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10 Valuable Design And Branding Lessons From Iconic Logos

by Alice Jackson Tweet - in Logo Design

10 Valuable Design and Branding Lessons from Iconic Logos

Have you ever noticed the brand logos of Apple, Coca-Cola, FedEx, McDonald’s, Chanel, and Nike? Their unique logos easily resonate with the target audience. The logo is a key visual of any small or big-scale business. It not only becomes a solid identity but sends out the core values and underlying messages to the target audience. If people like a brand’s logo design, they will also like the businesses associated with it. This is because the brandmark signals that the company’s offerings are trustworthy.

The brand logo designs we discuss may seem simple, but they carry hidden meanings, greater impact, and creativity. 

Check out this list of 10 iconic logos, famous for their design and branding lessons.

10 Famous Logos With Brilliant Design And Branding Lessons 

01. McDonald’s 

McDonald’s logo

The McDonald’s logo, known as the “Golden Arches,” is iconic. Its two golden arches are one of the world’s most-known logo elements. This logo is an inspiration when you are looking to create something unique out of an element. Here, the designer used the architectural element of arches to create ‘m’, which stands for MacDonald’s.

Lessons to learn:

  • Arches are symbolic. They represent a food and beverage gateway where customers can relax and relish food and beverages.
  • Using red and yellow colors is strategic as it stimulates taste buds.
  • The colors also symbolize French fries, ketchup, and burger. Besides, it makes the logo visible even from afar. So choose colors that add to legibility. 

02. Chanel

Chanel logo

Chanel is a luxury brand known for its fashion label. Its logo is the company’s initials C and C interlocked. It is a perfectly symmetrical brand logo design in black and white. This is another brand logo that teaches how a simple design can be unique, impressive, and memorable. You can notice that the logo has no embellishments and effects and still carries the brand’s message and values perfectly.

Lessons to learn:

  • The logo reflects the principles of its founder — Coco Chanel.
  • It symbolizes comfort, geometry, and clean fashion vibes.
  • The interlocked Cs signify Coco Chanel brand.
  • The use of white and black reflects classiness. It gives a logo design idea where simplicity wins over fancy elements. 

03. Coca-Cola

If you are thinking about creating a handwritten letter-style logo for your brand, then the Coca-Cola logo should be an inspiration. Its biggest lesson for the designers is about consistency. 

Coca Cola logo

The cursive and italicized wordmark logo have been the same since its inception. It continues to have a ribbon-like waving tail that underlines the first C letter. It teaches about how a retro font can also be turned into a classic and timeless design. Around 96% of the US population is aware of Coca-Cola. That speaks volumes about its branding and logo design. 

Lessons to learn:

  • The red and white color scheme stands for passion, power, excitement, energy, youth, and class.
  • The use of Spencerian script made it a timeless logo that’s still in use.
  • The use of longevity doesn’t mean it overlapped creativity. The brand tweaked and used the logo in many ways for different campaigns.
  • Consistency never fades away, it becomes memorable. 

04. Nike

Nike’s is another world-renowned logo. It is in the form of a swoosh that mimics the wings of the goddess of victory, Nike. The designer used it not only as a symbol of victory but also as a checkmark that signifies doing things correctly. The Nike logo evokes speed and motion, which is associated with sports.

Nike logo

This iconic logo teaches us how to use an abstract design to convey brand values. Such logos work as unique and inspirational branding ideas for others while designing their brandmarks. 

Lessons to learn:

  • A simple abstract symbol can be meaningful.
  • A simple element is enough to reflect the core identities like, speed, power, motion, and success.
  • Simplicity is timeless and there is no replacement of it.

05. Amazon

Amazon’s logo is a wordmark people see daily on packages and online platforms. It is a straightforward design that drives our attention instantly and is one of the well-known brand identities. 

amazon logo

This top brand logo design teaches us how just one element can make a design iconic. The Amazon logo has a yellow arrow in a smiling shape. It conveys the feelings of a happy customer, with yellow being the color of hope. Also, note that the arrow connects the letter ‘a to ‘z,’ which symbolizes that the e-commerce company sells everything consumers want from such a site.

Lessons to learn:

  • A wordmark logo can be recognizable, it doesn’t need fancy elements to stand out.
  • A simple curve is enough to denote customer satisfaction.
  • A simple nudge reveals the hidden meaning or a comprehensive product choice. 
  • Strategic color palette is the key to becoming memorable in terms of design.

