I read an article the other day about the creation of the iconic Nike “swoosh”, which turned 40 this past July. A young design student, Carolyn Davidson, presented a half a dozen options, none of which captivated anyone “so it came down to which was the least awful.” And just like that, an icon was born.
This story reminded of other great brand logos whose beauty lies in their simplicity. Take for example BMW’s circular blue and white logo, a symbol for “sheer driving pleasure.” Or Apple’s iconic logo with its simple, cool –and delicious– look which says: I’m fun and innovative and you are special,’ wink, wink. And of course there’s that young brand, too young to have much of a history, whose logo is fast becoming one of the most recognized and iconic in the world.
Looking at the evolution of the logos of 25 brands, it’s interesting to see that most of them are simple and while some started out a little more embellished, over the years they’ve cleaned up substantially. In fact, it seems that as brands become stronger, their logos become simpler.
But great brands are more than just pretty logos. Stanley Hainsworth, Tether CCO and former creative director at Nike, Lego, and Starbucks, believes that great brands must have a story. “Companies without a story are companies without a soul,” he says. In an interview (below), he mentions Microsoft as a company without a story and without a soul. Indeed, the Microsoft brand does not seem to connect to people on a personal level as most of their products are often imposed by large organizations on their employees, who have no choice but to use them. When choosing for themselves, many prefer Apple.
Through their iconic logos, great quality brands capture the imagination of millions of loyal consumers who love and want their products no matter what. Apple’s loyal customers will stand in line for the latest iPad or iPhone regardless of price, negative reviews, or whether they need them or not. They love all things Apple. They believe the company cares about them as much as it cares about profits. They are soul mates. They “get” each other…