Research point: How many logos can you name?

The whole subtle or not so subtle effect of branding and logos was demonstrated to myself and my husband while in Japan recently. Having no Japanese whatever we were able to pick out advertising for various well know brands.

One day we needed washing powder so standing in the Supermarket in front of the area selling cleaning products we scanned the shelves for anything we recognised. My husband suddenly said that’s DAZ. There was nothing on the packet to indicate this but somehow it resembled our DAZ packets.

Was it the way the colours were placed on the package, some resembled the colours used in Europe, or was it the Name? Hard to say.





This is not a simple design and it is multicoloured but it works. I think that is because it is a household product rather than some expensive object or service that multicolours work.

Analysing some logos that I know very well has been interesting:

 With Nike it is only necessary to have the curved line to know the product is Nike. Why is this so iconic? Maybe because it is so ubiquitous in the sports world. It is mono coloured and will work anywhere.

Coca Cola always fascinates me.

The Typography is complicated but the logo is emblazoned on everyones brain. Again there are only two colours red and white. It is simplicity itself if we leave aside the type face.


The World Wildlife Fund is another logo that works so well. B&W is perfect for the panda bear. The illustration is simple – I might even be able to come up with this now!! And it works perfectly. Simplicity and B&W – the perfect recipe for success.

Apple is another logo that you would have had to arrive from space not to recognise. Again it is white on black and simplicity itself. It works in any language and country too.

I wish I had invented the McDonalds “M”…. It isn’t even attractive!!! But it is very successful. Again two colours and very simple. Lit up in Neon you can see it for miles and you know that a burger awaits!!! That’s if you can bear to eat a McDo’s burger!

I wonder what is the secret to becoming a brilliant logo designer? I wonder if the most famous logo designers, Saul Bass (1920 – 1996), Michael Beirut, Paul Rand (1914 – 1996), Milton Glasner, Alan Fletcher (1931 – 2006) and Massimo Vignelli (1931 –  2014), to name but a few, have anything in common. One thing that strikes me is that they are mostly men. But this may be, and probably is a factor of the times they lived in. Many were American but that also was of its time. Americans had money to spend on products so this demanded branding of these products.

This is such a small sample but I feel, in most of the logos I can recall, it is simplicity which dominates in successful logos.