Logo Evolution

A well designed logo will successfully express a company’s values as it’s a way to tell the story of your brand’s culture, behaviour, and focus.

Your logo is how people recognise you and it helps express how you’re different from your rivals.

These statements are true, however if your brand is strong and well established enough your logo can also evolve over time to reflect your growth or even send you off in a new direction.

Many iconic brands have redesigned their logos after becoming established. Some, like Starbucks, want to broaden their market, others, like eBay and Apple, outgrow their initial logos and some brands, like Mastercard, change their focus. Also, a logo redesign may be reflective of the time, where an outdated design is brought up to date. What this should tell emerging brands isn’t that the logo is the be-all and end-all of your brand, but rather that a logo isn’t forever. It’s ever evolving, as is a business.

Starbucks Logo Evolution
Starbucks logo evolution over the years

The original Starbucks logo had a seafaring theme as the name Starbuck comes from the first mate in the novel Moby Dick.

The brand was invented by Howard Schultz and although someone else opened the 1st Starbucks store he went away and created a competitor named II Giornale which he ran up until 1987. Then in 1987 he bought back Starbucks and merged the 2 companies which is when the 2nd logo iteration came. This time they kept the Starbucks mermaid with her starred crown, but made her more contemporary. They also dropped the brown colour and used II Giornales more affirming green.

In 2011 Starbucks logo evolved again this time just focusing on imagery. The new interpretation of the logo gives them the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee. And as we know now, although it must of felt risky to drop the name Starbucks from the logo people associate the green siren / mermaid with the brand so deeply that no reference to the name was even necessary.

“Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English but are great in remembering signs”.

Karl Largerfeld, Designer
Mastercard logo evolution over the years

Mastercard has dropped the word “Mastercard” from its logo.

Clearly confident customers will still recognise the brand simply by it’s interlocking circles. This works for established brands, such as Mastercard and Apple. But is a risky approach for a start-up.

The move comes as digital payments become more ubiquitous and Mastercard tries to get customers to view it as a ‘tech company’ instead of a ‘credit-card company’.

It reflects a changing landscape in payments. Customers are increasingly paying without a physical swipe or insert, but by inserting payment details or swiping a phone — and the word “card” might now feel a little old-fashioned.

“The soul cannot think without an image”

Aristotle, Greek Philosopher

In a time of uncertainty now is a better time than ever to take control and try something new, whether you’ve decided your existing logo needs a refresh or you’ve decided to take the plunge on a new business idea that has previously taken a back seat.

The key to success and follow through of these is thoughtful and considered branding design. Which we at Buttasideup certainly provide.

Who are your customers? What platforms will your logo reach? And most importantly, does your logo reflect your businesses current positioning and personality?