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The best logos of all time

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Logo design is the bread and butter of the design industry, and the best logos of all time have been hotly debated for years. But what defines a truly iconic logo, and has that changed over time?

Of course, modern branding goes far beyond the design of a quality marque – and there are many different elements at play, from colour and use of typography to style of art direction and tone of voice.

There are some brands so strong they don't need a logo, as their other elements are so distinctive and well-established – but of course, they do still have one.

Many of the world's best logos have a particular place in our hearts, and plenty of uproar has been caused over the years about logos that should never have been changed (and in some case, are swiftly changed back again).

As shown by the winners of Computer Arts' Brand Impact Awards in recent years, some market sectors are traditionally stronger, or more risk-taking, than others. It's easier to create an edgy cultural or artisan brand or logo design than to do the same in financial services or FMCG, for instance.

Read on for our essential guide to the best logos of all time, according to market sector. 

Best logos for iconic brands

McDonald's flipped logo

McDonalds flipped its iconic 'M' to mark International Women's Day 2018, but not everyone was impressed

How five top brands changed their iconic logos to raise awareness of an important cause. Featuring Lacoste, PRODUCT(RED), Google Doodles, CokexAdobexYou and McDonald's.

10 influential logos for the world's biggest brands

Ford logo

Would Ford be Ford without its logo?

The world-class logos that played a key role in the success of some of the biggest brands around: Disney, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Starbucks, Playboy, Ford, BBC, Shell, Nike and Apple.

8 iconic American logos that changed branding forever

Starbucks logo

The Starbucks logo was inspired by marine books

These successful US brands have taken over the world: here's what you can learn from their logos. This post includes Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Google, Apple, FedEx, Starbucks, Amazon and Nike.

5 big brand logos that pass the silhouette test

Playboy bunny logo

The infamous Playboy Bunny captures the brand's personality

These top brands have mastered the art of memorable simplicity, and work effectively in silhouette form. Featuring Twitter, Playboy, Apple, Nike and the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

10 most hated logos and what they teach us

London 2012 Olympics logo

Wolff Olins' bold brand for London 2012 attracted plenty of flak

There's also a lot to learn from logos that originally attracted controversy. We discover the lessons to be learned from logos that attracted hatred, including Gap, Instagram and Tropicana.

Best entertainment logos

Top 10 TV logos of all time

Muppet Show logo

The Muppet Show's typography is pretty unmistakable 

These iconic TV logos don’t just introduce their shows, they effectively convey their essence through clever use of design. Examples include The Muppet Show, M*A*S*H, Cheers, Friends, The X Files, Buffy, 24, LOST,  Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

7 greatest comic logos of all time

Wonderwoman logo

This classic logo was created by Milton Glaser

We celebrate the comic-book logos that have become true design classics, including Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Marvel, Iron Man and 2000AD. 

Best sports brand logos

10 greatest Olympic Games logos of all time

Mexican Olympics in 1968 logo

The logo for the Mexican Olympics in 1968 subtly captured the spirit of the country

We recall some of the best examples of Olympic logo design to date: Helsinki 1952, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984, Nagano 1998, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.

Top 10 logos of all time: Nike

Nike logo

Find out the story behind the Nike logo

The Nike emblem is one of the world's most recognisable, and it's often the simplest ideas that are the best – as proved by this mark created by Portland student Carolyn Davidson in 1971.

Best World Cup logos ever

England 1966 world cup logo

England's World Cup logo features the Jules Rimet trophy

We take a look at eight of the best World Cup logos, ranging from 1930 to the present day, including Uruguay 1930, England 1966 and Italy 1990.

Best design industry logos

6 best design industry logos

D&AD logo

D&AD's logo manages not to look dated, even though it hasn't changed in several decades

If your prime constituency is the design industry itself, your logo needs to pull it out of the bag. Here we select some of the best, including D&AD, Adobe, SXSW and ADC.

7 stunning logos for design studios

Taxi studio

Taxi Studio's logo reflects its mission statement

Having a cool logo is by no means a requisite for design studio success, but these seven agencies have really nailed it. Featuring Moving Brands, The Mill, Flow, hat-trick, Taxi Studio, B-Reel Films and ilovedust.

Best technology brand logos

Top 10 logos of all time: Apple

Apple logo

We delve into the history of Apple's logo

Rob Janoff's iconic Apple logo has been part of the tech giant's global success story since its inception, and remains strikingly similar – aside from some geometric tweaks, and a move from coloured stripes to solid silhouette.

Top 10 logos of all time: IBM

IBM logos

The evolution of IBM's logo might be unexpected for some people

Design consultant Eliot Noyes hired Paul Rand to create IBM's visual identity in 1956. Rand refreshed it in 1972, rendering the marque in horizontal stripes – reminiscent of the scan lines of the cathode ray tube monitors of the day.