How corporate logos evolve

It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of a brand. Companies large and small inevitably change their identity over time. Those branding changes can be inspired by changes of personnel, changes in the cultural landscape, evolution of competitors, and most commonly a change in the company’s focus.

This great infographic from the illustrates the evolution of some huge corporate logos from the past century. What’s really interesting is that the identities haven’t always been an improvement: both the 1955 and 1971 VW logos are preferable to the 3D rendered version of today; the classic 70s and 80s YMCA signs have been replaced with a gastly purple and red blob; Xerox’s ‘x’ wrapping a globe doesn’t speak of digitized data in the same way as the 2004 iteration.

Conversely, some brands will be happy to leave the past alone: Apple’s first logo is ghastly (fortunately it only lasted a year); Pepsi’s first logo looks awfully similar to a well known competitor; and Canon’s first logo looks like it belongs on a Thai restaurant.

What’s intriguing, is that tiny shifts in how a shape is drawn produce radically different ideas, something to bear in mind next time you’re sketching out ideas for branding.


Which of these brands has improved the most over the years? Which one should have stuck with what they had? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Featured image/thumbnail, VW logo image via Steve Mann /

  • Josh Brown

    The Canon timeline is a little screwy, but who’s judging. :-)

    • Inga

      Evidently, not BMW or XEROX. (:

  • Alexander Ljungström

    Hehe, funny how people view things differently. I am completely in love with MS new logo! :)

  • Arshad Ansari

    I feel Shell and BMW have stuck with their logo design, just beside the outer parts the main thing is the same. I really like the change in the logo of Apple and Microsoft.

    By the way, great post! how did you find all these. Amazing work!

  • Andrzej

    lol Xerox in 20004 :)

  • Rob Sawyer

    The ’98 Apple logo was the best. I could see them going back to that (it certainly fits better with the direction their corporate design seems to be going in).

  • Paulo R. Pedott

    Volkswagen was founded in 1936; Canon in 1937; Is’nt amazing to see that VW AND Shell made changes in their logos at the very same year? -In the last 104 years…

  • Dbakeca Italia

    awesome post…nice blog

  • bootak

    The Apple logo is a tricky one. It almost never appears in that shiny form (I only see it when booting up an iOS device. The shape is the only constant across different media.

  • Tom Durkin

    BMW In 1970…what were they thinking!

  • Alex

    in xerox logo – they should correct the year- 20004