In 2019, 4,000 items sold every minute on Amazon in the US alone, and that number has only increased as people have been stuck at home during lockdown. The logo’s yellow tick resembles a smile, which emphasises the company’s focus on customer satisfaction, while linking the letter A to Z symbolises that Amazon sells pretty much everything.
The original logo for Mercedes-Benz was a gold star, but in 1909 the sons of co-founder Gottlieb Daimler replaced it with this three-point version, which is what their late father had used to mark family postcards. Until the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the luxury car manufacturer had seen eight years of consistent annual growth in terms of sales, delivering more than 2.3 million cars in 2019.
Walmart's logo started out with simple lettering when it launched in 1962 with the font chosen by the printer. In fact, many see this as not a true logo. The company switched to a frontier-style logo in 1964 that lasted for 20 years. After a number of tweaks over the years, the current logo with lower-case lettering, rather than all capitals as it had been before, was born in 2008. The yellow 'sparklets' are supposed to represent co-founder Sam Walton’s spark of inspiration to open his first store, and each one stands for one of Walmart’s six key values: customer, respect, integrity, associates, service and excellence.
Inspired by a character in Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, this coffee chain’s founders came up with the name Starbucks as they were setting up their first shop in the city of Seattle, which inspired them to embrace the sea in their branding. Hence the two-tailed mythical creature on the front of every one of their cups. A lot of thought went into how the Starbucks siren could be enticing but not too perfect, and so designers made her eyes slightly asymmetric so that she would look like less of a cut-out and a bit more human.
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This Danish company has inspired generations of kids to get building, from the Star Wars Millennium Falcon to the Taj Mahal – just make sure you don’t step on it…
Nintendo’s logo has been everywhere this year as people have sought escapism through games during the coronavirus pandemic. The “racetrack” outline is a signature part of the company’s branding – it first featured in 1972 on the Autoplayer, which played rhythms on the Nintendo Ele-Conga, a small mechanical drum toy.
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In 2017 Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to explain the meaning behind the logos of his various ventures, and the Tesla “T” is supposed to resemble a cross-section of an electric motor. In 2019, the company delivered nearly 368,000 vehicles – a record for the company – bearing the symbol.
The origins of this particular logo are quite obvious, but when Shell was first founded in the late 1800s, a more true-to-life black and white pecten sketch was used in the company’s branding. Red and yellow were later added to the design to add brightness and as a sign of the Spanish heritage of many of California’s residents.
Facebook is now the world’s largest social media platform, with an incredible 2.6 billion monthly active users (as of the first quarter of 2020). Luckily the original “hot or not” format of Facemash fell away pretty quickly and TheFacebook, which would later become just Facebook, was born. The logo hasn’t really changed since the site was founded, and Facebook’s main colour has always been blue because founder Mark Zuckerberg has red-green colour blindness.
In 1926, Škoda registered the winged arrow logo that it still uses today and it is a symbol of progress and movement into the future. The inspiration for the image is said to be a Native American headdress, but even Škoda itself says that “its origin is veiled in mystery and is a source of many legends”.
This company is the cream of the crop when it comes to ice-cool packaging and jazzy names, so you probably won’t need to phish around for too long to crack this logo…
In the Arabian Nights tales, Ali Baba uses the phrase “Open, Sesame!” to unlock a cave full of treasures. Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce site, liked the similarities between the story and his new business, and so Alibaba was born. The company logo is an "A" containing the portrait of a satisfied customer, which reflects the intention to create positive relationships between buyers and sellers through the marketplace.
Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world in terms of revenue, with annual sales of $51.8 billion (£40.8bn) in 2019. Blue is the most popular logo colour there is, and Pfizer have used it in its pill-shaped company branding.
The name “Pepsi” hails back to the drink’s origins, as “dyspepsia” was another word for indigestion, the ailment that the drink with initially designed to cure. In the 1950s, the red, white and blue colour scheme was first introduced during the wave of US national pride following World War II. The circular shape comes from an earlier logo that was bottle cap-shaped.
Slogans are designed to stick in your mind, and a parodied version of this particular company’s wording even made its way into the 1997 Batman & Robin film…
As Batman takes his credit card in the film, he says that he “never leaves the cave without it”, which is a take on American Express's “Don’t leave home without it” slogan. The first American Express logo was a pit bull terrier with “AM.EX.CO” printed on its coat, symbolising that the credit card company was watching over customers’ money. American Express last updated its logo in 2018, swapping the gradient effect for a solid blue across the square.
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Master chocolatier Lindt tried to emulate its product through the logo’s cursive font, which looks like piped chocolate. The image next to the text is a small dragon, which makes up part of the original Lindt family coat of arms. Lindt say the dragon is there to keep an eye on the flowing chocolate to ensure quality.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest bank in the world, with annual revenues of $110.5 billion (£87bn) in 2018. The shape of the company logo is based on ancient Chinese coins, while “工” is the Chinese character for “work” or “industry” and makes up the first letter of the bank’s abbreviated name “ICBC”.
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