An Insider’s Guide to the History of Logo Design

by Gaurav Kumar Gupta Tweet - in Logo Design - 4 min read

logo history

Last updated on July 31st, 2018

We bet you must have seen hundreds and thousands of logos vying for your attention. A custom logo design is a visual version of what your company stands for. It yields enough power to drive success for your brand as it largely impacts user perception towards your brand identity. Quite expectedly, it remains one of the most crucial aspects of business branding in the ever-so-competitive 21st century.

But have you ever wondered how the trend of logos originated? Where do logos come from? Which is world’s first logo? No! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here, we present to you an insider guide to the history of logo designs and we’re sure you’ll be both excited and intrigued by the facts presented here.

[Tweet “More than 100K new logos are created every year in the USA”]

5th Century – A number of studies and researches reveal that the trend of logo design started way back in the 5th century. During the 7th and 8th centuries, the drawing symbols to create identification became well established. Historiographers believe that logos actually originated in the ancient Greece. Ancient Greeks used cipher to represent rulers and their dynasties. These symbols were also used primarily on ancient Greek and Roman coins.

13th Century – In the 13th century, ciphers turned up as distinct trademarks for organizations. Gothic, or black letter styles came into existence in the early 13th Century. Gothic lettering evolved and by the end of 13th century, it developed into old English letters. Traders started using logos for identifying goods. For example, filigrees were seen on paper and signature of blacksmiths could be noticed on products that people used. Most of the products were handmade, so logos were in the form of signatures as a sign of originality and reliability.

18th Century – Origin of modern logos dates back to mid-18th century in United States and Europe, during the Industrial Revolution. That was the time of technological advancements. Industries started mass production of goods. Such vast scale of production required unique symbols to identify one set of goods from the other. Most of the population was illiterate and the use of logos also allowed people to differentiate one good from the other. Logos also served as a guarantee of quality. During this time, manufacturers began adding their company names to their logos.

19th Century – In the 19th century, branding strategies evolved quickly and that gave logos a new shape and meaning. During this time, the popular Shell logo came into existence. The logo was created by Raymond Loewy. In the second half of the 19th century, William Morris, the father of graphic designs, created many graphic designs including logos. Psychedelic visual arts also came into existence during late 19th century. General Electric Co also started using a logo to represent its business in the market in 1890s with scripts ‘GE’.

20th Century – 20th century could easily be marked as the birth period of modern, humble logos. Modern design, advertising and marketing industries came about during this time. Businesses started understanding the potential of logos in building brand recognition that ultimately lead to a boost in sales and revenue. To win the battle for attention, companies started investing significant amount in branding and logo development. 20th century saw the rise of some of the world’s most acclaimed logos.

21st Century –Less is more concept become the buzzword in the design fraternity. Researches and studies revealed that the simpler the logo, the easier and faster it becomes recognizable in the modern world. According to report, more than 100K new logos are created every year in the USA. Right from the 5th century to 21st century, logos have come a long way to become an inseparable part of human lives. rightly points out, ‘’Logos have become indispensable. In fact, many companies are identified more quickly by their logo than their name (for example, McDonald’s, Nike and Apple).’’

Our endeavor of  presenting this brief guide to the history of logo design is make you understand how logo design and its elements have evolved over the centuries. If you are a logo designer, you’ll definitely find a new lease of inspiration with the colorful history of logo designs.

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Gaurav Kumar has been a blogger, digital marketer and an SEO expert at, one of the fastest growing custom design crowdsourcing platforms. Over the years, he has been helping small businesses and startups improve website design and SEO strategy, content marketing and user experience.