25 of the Best Logos to Learn From
Great logos don’t happen overnight. Yes, you can create your own logo using amazing color palettes and impressive typography, but without credibility and authenticity behind your brand, your logo may as well be meaningless. It is the combination of actions, brand values, tangible products and services and how they shape consumers minds over time that truly creates a memorable and iconic logo. Of course, looking great can’t hurt either.
When done right, logos can become a part of your consumers’ day-to-day lives, set trends and even influence pop culture. Whether you’re just starting out, going through a rebranding process, or simply curious about logo design, we’ve compiled a list of the 25 best logos to get you inspired.
No ‘best logos’ list can be complete without including the renowned Apple symbol, which is certainly one of the most recognizable and trusted logos (and companies) of our time. The bitten apple design as we know it today was first created by designer Rob Janoff in 1977 as a redesign of the original logo created in 1976 which depicted Isaac Newton under an apple tree.
In its first composition, the apple-shaped logo had bold rainbow stripes as Apple had just launched the first home computer displaying color graphics. It wasn’t until the launch of the iMac in 1998 that the logo was shifted to all black—a sleeker and more modernized version, which today appears in gray.
According to Janoff, he strategically designed the apple with the bite to differentiate it from appearing like a cherry, especially when scaled to a smaller size—an important thing to remember when designing your logo. Simple, effective and instantly noticeable, it is one of the most famous logos in the world and synonymous with their products and brand identity.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, or what language you speak, the unmistakable Nike swoosh can be identified anywhere. Arguably one of the best logos of all time, it was incredibly designed by Carolyn Davidson, a student at the time who was paid a total of $35.00 for her design (don’t worry, she has since recouped on her work).
An abstract mark logo that uses a clean check mark shape, the design symbolizes movement and speed, and wholly embodies exactly what the brand is all about. It is said that Davidson also crafted the logo to resemble a wing in honor of the Greek goddess of victory for whom Nike is named after. While the logo design was not an immediate hit, after years of successful branding efforts, Nike’s logo has become synonymous with innovation, inspiration and sportsmanship.
You may not know this, but there is a hidden image inside the notable FedEx logo that once you’re aware of, you cannot unsee. Tucked neatly between the negative space of the ‘E’ and the ‘x’ you will see an arrow which epitomizes the brand and their values. It’s an example of an emblem logo that is so uncomplicated, the genius is in its simplicity.
Created by Lindon Leader, the great logo has won multiple awards and was even included as one of twenty designs that defined the modern world. The FedEx logo is also a great example of how negative space can be used effectively in logo design to convey a brand message. Other well-known logos that use the same concept include NBC, the Bronx Zoo and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, all of which use negative space in a powerful and creative way.
Easily one of the best logos out there, the discernible Twitter logo has gone through a few variations to appear as the beloved little bird we all see on our social feeds today. Since Twitter’s debut in 2006, their logo has undergone several redesign iterations, from their initial wordmark logo (in an unexpected green palette) to the one we all know and love today, a blue pictorial logo of just the bird. What may surprise you is that ‘Larry the Bird’ is named for Boston Celtic’s player Larry Bird.
Even our feathered friend has had a few makeovers, and the simplified version that is used to this day was designed by Douglas Bowman in 2012 to depict a mountain bluebird. No longer dubbed Larry, he is just known as the “Twitter Bird”, this logo perfectly expresses the brand voice and message (without needing to worry about a character count).
Here’s a logo example that hits a bullseye every time—Target. The eminent brand mark logo is effective both because of its unmistakable red and white color scheme, and it’s clear-cut design approach. Powerful, unambiguous and hard to miss, it is one of the best logos because of its simplicity.
Furthermore, Target’s logo perfectly communicates the vision behind the brand and literally ‘hits the spot’ by conveying their goals and objective to “Expect More. Pay Less”.
One of the best symmetrical logo examples, the Shell brandmark is the heart of the company’s identity. Known as the Pecten, according to Shell it is the “physical embodiment of what we stand for, and of how our brand has evolved over time. When the ‘Royal Dutch Petroleum Company’ and ‘Shell Transport and Trading’ merged in 1907, the latter’s brand name and symbol (Shell and the Pecten) became the short-form name and emblem of the new Royal Dutch Shell Group, and has remained so ever since”.
The classic shell has gone through several variations over the years but always upholds the brand values and maintains consistency using the same recognizable red and yellow color scheme. One of the strongest multinational oil and gas companies, Shell’s logo is a huge part of their branding and business success.
