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Why These Brand Logos Are Recognized All Over the World (and What You Can Learn From Them)

In the world of branding, logos are lauded as the king of the land by almost every expert. But are brand logos that important? In short, yes.

What makes a logo recognized or ignored? How can you imitate that success in your own business?

We’re going to take a look at some of those recognizable logos, and see what they did right. One word of caution, you can’t do it all with one logo. You can be playful or sophisticated, colorful, or serious, but rarely all four at once.

Are you ready to learn from these brand leaders? Keep reading to find out!


The Brand Logos to Learn From

There are so many logos to choose from as examples. The most recognizable brands in our global neighborhood, across various industries, would have to be, in no particular order:

  • Nike

  • Coca-Cola

  • Google

  • Apple

  • Starbucks

  • FedEx

A lot of logo ideas and logo examples get mixed with people’s opinions in a sort of “art appreciation” moment, so we’re going to try and be as down to earth and non-philosophical as possible. Still, we’re identifying the humanity the logos express.

While a company isn’t a human, it is made up of people beyond only the founders. Reflecting that humanity is quite possibly what made these logos so good.


Intuition plays an incredible role in many of the most popular logos, like the case of Nike in 1971. Carolyn Davidson, then a graphic design student, designed then sold the logo to Phil Knight for $35. Phil Knight didn’t even like the logo but knew it would perform well.

Not only did Davidson and Knight have the “voila” moment, but Knight was a shrewd enough businessman to realize that the logo wasn’t for him to like and identify with. He knew the logo is for his customers.

It helps that the swoosh is also the perfect shape the form it would go on—that being the side of every single shoe they sell. It’s a sense of understanding your branding materials and product on an integral level and being able to say “This is it! This is the one!”

Kind of like hearing a dad joke and when you hear the punchline you roll your eyes with a derisive “of course, what else could it ever be than that.” Even if you are stifling a genuine laugh to save your street cred.


“Don’t fix what isn’t broken” should be a mantra in Coca-Cola’s design team, because the logo has hardly changed at all since its inception. Instead, the bottle that it has been marked on has been the main brand refresh device.

If you change your look too much or too often, you won’t have the recognition of your customers. They might look right past you, thinking you’re someone else. Take a page from Coca-Cola’s playbook and carry on, patiently accumulating interest on a firmly designed foundation.


Although you might not think about FedEx when it comes to effective use of negative space in a logo, take a look between the “E” and “x” some time, and you’ll see a little white arrow pointing to the right. You’ll never be able to look away from it now—and you’re welcome for that.

While FexEx admittedly is a bit too subtle to be called the best negative space logo around, the idea of quick service in the “Ex” arrow, for “Express,” works on such a satisfying level.

The letterforms just barely kiss in a feat of letter spacing magic.

Other negative space logos most people know is NBC with their colorful peacock or World Wildlife Fund with their panda logo. These prove it doesn’t have to be purely typographical in nature.


Apple is one of the most notable logo examples to date because of its reach, simplicity, and wit—in silhouette. The first Apple logo was made to look like a wood engraving of a moment before Newton’s apple fell. We’re happy that a rebranding occurred with the release of their first color display in 1977.

Since then, the logo shape has barely changed at all. Rather they worked with color or depth of the logo to match the personality of its current products.

In 2015 it rebranded back to black the silhouette as it was in 1998 for a look that contrasts well on its website—better than the silver ones at any rate. Apple also took a page from Coca-Cola’s consistency playbook, too.

The logo is a clear sign that you don’t need to be realistic or detailed in your logo and that the minimum is also, by definition, enough.


The variety of colors with a serious sans serif font at even spacing firmly grounds the logo out of a possibly fanciful misconception. These make the company feel approachable to all audiences.

The company now has a variety of products and says that the colors reflect that. However, the logo has been relatively the same from the beginning when their only product was cataloging websites.

What it also allows Google to do is have fun with their logo, in the form of the famous Google Doodles. This keeps the logo fresh and interesting, with a lot of people wondering what new artistic expression the company will inject next.


While Starbucks doesn’t have a deep, long, rich heritage to draw from as a company, it did create a sense of that with their logo design. Hearkening back to mythology, Starbucks aligned themselves with maritime culture as it faced the ocean in its original store in Seattle.

Identifying with the rich history and tradition of a neighborhood, city, region, or country is a great way to curry favor with the locals and give yourself an older feel.

Another company that did this well was Shell, which did have a long and rich history going back as far as the 1880s.

They rebranded in yellow and red to align with Spanish tradition in California (since the Spanish founded it). It’s worked pretty well for them so far.

Brand Recognition: What Did You Learn?

Everyone recognizes these major brands for different reasons. These are the brands that got it right, but they aren’t unicorns. There are tons of companies out there with good brand logos.

Now it’s up to make your company an example.

A brand logo isn’t the only place you need to need to pay attention, which is what Donklephant has you covered in trending tech news, apps, and business. We’re sure you will find what you need to push your business ahead in today’s globalized world.

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