With Google’s logo re-design recently, we decided to take a look at a number of well-known companies that have made significant changes to their branding over the years (and some that haven’t changed much at all).
We’ve talked previously about why some companies feel the need to rebrand, and how it’s not always good idea. This time we’re looking at the evolution of several long-standing brands over time. These don’t necessarily make huge changes to their brand each time, but the end result is normally very different to the original.
Google Logo Designs
We might as well start with the inspiration for this article, Google. Just look at the original logo for Google. It’s a word art disaster! They wisely changed it a year after launch to a much more visually appeasing logo, but still worlds away from their new logo.
Overall, Google’s logo didn’t change much over 17 years. With only a few tweaks to the colour placement and shades, removal of the drop shadow and bevel effects, and experimentation with an exclamation mark in 1998, you can see only small amounts of change. Google had a logo that worked well, so worked towards refining that branding.
Now comes the big change, Google’s new logo. Whilst retaining the same colour scheme of the past 17 years, the new logo is a completely different style. You can read our in-depth analysis of the new Google logo here.
Pepsi Logo Designs
Whilst Google’s logo was a bit of a mess back in 1997, Pepsi were doing it all the way back in 1898. Just look at that monstrosity. Pepsi’s original logo had pointy bits and curls absolutely everywhere. Very much a product of its time, the logo was simplified (slightly) in 1905 and 1906, to a logo that looked suspiciously similar to their main competitors’. This style was then simplified further in the 1940’s to create a smoother style before Pepsi started incorporating their bottle cap into their branding. This ultimately evolved to become the ‘Pepsi Globe’ in 1973.
The ‘Pepsi Globe’ has been used ever since 1973, in many different iterations. Similarly to Google, they experimented with different effects in order to refine their brand.
Then came the big change. In 2008, Pepsi completely redesigned the “globe” and font that they had been using for 35 years. This simpler style received some negative feedback across the media, but has managed last seven years so far without change. We’re just getting used to it.
Barbie Logo Designs
Technically, Barbie’s logo hasn’t changed at all. The old logo from 1959 was reintroduced in 2009 for the 50th anniversary, and has stuck ever since.
But, in between this time, there have many little changes. Looking at the comparisons below, there doesn’t seem to be much difference, but there is.
The original logo’s pink cursive font, which has now become synonymous with the brand, was changed to a cool custom typeface in the 70’s. This typeface was revised in ’92, and remained the same for seven years, before reverting back to a cursive style. Then tweaks were made, including one year in which they experimented with a flower as the tittle above the “i”. The easiest way to see the evolution of this logo is to look at the lowercase “r” and “b”.
Apple Logo Designs
What is it with big companies’ first logos being such a mess? Whilst it is a beautiful image, Apple’s first logo was reminiscent of logos more than a hundred years prior to their birth. It was not at all representative of the forward thinking, modern company that they are considered to be today.
The logo that we all know today was introduced a year later in 1977, with a rainbow colour scheme. Very little change has been made to the logo since then, except for colour changes, and the experimentation with different effects. Because of the small changes, Apple’s logo has remained simple since the 70’s and become and internationally known symbol.
Similarly to Barbie, Apple has reintroduced a previous logo (the flat black icon from the late 90’s) and now uses this across all of their marketing.
Microsoft Logo Designs
We couldn’t talk about Apple without a mention of their main competitor, Microsoft. Microsoft’s logos all seem very reflective of the time periods in which they were made. The 70’s saw Microsoft sporting a disco-esque logo, whilst they could have easily been mistaken for a hair metal band in the early 80’s.
Whilst the logo in ’82 began to represent the company and it’s products, it wasn’t until ’87 that they introduced the logo that is most commonly associated with their brand. If you’ve ever used Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, or 7, you will surely have interacted with the brand.
After 25 years, Microsoft changed their logo to fit in with modern trends. It is a much sleeker design, and will surely become the most commonly associated logo in the years to come.
Most of these logos have evolved to be up to date with current trends. Google, Microsoft, Pepsi, and Apple have all opted for a more simplistic, smooth style in recent years. It is clear from the vast differences in Microsoft’s logos that each was designed with the particular time period in mind.
The large amounts of time in between major re-designs makes one thing very clear. Whilst it is important to keep with modern trends, it also important to ensure that the branding remains consistent. We all know the Apple logo instantly, as it has remained the same for such a long time. Sometimes a refresh is just as good as a rebrand.