07. Toys R Us
Bright and easily identifiable (most specifically by children), the Toys R Us logo is noteworthy for its bold colors and the prominent backwards "Я" that is hard to miss. An excellent example of a logotype, the current form has undergone several changes since its humble beginning in 1948, starting out as “Children's Discount Supermarts / Supermarkets''. It wasn’t until 1957 that the name Toys “R” Us came to fruition.
Although the backwards "Я" character is actually borrowed from Cyrillic script and is common in Slavic languages, it was intended to evoke a childish and lighthearted image, as if a child had written it themselves. Over time the logo colors have changed, included a star around the "Я" and changed the typeface for a smoother one, but the core of the brand identity has always remained the same. Logo success aside, Toys "R" Us, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2017, although it is believed to be making a 2021 comeback.
Unmistakably bold, some say that the Supreme logo, which uses Futura typeface in a red rectangle, is a knockoff of 1970s artist Barbara Kruger. This is a hotly debated discussion that has sparked many controversies, especially since Kruger’s work was rooted in anti-capitalism and ironically became a status symbol and street culture phenomenon for the brand.
Supreme has managed to maximize on their street-cred and expand into all types of products and collaborations with major labels like Nike and Louis Vuitton. It is a great example of how logos and symbolism affect culture and influence our buying decisions.
What started as the Interbank Card Association in 1966 has now evolved into the notable red and orange Venn-diagram (or interlocking) circles that we all know as the Mastercard logo. A great example of a logo that has gone through very minimal and subtle changes throughout time, it’s the consistency and straightforwardness that make it so iconic.
The logo has maintained its color scheme throughout its various adaptations (with slight hue adjustments), and in its most current form is known as the “Mastercard Symbol” and appears without any text. The symbol immediately speaks to both businesses and consumers, as the recognizable emblem that indicates where payments can be accepted in both digital and physical stores.
10. London Underground
Whether you’ve visited London or not, chances are you can recognize the double-decker buses, the London Bridge and, of course, the London Underground logo. With attempts to copy or imitate this logo design across the world, it is truly one of a kind and a perfect example of geographic branding.
Known as the Roundel, this logo design which includes a red circle with a blue bar across the top came into existence in 1908, when separate companies operating the train system wanted to consolidate their image into a united brand. In 1913, the Johnston or Johnston Sans typeface was designed by Edward Johnston to solidify the transportation corporate image.
To this day, the London Underground logo embodies the transportation services of the city and is internationally identified as an icon of the city.
Some may argue that the Tesla logo looks like different things (a fancy T or even a cat nose), but according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk, “Similar to SpaceX, the T is like a cross-section of an electric motor, just as the X is like a rocket trajectory”.
What makes the Tesla brand colors so compelling is the combination of robust gray and passionate red paired with sleek modesty that creates an opulent feel. As a brand that exudes luxuriousness and innovation, Tesla’s futuristic logo has succeeded in representing what the company is all about.
What once started as a side hustle to help pay rent has since turned into a global brand that changed the face of travel and hospitality. Striving to create a logo that perfectly captured not only their brand identity, but also their brand values, AirBnb wanted a unifying symbol that could be recognized in any language or location.
What makes Airbnb’s logo so unique is that it is just as important for their brand as it for their users. They wanted homeowners who were opening their houses to guests to feel a sense of pride and trust when working with the logo.
Known as the Bélo, the symbol that the company refers to as “the universal symbol of belonging”. An inclusive and modern design, it is an example of a minimalist logo that actually contains a combo of four other symbols (a person’s head, a heart, a location pin drop and the letter A) to neatly tie together the core ideas behind the brand.
With a design that is both admired and considered a chic status symbol, the Chanel logo is worthy of being called one of the best. Like the timeless elegance and style of the French fashion house, the Chanel logo has never changed and exudes the same refinement as the founding designer herself—Coco Chanel. It is believed that the two interlocking, opposite facing C’s represent her name.
Just like her fashion designs, the monochromatic logo mimics the same effortlessness. It also echoes the geometric shapes and clean lines used in all the brand's designs (seen in some of the label's most iconic bags of all time, for example).
The luxury black and white logo that uses a customer Chanel logotype (using only capital letters) appears in two forms, black text on a white background, or the reverse white text on a black background. Regardless which version is used, it is always en vogue.