06. IBM

IBM logo

IBM logo is another time-tested logo that has remained unchanged since it was first designed. This logo is known for its stripes, with each letter having 8 bars that convey dynamism and speed. The bold serif letters evoke authority and confidence. This also is a minimalist logo but with a robust feel. It also teaches about how to use the negative space in a design.

Lessons to learn:

  • Strategic use of negative spaces to showcase brand identity.
  • Simplicity of design is unbeatable.
  • Initials of the company can also be turned into a memorable logo.
  • Eight equal stripes showcase speed and dynamism.

07. Shell

Shell logo

Shell is a group of petrochemical companies. Its logo features stripes in yellow color under a red shell-shaped layout making it stand out. The company explores, refines, and markets oil and natural gas. But its logo is a seashell. That shows that a business logo does not essentially have to be directly depicting what the business does. You can be imaginative in choosing a symbol for your logo. To know more about its logo design, explore the history and evolution of Shell logo

Lessons to learn:

  • Bright colors aren’t only for food industries.
  • You can run your logo design ideas wild with an abstract symbol.
  • Even a different symbol with different meaning can be utilized.
  • Being visible to audience is essential to stay in the market.

08. Starbucks

A mythical creature sea siren inspired the Starbucks’ logo design. This is also amongst the unique brand names with a background. The company was named after an American novel, Moby Dick’s character, Starbucks. The creature was the inspiration for the logo because the company was founded in the port city of Seattle. These references give the logo a personality and warmth. 

Starbucks logo

So, the Starbucks logo inspires you to get ideas using cultural references. Such logos are memorable designs that stick into people’s minds. 

Lessons to learn:

  • Even a mythical character can inspire the logo design of a famous brand.
  • Cultural references can have a greater impact on brand voice.
  • An appealing character design can resonate with the target audience.

09. Apple

Apple logo is another example of how religious, mythical, and cultural backgrounds become sources of unique logo ideas. This brand logo takes its inspiration from the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Apple logo design has a bite because the company makes computer items such as laptops and mobile phones. So, the bite is a pun for a ‘’byte.’’

Apple logo

According to the designer Rob Janoff, the bite also distinguished this simple apple from any other fruit. It also represents the company name. Additionally, the logo stands for a mix of conventional and contemporary wisdom. So, if you are trying to create a brandmark yourself using a brand logo maker, think out of the box. 

Lessons to learn: 

  • Logo design can leverage abstract icons from day-to-day objects for symbolism.
  • Simplicity is the key to memorability.
  • Only a symbol is enough to talk volumes about a company’s products and services. 
  • Even gray color palette is ideal for bands representing technology.

10. The London Underground

London Underground’s logo should be an example to follow when creating a minimalist logo. Popularly known as the “roundel”, this logo has been the same for over a century. It is a simple image of a wheel that stands for the railway. 

The Underground logo

Then, the name of the underground public transportation station appears in the Johnston Typeface in sans-serif letterforms. This letter form gives the logo optimal legibility. It is a symbol that everyone can understand and access easily. 

Lessons to learn:

  • A flat logo design can be memorable 
  • A visible logo is timeless if it resonates with the audience.
  • The layout of a logo can be turned into a memorable emblem.

So, these are the iconic logos you can learn from regarding the branding strategies they adopt. Ensure your logo is in your brand visuals and conveys a message. For instance, if your company name has a number, ensure that its logo design inspiration comes from the logo for consistency. For number-based logos, take a look at some famous brands with numbers in their logos for inspiration.

While thinking of having a logo, do not worry about your small budget. You can always quickly access a logo maker, which is an AI-based software. It makes a logo based on the user’s design brief. You can choose colors, fonts, symbols, etc., and drag them to a design frame to create a logo per your design requirements. It’s a cost-effective solution to having your core brand identity in place.

Wrapping Up 

A brand logo should be a unique design that helps signal an intended message to its target audience. It must also help build a trustworthy brand identity so that people can recognize the logo and the company. So, before creating a logo, you should first go through some iconic global brand logos. These are the inspirational designs that you should study thoroughly to have an idea. 

Alice Jackson is a business consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer and an avid author at Designhill. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, startup strategies and e-commerce. When she’s not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels, Connect with her on Twitter: @jackson_alice1



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