Monday 28 October, 2013

The World’s Most Recognized Logos and What Makes Them So Effective

A major part of any company’s branding is its logo. It’s not an exaggeration to say that your logo can make or break you. A logo is instantly recognizable to your customers and it immediately conveys a message or feeling about the products you offer.

A good logo is simple, clear and flexible. It communicates immediately and sticks in people’s brains. Let’s consider some of the world’s most recognizable logos and try to figure out what makes them work.


Apple is the world’s most valuable brand. Its logo couldn’t be simpler – it’s the outline of an apple with a bite taken out of it. This is brilliant because it’s simple but also flexible. It can be altered in a number of ways. If you do a Google image search for ‘apple logo,’ you’ll see it in black, white and every color of the rainbow (in fact, you’ll see a rainbow version). It looks good however it’s presented.


Google is another logo that’s clean and simple, but there’s one major difference – text. The Google logo is just six letters in a fairly simple font that are all different colors. Like the Apple logo, the Google logo is great because it’s flexible. It can be dressed up many different ways to commemorate occasions like the Olympic Games or times of year like the Christmas holidays.


Coca-Cola’s logo is one of the oldest we still know today. The original version used a standard type-face of the time, but later it was given its swishes and swirls. These added adornments gave the letters a sense of motion, which goes along well with the image of cola in our minds. It’s simple but conveys the taste of the drink. The color red suggests excitement.


What’s more iconic than the golden arches? Just the sight of the big golden M makes your mouth water. The design is simple and the colors, red and yellow, both convey excitement. These are supposedly colors that stimulate the appetite, but the science still isn’t quite together on that. Still, the psychological effect is there – when you see the golden arches, you think of burgers and fries.


The Nike swoosh is one of the simplest and most famous logos in the world. The swoosh suggests running and athleticism. Somewhat resembling a wing, it hints at movement and speed. It used to include the word Nike, but it no longer needs it. This simple and memorable logo is recognized immediately the world over. It’s funny to consider that the design was commissioned for $35 and at the time, founder Phil Knight famously said, ‘Well, I don’t love it but maybe it will grow on me.’

I Love New York

Finally, there’s the ‘I Love New York’ logo, with a heart for the word ‘love.’ This is a great design because it’s not only cute and simple, but also timeless. It was designed in the 1970s but it could’ve been designed yesterday.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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