8 September 2017
Hi the MLE,Our classic logos list would not be complete without the London Underground logo. I’d dare say it is the most recognisable logo that we have looked at, with so many imitators around the world. It is also one of the oldest classic logo we have seen, besides Michelin (1898). It’s hard to believe that the version still used today is almost 100 years old.The roundel shape is actually more than 100 years old - it first appeared on station platforms in 1908. These early versions consisted of a solid red enamel disc and horizontal blue bar and served to highlight the station name amongst the surrounding ads. (See the Covent Garden sign above).This is thought to have been inspired by “the winged wheel,” designed in 1905 for the London General Omnibus Company. (See the metal cap badge above).British transport administrator Frank Pick, a man ahead of his time, knew the value of design: “Design is not a mode that enters in here and there and may be omitted elsewhere. Design must enter everywhere.”He commissioned Edward Johnson to create a standardised version of the logo (which up until then existed in a variety of forms) to strengthen the brand in the public’s mind. One can say that this job was a success! In 1919, the underground logo was born, with the white space in the center. (See the Holland Park sign above).Then a German designer called Hans Schleger came along. He reimagined Edward Johnston’s bull’s-eye while creating signage for a system-wide collection of fixed vehicle stopping places in 1935. This was a very bold and innovative graphic for 1936, which drew on developments in modern art.In the early 1950s the corporate symbol is finally streamlined to look more like Schleger’s logo from almost 20 years earlier. So much German influence on London during this time!This is my last Classic Logos post. It’s been really interesting to explore the stories behind these logos. How portraying the company’s rich owner (Michelin) has fallen out of favour. How the lack of a strong marketing voice can lead to innovation (Deutsche Bank). How the love for a logo is actually tied up in the company itself, rather than the qualities of the logo (Apple, Nike). How much concept matters (FedEx). How inspiration can come from the most random places (CMS).
18 August 2017Hi MLE,This week our classic logo is the CBS logo. It has always seemed a bit ominous to me, and I was quite interested to hear its story…It is based on the ‘all-seeing eye’ Hex symbols painted on Shaker barns in Pennsylvania Dutch country. I have never heard of these symbols, but some of them are lovely and they look great on their amazing barns.The in-house CBS creative director of Advertising and Sales Promotion worked with a graphic designer using the Hex symbol as a starting point and created ‘the eye,’ as well as two other routes were presented - and the eye was a clear winner.On October 20, 1951, CBS Television unveiled its new logo in station breaks voiced by various celebs: “keep your eye on this eye.”
28 July 2017
Well today I am having a look at the birth of one of the most liked logos of all time: the Penguin Books logo. I do not know of anyone who does not like it.
At the time, Albatross Books based in Hamburg was very successful. See one of their book covers above. So what did Allen Lane do to for his newly formed publishing company? He called it Penguin and has a little penguin drawn up by the 21-year old production editor and designer Edward Young.
Over the years, the little penguin has been tweaked a lot by various people. During the forties alone, it was changed nine times by Young, as you can see above. The famous typographer Jan Tschichold changed it in 1949, so at least it stopped trying to do that little waddle!
Today’s logo looks like Tschichold’s 1949 logo, which in turn looks very similar to Young’s second ever logo, designed in 1938. Well, except with improved feet.
14 July 2017
Hello the MLE,
Ah yes, the ubiquitous Apple logo. It’s always ranking up there with the classic logos of all time, but is this is because it’s really such a great logo, or because everyone loves the Apple brand so much? I really enjoy speaking with clients years after we’ve created a logo for them, I’m always surprised to learn how much emotion is attached to it.Yes, believe it or not, that is the original Apple logo at the top of the post. Designed in 1976, it is Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree, of course.It’s interesting that Steve Jobs went to the effort and expense of engaging an ad agency, just one year later to create a more businesslike logo. Evidently the brief was just, “don’t make it cute.”A bite was taken from the apple so that it didn’t look like a cherry. The coloured stripes were a reminder that the Apple II had a colour monitor. This logo was used from 1977 to 1998. After that all Apple design was done in-house and the colours were removed so that the logo could appear very large and not be too obtrusive.
30 June 2017Hi MLE,I can see why a lot of people would not consider this a classic - until they see the forward-facing arrow created in the negative space between the “E” and the “x”.Of course this subtlety has been a bit of an issue. The logo designer (who has a great name), Lindon Leader, said that FedEx’s PR firm wanted to make the arrow more obvious, like fill it in with another colour. But of course this would miss the point. What makes this a great logo is what is not obviously there, not what is.Have a nice weekend,Suzan