It’s almost as if you can smell the coffee or hear a barista mispronouncing your name when you see this notable logo. Synonymous with their innovative branding, Starbucks has greatly changed the way in which we drink our coffee. And while the original logo had undergone a few changes since the start, the same basic idea has remained. The emblem logo which contains a twin-tailed mermaid, also known as a Siren from Greek mythology, has become an icon.
Perhaps it is the friendly green and white color palette or the slightly imperfect face of the mermaid that makes the logo so memorable, and easily one of the most identifiable logos in the world. The most recent version of the logo design no longer uses the wordmark inside the circle or the stars that used to sit on either side, but rather a simplified version that puts the Siren front and center.
We all know the memorable catchphrase, “Once you pop, you can’t stop” but what about the cherished Pringles man in the logo? A perfect mascot logo example, known as “Mr. Pringle”, he is the loveable spokesman for the brand who was first designed in 1967. His facial features and hair have gone through several changes since the beginning, while his mustache has always remained intact (except for a one time shave in support of Movember).
In 2020, Mr. Pringle got a “make under” following the logo trend of simplifying designs that we’ve seen in other brands like Uber and Netflix. The minimalist version of Mr. Pringle has lost his hair, but gained eyebrows and his bow tie is slightly more refined. Additionally, the wordmark has remained but has been made smaller.
Unfortunately, the new Mr. Pringle was not well-received, with consumers preferring the original version of the logo. Regardless of the slight backlash, there is no harm in updating your logo (it is recommended to consider every 5 years) to make sure that your brand appears fresh and updated. Having said that, consistency is always key, meaning you should consider subtle adjustments here and there rather than a complete rebrand.
CNN, which stands for Cable News Network, began operating in 1980, and their distinct lettermark logo has remained almost unchanged since its original design. The fact that the news channel has hardly changed their logo in all these years is an intentional branding decision, aimed to reflect the consistency and stability of their reporting.
Designed by Anthony Guy Bost, the stand-alone lettermark logo for CNN is bold and unmistakable, pairing a bright red hue with a custom rounded typeface. It is simple, timeless and continues to represent the news channel as an authority in global reporting.
The Canadian apparel brand Roots Canada, more commonly known as just Roots, is as iconically Canadian as maple syrup or hockey. The brand’s logo is a combination mark logo that pairs a wordmark and a pictorial mark together into the same design. The distinguishing design includes a Beaver, the quintessential animal native to Canada, along with Cooper Black typeface.
Designed in 1970 by Robert Burns and Heather Cooper, the logo has become analogous with Canadian culture. A similar beaver logo is used for Parks Canada, the government run conservation agency which only further supports Roots, a brand known for their support of sustainability and environmental issues, promoting products made locally within Canada.
If you see three parallel stripes it's hard not to think of Adidas, which actually has three versions of their geometric logo. Originally called “Dassler Shoes'', the global sports brand has a complex history and is intrinsically tied to a rival brand, Puma. In fact, the two brands are owned by brothers, Adidas by Adolf Dassler and Puma by Rudolph Dassler, and have been in a quarrel for over 70 years.
The brand, which originally started with sports shoes, had placed three stripes on the side of all shoe models, including the pair famously worn by runner Jesse Owens, winner of the 1933 Olympics. It was only in 1971 when the new trefoil Adidas logo was introduced, which maintained the same three stripes but now represented North America, Europe, and Asia, where the brand’s products were sold. There are two more versions of the three-striped logo which include the “mountain” shape and the circle.
While the logo has had its revisions, the three stripes which epitomize the brand have always remained. Adidas has an unmistakable brand identity, and brand loyalty from their global consumers. In the same line, their consistent logo design is minimal and powerful and has become an influential symbol.
19. Xbox 360
Since branding is just as evident on digital platforms, the idea of 3D logos continues to gain momentum. 3D logos are eye-catching and literally jump out to consumers, making them a powerful choice for various brands. One such example is the Xbox 360 logo, which has undergone many updates, just like the gaming console itself.
Although there have been subtle changes, the notable “X” has always remained. It was in 2001 when the “X” was given a three-dimensional look using a green gradient on a white background. In 2005, the logo wordmark was simplified to a sans-serif typeface and the “X” was placed inside a sphere. The same basic logo concept has stayed intact since then, with adjustments to the color palette.
However, in 2019 the logo was modified again. Today, the Xbox logo appears only in black, a drastic change from the familiar green it used for so many years. It is an up-to-date and simplified version of the original which appears sleeker and more powerful while also staying fresh and relevant.
