The best 20th century logos, as picked by the pros

best 20th century logos comp featuring NASA, FedEx, Apple, Coca-Cola
(Image credit: NASA, FedEx, Apple, Coca-Cola)

The 20th Century was an incredibly important time in the history of the logo. While logos and things like them had been used for hundreds (arguably thousands) of years beforehand, and the first official logo had been trademarked in 1876 by the Bass brewery company, it was in the 20th Century that logos really evolved into what we know them as today. 

Many of the best logos of all time sprang from the mid 20th Century and the rise of modernism. A logo became something more than an eye-catching picture that could sit next to a well-known name; it became a substitute for the name itself, thanks to forward-thinking designers like Paul Rand, Thomas Geismar and Saul Bass. If you’d told someone in 1900 that one day, a simple design of two yellow arches would be recognised by billions of people as the emblem of a restaurant, they’d have thought you were talking nonsense. But, as we all know, indeed it became so.

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Jon Stapley

Jon is a freelance writer and journalist who covers photography, art, technology, and the intersection of all three. When he's not scouting out news on the latest gadgets, he likes to play around with film cameras that were manufactured before he was born. To that end, he never goes anywhere without his Olympus XA2, loaded with a fresh roll of Kodak (Gold 200 is the best, since you asked). Jon is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq, and has also written for in Digital Camera World, Black + White Photography Magazine, Photomonitor, Outdoor Photography, Shortlist and probably a few others he's forgetting.