Company logos are one of the most important branding tools. The best ones are easy to identify and easy to remember. Think about Nike: its trademarked “swoosh” is all you probably need to associate the company with its products. The worst business logos are forgettable or even confusing. If you are considering refreshing or reinventing your logo, take a few lessons from the best of the best and the worst of the worst.
The Best Logos We’ve Ever Seen
Apple is one of those company logos that most Americans can spot out of a lineup. It works so well, because it is simple and recognizable. Best of all, this symbol—a graphic of an apple with a bite taken out of it—directly relates to the brand it represents.
McDonald’s golden arches are a classic example of logo design at its best. It is simple, memorable and relates directly to the name of the franchise. McDonald’s large yellow M makes people immediately think of hamburgers and French fries. In fact, this company logo is so good it has gained the power to transcend languages and cultures around the world.
In many ways, Nike’s “swoosh” has become more than a logo. It’s featured on all of Nike’s sneakers, not just its promotional materials. The simple curved line, which represents the Greek goddess of victory, is meant to symbolize speed. Although the design itself is not very exciting, there is no other company logo that looks quite like it.
The Worst Company Logos of All Time
LG’s logo is a good example of branding that tries too hard to be clever and fails. The design features a “G” wrapped around an “L” inside of a giant red circle to create a smiling face. While the logo looks cute, it is not easy to understand at first glance. LG’s logo instead appears more like a jumble of lines.
Through decades of consistent advertising, Pepsi’s logo is one of the more recognizable brand symbols. However, no amount of ad spend can change the fact that this logo doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Essentially, it’s nothing more than three color strips on a circle, which does little to remind anyone of Pepsi or drinking soda.
Toyota is another logo that loses major points for being too complicated. Featuring two oval rings inside of a larger circle, it looks more like a cluttered mess of lines. While the company logo has a deeper meaning (the circles represent the heart of the customer and the heart of the company joined together in a mutually beneficial relationship), the message is lost on the average customer.
Whether a logo is good or bad, it is a quintessential piece of a brand’s marketing strategy.
If you are considering a new or updated logo, remember the lessons of these six companies’ branding: keep it simple; make it memorable; be different.