs in the form of arches on the sides of the restaurants. Combining the two arches together formed the highly visible yellow ‘m’ now known across the globe.

1. Apple

A list of the top ten most recognized corporate logos

The most recognized logo in the world is also one of the simplest images. It didn’t start off that way, however. The first logo for Apple depicted Sir Isaac Newton underneath an apple tree. This complicated design was quickly replaced by a rainbow colored apple with a bite taken from it, created by Rob Janoff. The multi-colored version was chosen to represent the human element behind the company and the bite from the apple helped to differentiate it from other fruits. In 1998, the new iMac featured a monochromatic logo, which led to an aqua colored logo from 2001-2003 and a glass themed color to be used since 2003.

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