Great Logos of Our Time: Part Two -
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Great Logos of Our Time: Part Two

There are many different ways to convey the essence of your brand with a logo.   One is through an image, or an icon.  Some of these are literal, some abstract . . . but designed to convey who you are, what you do in a single mark.   In today’s blog, am going to take a look at some of the great icon or image-based logos . . . these are brands that are recognized instantly just based upon a swoosh or a dot.

Of course — you only need to say ‘swish’ and everyone knows what I’m talking about: the Nike logo.  Nike launched a new trend with their swoosh . . . it is a logo trend that has been copied innumerable times.   The swoosh logo was designed in 1971 by  a graphic designer named Carolyn Davidson.   The design is supposed to convey the wings of the Greek Goddess Nike, for whom the company was named.  The owners were not crazy about the design but under a tight timeline, so they went with it.   Nike’s brand, is designed to convey the commitment to excellence that exceeds what one thinks they can do . . . embodying the fierce determination and ambition required to reach one’s highest potential.  The swoosh embodies a sense of motion and has become synonymous with the Nike brand . . . it is an invitation to reach for the stars: to just do it.

Another larger than life ‘picture-only’ logo that is known around the globe is the Apple computer logo.   The Apple name and brand was designed as a reference to the story of Adam and Eve . . . where the apple represents the Tree of Knowledge.    A cool name, indeed, considering that the birth of home computers was a movement that has advanced our ability to learn and share knowledge with people all around the world.   The first logo design was perceived to be a bit obtuse, so a designer named Regis McKenna redesigned the logo years later, adding a bite mark to represent the concept of seduction . . . like come on, Apple computers are great, you know you want one!  It was pretty ingenious — using a Biblical reference and then adding the bite . . . as it digs deep into the western psyche, where Bibilical stories have been told for thousands of years.   Apple has lived up to its brand, becoming the most desired and most advanced computer company in the world.

A third great symbol-based logo is the logo for the Olympics.  This logo was designed in 1914 — five intertwined rings, which represent five continents of the world that are willing to engage in healthy competition: America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania (aka Austrailia). According to the Olympic Charter, the five-ringed symbol “represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.   The logo may seem ‘obvious’ given that so many people who are alive today have seen and known this symbol since childhood.  But consider how you would go about representing a world-wide competition of the highest, finest order?  This is not an easy task.  The Olympic logo is both simple and elegant.

Tomorrow we will take a look at logos that use both symbols and words to convey their brand essence.  See you then!






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