How Corporate Logos Evolve

Ben Moss By Ben Moss  |  May. 31, 2013

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 /