Logos

Let’s be blunt: logos are hard. Everyone has an opinion on what defines a great logo, and, typically, no one defines greatness the same way. Graphic designers are hired, and samples are created and distributed. Everyone looks for that “aha” moment; the logo that jumps out and says, “I embody everything this business stands for.” Rarely does that aha moment come, and eventually a sort of fatigue sets in (“I could live with that one”; “I frankly can’t tell the difference between these two”), and a logo no one loves, but few hate is settled upon.

Other times, the process is less structured. For instance, the Newbury Comics logo (and this may be apocryphal) was created by founder, Mike Dreese’s, young daughter. No committee here, and it’s certainly served the company well over the years.

Well, I’d guess that the exact opposite of the Newbury process took place to create the new Wal-Mart logo. I can only imagine the amount of time and money that was spent to create this logo:

Then first thing you notice is that it’s no longer Wal [hyphen] Mart. Now Walmart is all one word (no mixed cases, either). I suppose that is to make it appear “friendlier”; sort of like a first name. The second thing you see is the huge asterisk at the end. I’d guess the designer was going for some kind of explosion of radiant light type deal. To me it just looks like a huge asterisk of the type you’d use to signify that there is more information in a footnote.

To see the progression that got Wal-Mart…er…Walmart to this place, here is the history of their logo:

I personally like the first one (1962-1964).

So…Logos are hard. Logos are important. But, my experience is that the company will sort of define the logo. No company is great because they have a great logo, and no company fails because their logo sucks. Additionally, as is seen from Walmart’s “development” of their logo, logos change. Need more proof? Here’s Apple’s original logo:

So, don’t spend too much time or money on developing a logo. Create something you can live with, and go out and build a great company.

[Thanks to Daring Fireball for the inspiration and links.]

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  1. Trachelle Henneman’s avatar

    The Coca-Cola logo is genus for the fact that the company’s logo is the name of its most popular product. The logo has managed to stay the same over so many years while still remaining modern and current. Whether red , black or white, the Coca- Cola logo can be found and recognized around the world.
    http://www.coca-cola.com/template1/index.jsp?locale=es_SV

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  2. Elisa Escoto’s avatar

    I personally find the Chiquita Banana logo to timeless and a part of my history. In fact, when I was younger, I used to believe that bananas were grown with the Chiquita label on them. I thought all bananas where Chiquita bananas. Also, that logo serves to remind people of the whimsical fun eating a banana can be. The dancing girl is very tropical, very fruity, and very whimsical. Wow, fun bananas. So look for the blue, dancing women and you got yourself a good, safe, healthy snack.

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bevnet.com/directory/images/200612131139140.CHIQUITA.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.bevnet.com/directory/listing/2053_Chiquita_Fresh_Ingredients.asp&h=607&w=489&sz=22&hl=en&start=6&um=1&tbnid=7Z9aOTIi3DtYvM:&tbnh=136&tbnw=110&prev=/images%3Fq%3DChiquita%2BBanana%2Blogo%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DG

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  3. Brian Gallino’s avatar

    There’s no doubt that original Apple Logo suffers from many things, both marketing and aesthetically, but I feel the current Apple logo to be a very comforting sign. I dont even think of the fruit at all when I see it, rather I think of the new products and great services they offer. I really think it is a good way of showing who you are even without the name of the company. Especially the way they’ve incorporated it into their products. Like their keyboards, think of all the times you tell someone to Apple-C to copy something. The new sleek silver Apple is a great match for the products they create.

    Old School: http://mac.blorge.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/apple-logo-think-different11.png

    2008: http://andersonshatch.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/3d_apple_logo_102.jpeg

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  4. Ana Ochoa’s avatar

    It could be that I am an avid dart player, but I’ve always liked the Target logo. It’s a symbol you instantly recognize without having to read. Everyone can pretty much tell it’s Target when they see the symbol. They also are strongly linked to the red and white. You can tell a target ad on tv or a magazine, newspaper, etc. just from the color use most times.
    http://www.target.com/
    (top left)

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  5. George Gekas’s avatar

    I believe that the Target Company logo is a great logo for a company. It is very direct and to the point, and leaves absolutely no room for suggestion. It just happens to work out great when the name of the company can actually be created as a symbol to visualize and represent a company. The target logo is just one of those images as soon as you see it you know exactly what it is. When you see the red and white you know what is being portrayed. Thats what makes a great logo

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/stylephile/target400.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/stylephile/2008/03/go_target.html&h=400&w=400&sz=28&hl=en&start=5&um=1&tbnid=vcynPRx5_1j40M:&tbnh=124&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtarget%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN

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  6. Kate Rafferty’s avatar

    Recently Starbucks has changed their logo from the green cartoon like mermaid to a more traditional storybook mermaid. The colors have been changed from green to brown. Many have had a bad reaction to the new logo because of the nudity on the mermaid but I personally like the new one. It is more sophisticated and is giving starbucks a new look. After so many years of business it may have been time for a new look.

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