I’ve talked before over on the Webs blog about how to make a great logo for your small business. After all, a logo is arguably the most important (but not the only!) element of your brand identity, so you want to make sure what you end up with does your business justice. Also, good logo design can take time and money, and most small business owners don’t have an excess of either to throw around.
Especially now, in the age of social media, it’s so important to have a successful logo – because it’s going to be everywhere. As a recap, Smashing Magazine summarizes the five principles of successful logo design as follows:
All of the above are equally important for various reasons. Today we’re going to talk about the third – timelessness. How, as a person living in present day, can you ensure that your logo will stand the test of time? A great place to start is to look at the logos of companies who have successfully done just that. A great piece on 247WallSt.Com recently highlighted the 10 oldest company logos in the world. In looking at some of the most recognizable, a few brand elements stand out. Let’s go over a few examples:
Sometimes the best logo elements are those that were never intended to be part of them. Such seems to be the case with the Levi’s signature ‘batwing’ logo. As you can see in one of Levi’s historic pieces of advertising, there is a distinct shape to the banners below the company name. Looking at the current iteration of the Levi’s logo you can clearly see the inspiration. Letting a shape that is organic to your brand become a part of your logo is a great way to ensure its longevity.
It’s no secret that having a recognizable symbol can be a big asset when trying to create a brand that will live on. However, the subject of that symbol is what can make or break your logo. For example, when Shell first got its start, the symbol that made the most sense for the company due to their history was a mussel (just read the 247WallSt.com article). But, luckily, someone along the way realized that a scallop shell would be much easier to represent visually. So as much as we recommend finding a symbol that represents your business, make sure it’s going to work in your promotional materials long-term. As you can see in the image below, Shell has finally reached a point where they feel that their symbol is so recognizable that they feel comfortable dropping their name from the logo.
Stella Artois: Color
While Stella Artois is not the only beer brand to use red and gold in their logo, they are the brand that’s used the combo the most consistently throughout time. The golden horn logo has been changed and modernized throughout the years, but it has not been subjected to trendiness the way many brands have. Because their aesthetic is so clearly historic and decorative, there is no pressure to keep a modern look. A brand like Budweiser, on the other hand, plays in the youth market that expects a certain trendiness in their brand’s logos. Stella reinforces their iconic red and gold in their merchandise as well – ever noticed that ring of gold around the top of a Stella Artois chalice right before you take a sip?
The companies above have been fortunate to have good stewards of their brands at the helm over time. While there are certainly outlying years where these company’s logos might have taken a weird turn (we all have outfits from the 80s we regret) they found their way back to the path of success and stood the test of time. Take a page from their books!