Review of Famous Company Logos: How The Big Business Uses The Emotional Power of Logos

Category: Business Applications

thumbnail-logo-infoGolden arches. Swoosh. Mouse ears. You know what they mean. Some famous company logos have so much emotional power that they don’t need to spell out their names, or that they transcend cultural borders. How can these simple, trivial little artworks inspire global familiarity with so many of them having become iconic? Because they’re not trivial or simple. They serve specific business applications.

Iconic big business logos are masters of subtleties and understatements. In the infographic below (created by, we learn that logos carry sublime color meanings. Do you ever wonder why some logos are bright yellow and some red? Why typical business applications of luxury logos are usually black, white, or brown, while corporate logos are blue?

We know it’s not set in stone, but colors can evoke a specific emotional response from us. Red means active (Insightly logo reflects this spirit), yellow is energetic, blue is reliable (and designers of Salesforce logo know it), green is nature (as evoked by Freshdesk logo), etc. In fact, it doesn’t stop at the obvious; researchers at the University of Rochester in New York believe red can actually “keep us from performing our best on tests.”

Moreover, business applications of logos may already be playing with your subconscious at a much earlier stage of your life. Researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that children 2-3 years old could already recall a logo and the product it represents in 67% of cases.

Logos also create value. Interbrand’s 14th Best Global Brand reported that there’s a new number one brand in the world last year: Apple. Coke was defeated for the first time after thirteen consecutive years of dominating the prestigious list.

Many companies will stop at nothing to create the perfect logo. Even to the tune of millions of dollars as part of their branding. The new Pepsi logo was so expensive to create that the agency thought it should justify the million-dollar cost with a lecture on Da Vinci diagrams, yin-yangs, and Mobius strips. On the other end, some popular logos like Twitter and Google cost almost next to nothing!

It’s an interesting world of logos we have here. Far from puny, arbitrary doodles, they are calculated, big business strategy with one thing in mind: that you remember them in your sleep.



Tweetable Facts and Figures:

  • BBC ’97 logo redesign cost $2million while Nike logo was designed by a student and cost ONLY $35! [Tweet this]
  • 2-years-olds can already link a product with its logo in 67% of cases. Companies spend millions of $$$ on logo design [Tweet this]
  • The original Twitter logo was bought on iStockPhoto for $15. Why Nokia original logo shows a fish? [Tweet this]

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Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

Pitt Oss says:

Logos are really hit and miss. Some logos, like Nike's, may not cost as much as the London Olympics logo but has been a success. Psychology and color may play a part but luck has a more major role when it comes to creating anything that people can instantly appreciate and relate to.

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Greg Timmons says:

Pepsi Cola really ripped their first logo from Coca-Cola. Good thing they decided to change their look. Coke has several changes through the decades but has not veered from their original sign. Guess some logos have staying power and psychology do really play a role.

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Vilhelm says:

A logo without top-notch marketing is practically valueless. I've seen many clever, beautifully designed logos that convey brands far better than an apple or golden arches. By itself, what does an apple actually have to do with a computer? Nothing. Without the myth about Issac Newton, it's meaningless. The golden arches have nothing to do with hamburgers or food. The logos only work because the companies had good products, and they marketed the hell out of their logos alongside the products, so they became synonymous. Design-wise, the logo for Ford doesn't hold a candle to the logo for Infinity, despite both being extremely successful brands.

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Adrian Dinsdale says:

Pentagram designed the Windows 8 logo not the main logo but it's clear that the in-house design team took great inspiration from Paula Scher's work

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Seppli says:

The Microsoft redesigned Logo wasn't developed by a In-House team. It was made by Paul Scher (Pentagram Design)

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braingrosh says:

Logos are the faces of brands. Like with people, you gravitate towards familiar faces. That's why brands spend billions of dollars every year to push their logos into your head until you think, hey,they are the nicest friends to hang out with. They call it advertising, I call it brainwashing.

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danoklovosh says:

I don't believe a fudge about putting out tons of cash just for a logo and this material proves it. The top logos (Coke, Apple, Google) didn't cost much and the logos with less value (Pepsi, London Olympics) cost millions! That's a straight, solid pitch against expensive designers. Yes?

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scaredmom says:

My son just turned one year old and one of his first words was--ma. I thought it's ma for mom. It turned out he'll start blabbering it every time he sees the golden arches. cripes! the brand got to him first even before I get the chance to talk about healthy eating when he's a little older enough. That's how powerful these logos/brands are. They work into your subconscious and at an early age. Pretty scary if you ask me.

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