Simon McArdle

Should A Logo Be Timeless?

How Logos Evolve

We often get asked for a logo design that can stand the test of time. Something that will last forever. I mean, we look at all these “Mega Corporates” and their logos never change. Do they? Well, actually and surprisingly, they do….a lot.

This illustration depicts some of the biggest global brands and highlights the evolution of their logos from humble beginnings to the present day. It might strike you how some of the designs started out looking like their biggest rivals and others appear to of hardly changed at all. Timeless is certainly not the overriding characteristic of most of these early creations.

The evolution of corporate logos.

Often the brand takes a leap forward with the logo design and modernizes to cater to a changing world but this is not always the case. Notice for instance how one or two of the brands seem to take a step back in time to a more retro or vintage style. During the lifespan of a brand there may be certain external factors that make it more appropriate to look back to better times rather than looking forward to the unknown. It´s possible that these backward looking brand changes are influenced by a poor run of results or something else that makes them feel more comfortable with the past. Instead of looking to innovate and take a big stride forward, it might be easier at the time to consolidate and regroup based on previous results.

Tell us what you think of the way these global brands have evolved and whether you think their latest incarnation is an improvement on their starting point.

7 comments so far to - Should A Logo Be Timeless? -

  1. rolf says

    of course there’s lots of logos to choose from, but 3M evolution is essential in graphic design history! could you add it to this lovely poster? thanks! ; )

  2. Mark says

    Brands over time must evolve to stay current with new and old consumers. The degree of change depends on the mid and long term goals set by the CEO and the executive directors.

  3. Jonathan Kitchens says

    I don’t think *timeless* is literally meant to be equated with *eternal*. However, the assertion that you shouldn’t worry about having a *timeless* logo is poor brand marketing. Also, the definition of “change” is being used liberally. The major companies have changed very little in the last 50 years, from Pepsi, to IBM to UPS. They have been tweaked and modified certainly, but a total change is rare and certainly not desirable. Windows is seriously suffering and they have most radically changed their products and in part their look. BMW has essentially kept the same look for nearly 100 years. They could literally pull the 1900s version out and use it on an ad today and people wouldn’t think twice or be confused. I think when we talk about changing a logo its dropping the current one in favor of a totally new concept. That just me though.


Don´t be shy, Join the discussion!