Famous Brand Logos- Then & Now
Logos are important for any company or organization to build recognition and enable customers to associate with their brands. Apple, Pepsi and Pizza Hut are examples of brands which have well-recognized and famous logos. But were these logos conceived in the very first attempt by these companies? Well, not really! The old logos of these famous companies were surprisingly quite different from now and in some cases, perhaps shocking too. For example, Apple’s first logo wasn’t the classy-looking apple with a bite that we have grown accustomed too but in fact, was an elaborate logo with a painting of Sir Isaac Newton! In this article, we look at some of the first logos of these famous companies and how different they were from their current designs. One can only imagine the iterative journey that their logos went through!
Old Logos of Famous Companies | Logos then & Now
Samsung was founded as Samsung Sanghoe (literally meaning “three star”) as a small trading company dealing in fish, vegetables and groceries. For about 20 years since it was founded, it did not have a logo. In 1958, it came up with its first logo, which had no resemblance with what we have grown accustomed to. With a circle enclosing 3 stars and wheat plants, the logo represented the company’s initial agricultural roots. The company has moved on in leaps and bounds since then and so has the logo.
Pizza Hut was founded in 1958 by two brothers in Kansas, USA. Pizza hut’s logo with the “red roof” is certainly one of the most recognized logos in the world. The first logo designed on the concept of the red roof was launched in 1967. But even earlier than that, from 1958 to 1967, Pizza Hut’s logo featured its mascot Pete holding the words “Pizza” and “Hut” in either hand.
Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. While the now famous “bitten apple” is what most of us have been accustomed to, its first logo back in 1976 was designed by Ronald Wayne and depicted Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. The design did not last long and was soon replaced by a colored apple with a bite (“rainbow apple”) and the multi-hued apple eventually gave way to the monochromatic apple in 2007. By the way, in case you ever wondered why the apple was designed with a bite, it was so that it would not be confused with a cherry!
Nokia has been in operations since 1865 for almost 152 years. The Finnish company was founded as a pulp mill and has been in various industries over the years, such as power, forests and rubber. Its first logo featured the image of a fish, probably inspired by the salmon fish of the Nokianvirta River. Over the years, its design underwent many changes before finally settling on the blue-colored “NOKIA” that we recognize.
Canon was founded in Japan, originally as Seikikogaku kenkyusho (Precision Optical Industry Co. Ltd). In 1934, it made the prototype for ‘Kwanon’, Japan’s first 35mm focal plane-shutter camera. The name ‘Kwanon’ came from the Buddhist goddess of mercy. She is often depicted as having a thousand arms in the Far East which inspired Canon’s first logo. Later, when the company changed its name from Kwanon to Canon to gain greater global acceptance, the logo changed accordingly and underwent a few iterations before settling on the current logo in 1956.
Pepsi was first introduced as “Brad’s Drink” in 1893 in the United States. In 1898, it was renamed Pepsi-Cola after the digestive enzyme ‘pepsin’ and ‘kola nuts’ used in the recipe. The original logo of Pepsi Cola used a scribbled script, which then underwent several modifications in the first half of 1900s. In 1961, when the name changed from Pepsi Cola to Pepsi, it started to shape into the logo that we’ve been used to seeing with changes in 1973, 1991, 1998, 2003 and 2008.
Kentucky Fried Chicken, more popularly known as KFC, was founded in 1930 as Sanders Court and Café. Its name was later changed to Kentucky Fried Chicken as a product from Kentucky was considered exotic. The first logo used in 1952 featured its founder Harland Sanders (as did all other logos that followed) in a rather cartoonish form with a substantially larger face. The logo was updated in 1978 and in 1991, when its name changed to KFC the familiar looking logo in red and white started to take shape.
Amazon.com or simply Amazon was founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, primarily competing with local booksellers. As Jeff Bezos, its founder, envisioned it to be “exotic and different” like the river Amazon, its logo reflected this with a big “A” and a watery texture. After Amazon changed course by expanding its services beyond books in 1998, it came up with a new logo in 2000- the words amazon with an arrow from A to Z to symbolize that customers could find everything they needed at Amazon.