5 Famous Logos and Their Stories

At The Plastic Card People we understand the importance a logo plays in establishing and maintaining a brands presence, below we look at five famous logos, the history behind them and how they have evolved over the years.


When Starbucks was first starting out in 1971 in Seattle, the owners wanted to come up with a logo that reflected both the city's strong connections with the sea and the seafaring history of its main product, coffee. They searched for ideas in numerous marine books until they came across the image of the siren, which was depicted in a 16th century wood carving.
The Starbucks website claims that the siren had a seductive mystery that convinced the founders to design their logo around her. It claims that she is a muse who provides inspiration to the company.The first logo is quite different from the logo we know today. It was originally brown, and it stayed this way until 1992, when the siren was changed to sit inside a black-and-white circle inside a green circle. Then in 2011, she came out of the circle to take over the logo in a more prominent role. So although the identity of Starbucks has changed over the decades, the siren has always remained an important part of it.


Apple's logo is one of the most famous in the world, and the simple apple with a bite taken out of it seems to have created many myths about what it symbolises. One theory is that the apple was the cyanide-laced apple that Alan Turing bit into to kill himself. Other theories are it represents knowledge and is based on the story of Adam and Eve, or that is was inspired by Sir Isaac Newton.
However, Rob Janoff, who came up with the logo, has dismissed all these theories. He has said that actually he did not receive a brief from Steve Jobs. And rather than representing anything, the bite is just for scale so that when the logo is small it still looks like an apple.
The Newton Crest was designed in 1976 by Ronald Wayne, and this was a far more complex logo featuring Isaac Newton and the famous apple tree. It did not last long and that same year the iconic multi-coloured apple logo was created. It has not changed much since then, apart from its change in 1998 when it lost the colours and became monochrome, and it has stayed this way ever since.


Nike's famous Swoosh logo is one of the most famous logos in the world. So how many millions of dollars did the company spend on it? Actually, it was just $35, which they paid to Carolyn Davidson, who was a university student at the time. To be fair, she was given company stock later on, which is now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It was originally commissioned by Phil Knight who was an associate professor of accounting at Portland State University. Apparently, he was walking past Davidson when he heard her talking about how she could not afford to take a particular course, and he offered her the job of designing a logo for $2 an hour for Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), which Nike was then called.
Apparently he did not like it much at first, but he suggested that it might grow on him.


The famous Coca-Cola logo dates all the way back to 1886 when John S Pemberton finalised the formula of his drink and Frank M Robinson (the bookkeeper) suggested the name. Robinson then also designed the logo, which was written in Spencerian script in black and white.
If you look at the very first version of the logo, it has changed hardly at all apart from the colour. Indeed, perhaps the biggest change came as early as 1890, when lots of swirls were added to the logo, but this change only lasted a year before it reverted to a version more similar to the original.
The logo has undergone various other minor changes over the years. For example, in 1958, the name was changed to white letters on a red background. And in 1969, the white wave was added underneath. In fact, perhaps the most interesting thing about the logo is how little it has changed in such a long period of time.

london underground

The famous London Underground logo know as the 'Roundel' was first used on the Underground in 1908 when it appeared as a solid red circle with the name of the station placed across it. The red circle was later changed to a ring and the symbol was registered as a trademark in 1917.
In the early 1930s as all London public transport started to merge together various versions of the 'roundel' were used for buses, trams, coaches as well as the underground. To this day forms of the 'roundel' with differing colours for the ring and the bar are used for services such as London Buses, Tramlink, London River Services among others.
The 100th anniversary of the 'roundel' was celebrated in 2008 where 100 artists were commissioned to produce works celebrating the design. The 'roundel' truly is a great example of British design.

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