Classic logos: Before and after

Apple: easily one of the most recognisable logos today, so much so the brand doesn’t even need to include the word in its design.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

But Steve Jobs didn’t get it right the first time around. The original Apple logo was an old fashioned combination of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree with the words ‘Apple Computer Co’ wrapped around the image. The brand has certainly come a long way.

Hans Hulsbosch, the creative brains behind design agency Hulsbosch, says: “The Apple logo is one of the most powerful in the world. They don’t need to use the word Apple or Macintosh underneath anymore. They just have that logo sitting there on its own and everyone knows what it is.”

According to Hulsbosch, if the brand included the word in its design “it wouldn’t look right anymore”. Same goes for a host of other established brands like Nike. Hulsbosch says: “You put ‘Nike’ on the logo and you go ‘urgh’. They’ve become such powerful marks that tell everything about a brand.”

One of the goals of a logo is to make the brand recognisable without the product name having to be attached. Among others, McDonald’s and our public broadcaster the ABC have both managed to pull off the feat.

Hulsbosch says: “My feeling is that Qantas, Virgin and Woolies – they don’t need their name anymore. People see that and they know instantly who it is and what it stands for.”

Creating an instantly recognisable image is, according to Hulsbosch, “a really powerful device any company can have”.

He says: “Both Qantas and Woolies, they have an unaided awareness of about 96%. Those companies don’t need to have a name. Because you see it and you know exactly who it is and even more so, what it stands for.”

Vince Frost, CEO and executive creative director at design agency Frost* Collective, agrees. However he warns that recognition like this isn’t easily achieved. He says: “Loads of brands don’t ever get to that point.”

“When a logo becomes an icon, that’s the ultimate point where a brand is globally recognised.”

Colour is crucial in logo design. Frost says “people want to own a colour”. It’s hard not to think of green when you picture Woolworths, for example, or red for Virgin.

Hulsbosch says: “Because you are bombarded with images every day of your life, simplicity is absolute key and if you can do it in one colour, then you’re just going to be stronger. A single colour is always stronger than multiple colours.”

Regardless of whether to include words or which colour to use, Hulsbosch says the best logos can cut through the white noise and clutter.

“That is the ultimate goal,” he says. “To design a piece of magic that stands out from the rest, from competitors mainly, and is something that is unique and is something that when the customer or staff look at it, they can resonate with it and can understand what a business stands for.

“If you can create that, you’ve got a logo that stands out from the rest.”

Check out our before and after logo slideshow above.