20. Hilton Hotels
When it comes to the hospitality industry, having a recognizable logo is an essential part of branding and marketing. If tired travelers are looking for a place to rest, they scan for a symbol that instantly makes them feel calm and safe. As one of the largest hotel chains in the world, Hilton is a preferred choice amongst business and leisure travelers.
The Hilton emblem logo as we know it today has gone through several redesigns since its first debut in 1948. The first version was vastly different from today’s simplified emblem, which included a golden crest paired with cursive lettered typography. In 1967 a new logo was born which featured a geometric “H” shape in a monochromatic palette.
Through several changes, today’s Hilton branding still includes an “H” emblem but with a more modern and sophisticated feel. Perhaps one of the most influential elements of the Hilton logo is its color, as the blue palette evokes calmness and trustworthiness. In 2010 Hilton made an adjustment to the hue, making it more contemporary and subdued.
21. General Electric
One of the most powerful brands in the world, the famous GE monogram is easily one of the best logos to exist. Founded in 1892, it was the company’s second version of the logo designed in 1900 that continues to be used today. The famous monogram sits inside a circle to create a medallion which is easily identifiable.
The only changes that have been made to this great logo over the years include slight size adjustments, and altering the “curliness” of the cursive typeface, specifically within the letter ‘E’. Additionally, in 2004 the badge got a slight update with a refreshing shade of blue, compared to the traditional black scheme. The new blue and white logo immediately evokes trust and dependability, two of the brand values that are elemental to the company.
Colorful, playful and a well-known tech logo, the messaging app for business Slack has one of the best modern logo designs out there. The company famously received some criticism for their logo redesign which they explained in a press release, stating they wanted to create a more cohesive identity and reassuring their users, “It’s still us. We’re still Slack. But more consistent and, we hope, more instantly recognizable”.
What makes the slack logo unique is the use of multiple colors, given that the general rule for logo design is to limit yourself to three colors. Slack uses blue, yellow, green and red, paired with aubergine-purple, white or black backgrounds.
The original logo used 11 colors, so using a “less is more” approach with a re-imagined octothorpe (also known as the hashtag), acclaimed graphic designer Michael Beirut was a key part of the company’s rebrand. Love it or hate it, the company stands behind their brand identity and proudly uses their logo everywhere.
23. Corona Extra
You may have a different association with the name now, but we are of course talking about Corona beer. The light Mexican lager that is known for it’s “life’s a beach” vibe, carefree attitude and the quintessential wedge of lime, has one of the best and most recognizable logos.
Using a contrasting color palette of blue and yellow, the Corona beer logo uses clean lines and an unmistakable Gothic typeface. The obvious crown that sits atop the work mark is related to the beer name, Corona, which means crown in Spanish. It also pays homage to the crown on top of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The combination of colors and design create an instant impression and help to preserve and promote the vacation feel associated with the beer—with or without a pandemic.
A tried and true design, and one of the best logos, BIC’s symbol has hardly changed since it was first created in 1945. Originally based on a schoolboy, the famous Bic guy with a ballpoint head and has become a definitive emblem for the brand. While the early designs were hand-drawn and less refined, the logo we know and love today was designed by Raymond Savignac together with BIC founder Marcel Bich in 1952.
The “Bic boy” evolved slightly over the years but has remained a crucial part of the stationary company’s branding since day one. Together with a yellow and black wordmark, a one-of-a-kind typeface and the “Bic boy”, this combination mark logo has stood the test of time and makes BIC’s brand consistency one for the books.
When you see the Virgin logo, what do you think of? Perhaps Virgin Airlines with the very noticeable red and white airplanes on the runway? Or maybe Virgin Radio or even Virgin Hotels? You may have a few images in mind beyond the most obvious Virgin Records, because the multinational conglomerate is one of the most powerful brands in the game.
The Virgin logo, which is used across all their subsidiaries, was originally designed for the record label in the seventies and had a very “hippy” vibe, reminiscent of the era. Designed by Roger Dean, the first version featured female twins sitting back to back meant to represent Gemini twins, but was quickly adapted once the record label started to sign musicians and needed a more suitable and professional image.
The distinct logo we recognize today features a bold shade of red, a prominent “V” and a hand-drawn typography that almost mimics a signature. While the logo has undergone some modifications since 1978 when it was first introduced, its core identity remains the same and thoroughly speaks the brand language.
By Kylie Goldstein
Branding Expert and Marketing Blogger