Most logos are based on simple shapes, colors and text. Some of the most iconic logos in history are text, relying only on color and font to brand the company or product. Today's updated logos are lighter, brighter and more casual, with companies desperately trying to distance themselves from a cold corporate image by moving to an image that they consider more welcoming, and in many cases more eco-friendly.
- An excellent example of the friendly makeover is the Wal-Mart logo. The old logo was an austere dark blue sans-serif font in all caps, with a precise militaristic star in the center. Wal-Mart's image makeover includes lighter colors and traditional capitalization, along with a cheery yellow representation of the sun as punctuation.
- Many logos successfully incorporate the company image or philosophy into their logo design. AT&T's globe shape sliced into concentric lines is a good example. It conveys reach and worldwide coverage using a simple shape. Curves and spheres are popular elements on which to base logo design. A similar concept is inherent in the Infiniti Automobile logo, a combination of an oval and an inverted "V" shape. Rendered in metallic silver to convey class and style, with the oval itself as a classic representation of infinity, and the inverted V suggesting a road leading into the distance, the logo illustrates several related concepts with two very simple shapes.
- Best Buy owns another successful logo design. The store message is simple: discount prices, your best buy. The name, printed inside an easily identifiably sales tag, tells the consumer exactly what to expect from the company.
- One current branding trend is cashing in on the "green" phenomenon. As consumers become increasingly more concerned about the environment, companies are anxious to portray themselves as progressive and environmentally aware. That was the inspiration behind the BP logo makeover, from outdated shield to an organic "Helios" design in greens and yellows to symbolize social consciousness and responsible growth. "Green" logos are literally sprouting up all over, featuring colors of nature, leaves, butterflies and flower shapes.
One thing you must consider before you get any ideas from famous logos is that using a design for inspiration is fine, but making a direct copy is not. Companies, especially big, successful ones, are fiercely protective of their brands. We each hope that our own brands will achieve iconic status. If that happens, it is crucial that the brand that identifies your company or product be unique and relevant.