Logos are tricky business – how can we get across a brand message through a simple, singular image that can be used across everything. The perfect blend of modernism and nostalgia is also difficult to strike. Here we look through some of the histories of logo design to see how it evolved and identify the main goals to bear in mind when designing a 21st-century logo. 

Levis logo transformation design branding

Levi’s – embracing its past 

The beauty of Levi’s is how they embrace their past. You can still see their original logo on the back seam of the jeans they sell which communicates how legendary and long-lasting the brand is. They even minimised their brand name from Levi Strauss & Co to Levi’s

Canon logo transformation design branding

Canon – readjusting brand values 

This is a personal favourite of ours. The 1934 logo embodied many values close to the brand, originally a Japanese spelling (“Kwanon”) of a Chinese goddess in Buddhist mythology but when Canon made it big in the US the mythology element didn’t go down as well. Canon then changed its name and logo to a simpler more universal format. ​​

APPLE logo transformation design branding

Apple – extreme makeover

This one is a shocker. It’s hard to imagine that Apple’s logo was anything other than the iconic outline it is today. But in 1976 it was a black and white detailed sketch of Issac Newton sitting under a tree. What is so iconic about the Apple, Inc. logo is that when you see it, you immediately think of Apple products.

Doritos – too much too young 

Doritos’ logo from the 60s is a great example of showing how to avoid buying into the most modern of trends. Sure, your logo looks great for about two years and then all of a sudden it appears dated. The Doritos logo from 1964 uses the trendy, multi-coloured squares around each letter that embody 60s typography but the same logo was used until 1992 when they adopted the triangle shape. This suited Doritos well, not just because it was more relevant to their product, but also because triangles in logo design depict the company as an authority or leader. 

Coca Cola logo transformation design branding

Coca Cola – an immediate classic 

Lastly, we have Coca Cola, arguably the most famous logo on this list. The soft drink’s logo has stayed relatively the same since its beginnings 130 years ago in 1887 but has seen modern updates in its backgrounds, banners, colours and campaigns which keep it fresh and modern while also nostalgic. 

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