Logo inspiration: 10 examples of great logo design | Inside Design Blog (2023)

Many of the world’s greatest logos have been in use for decades or, in some cases, even centuries.

For these special logos, what is it about these graphics that has made them so resilient, even as their brands struggled?

It’s not just branding specialists who have to work with logos: branding and logo design touch every design discipline, including digital product design. Our mentors at Designlab work with students to help them develop visual and UX design skills, including how to develop successful logos for apps and websites.

In this piece, we’re sharing our take on what we believe are the essential ingredients of a successful logo. Take these and let them be your logo design inspiration.

(And then use InVision Cloud to gather and organize feedbackfrom your team).

What makes a good logo?

The world’s best logos seem to have these three elements in common:


The most revered logos are, almost without exception, graphically simple. This doesn’t mean they’re simple to create. Reducing an idea down to an elemental symbol is often the toughest part of the logo design process.

The most graphically complex logo in the list below is Coca-Cola’s, but this is counterbalanced by its conceptual simplicity: just the brand name set in script writing.

“The most revered logos are, almost without exception, graphically simple.”

Logo inspiration: 10 examples of great logo design | Inside Design Blog (1)

Many wonderful logos have no graphic ingredients other than lettering. In this list alone, Coca-Cola, FedEx, and Lego have built a classic logo just using text. Other fantastic examples include Sony, 3M, IBM, and countless others.


A logo’s memorability is often directly related to its simplicity.

We were able to identify the one visual concept that made that symbol memorable for all of the logo inspiration on this list—whether it was a swoosh, an arrow, or a mermaid.

“Many logos, even those of big and successful companies, fail to be memorable because they can’t easily be associated with a single idea.”

Logo inspiration: 10 examples of great logo design | Inside Design Blog (2)

Many logos, even those of big and successful companies, fail to be memorable because they can’t easily be associated with a single idea. Sometimes that’s because they’re too complex, and sometimes because they’re too abstract. Great memorability often sits somewhere between those extremes.


A common misconception with logo design is that the symbol needs to literally represent the brand; however, some kind of disconnect is often helpful and stimulating.

The most literal take on this on our list is Apple’s—but here, the brand name itself has a helpful disconnection from what the company actually does. As for the mermaid, the golden arches, and the swoosh, their strength is that they’re highly visually memorable, not that they literally represent what the brand offers.

Time is the toughest test of all. Great logos are capable of weathering economic storms and providing a focus of identity, authority, and stability during turbulent times.

Try Boards to easily share design assets, create moodboards, and more.

All of the logos in this list have performed for decades. Observing the above points—simplicity, memorability, abstraction—is often a recipe for something timeless.

(Video) 15 Creative Logo Design Examples | Animated Logos | Logo Design Inspiration and Trends 2020

“Great logos are capable of weathering economic storms and providing a focus of identity, authority, and stability during turbulent times.”

Logo inspiration: 10 examples of great logo design | Inside Design Blog (3)

We’ve seen time and time again that brands who allow themselves to be led by trends reduce trust and find themselves visually diluted. The classic example is Microsoft (sorry, Bill), who have burned through no fewer than five major logo rebuilds since 1980.

We’ve put together a list of ten logos that exemplify these values and put the rest of the world to shame.

10. Lego: The bubble writing

Designed: 1954 (bubble writing), 1973 (current version), 1998 (small update)

Designer: Various in-house Lego staff

Years in use: 1954 to present

Every kid’s favorite toy at some point in their childhood, Lego is about creativity, freedom, and play. The brand’s bright logo connects effortlessly with all these messages.

The first version of the bubble writing

It went through many iterations, particularly in the company’s early years. The bubble writing was first used around 1954, and the current version has been in use since 1973 (other than a minor modernization in 1998).

The logo is still going strong in today’s competitive toys market

9. UPS: The bow

Designed: 1961

Designer: Paul Rand

Years in use: 1961 to 2003

(Video) How to Generate Logo Design Ideas | Logo Design Tutorial

The two versions of the UPS logo that came before Rand’s design

Paul Rand was one of the 20th century’s greatest graphic designers behind many celebrated logo designs, including ABC, IBM, and Westinghouse. His design for UPS incorporated the “shield” shape from the company’s previous logo, dramatically simplified it, and added a delightful and distinctive bow at the top.

Regrettably (IMO), UPS returned to a shield-only version of the design in 2003.

The 1961 logo in use

Rand’s version alongside the 2003 update

8. Ferrari: The prancing horse

Designed: 1947 (in combination with Ferrari lettering)

Designer: Unknown/traditionalcavallino rampante emblem

Years in use: 1947 to present

Legend has it that the Ferrari logo started life, not on a car, but on a WWI fighter plane. Celebrated Italian pilot Francesco Baracca died in combat in 1918. After this, his mother apparently asked Enzo Ferrari to put the graphic that had appeared on Baracca’s plane, and use it on his cars.

After spending some time on Alfa Romeos with which Enzo Ferrari was involved in the 20s and 30s, the prancing horse finally first appeared on a Ferrari in 1947. Ultimately, though, the logo is successful not because of its story, but because it is simple, memorable, and connects with ideas of speed and power—perfect for a sports car.

7. FedEx: The arrow

Designed: 1994

Designer: Lindon Leader

Years in use: 1994 to present

If you’re not aware of the arrow in FedEx’s logo, then prepare yourself—there’s no going back from this one. Designer Lindon Leader created the FedEx logo back in 1994. At first glance, it’s a wordmark set in bold Futura, the iconic geometric typeface designed by Paul Renner in 1927.

But for this logo, the type is specially modified so that the negative space between the “e” and the “x” forms a lovely white arrow. Just like the silences in music are as important as the notes, the white space in graphic design is as functional as the positive elements.

6. McDonald’s: The golden arches

Designed: 1952-1968

Designer: Stanley Clark Meston and others

Years in use: 1968 to present

Conceptualized by (non-designer) brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in 1952, the Golden Arches motif was developed by various hands over the following two decades. The current version has been in use for over fifty years!

Like many great logos, its level of recognition is supported by wider branding, including the company’s distinctive red and yellow color palette. This can be seen in the success of a recent ad campaign, which used closely cropped parts of the logo, the two brand colors, and little else.

(Video) 10 logo design trends and ideas for 2023

5. Coca-Cola: The script

Designed: 1886

Designer: Frank Mason Robinson

Years in use: 1886 to present

Coca-Cola has one of the oldest logos still in use, and, as with McDonald’s and a surprising number of other great logos, it wasn’t designed by a “designer”. Frank Mason Robinson was in fact the bookkeeper for John Stith Pemberton, the drink’s inventor.

The famous Coca-Cola billboard in Sydney, Australia

The logo was based on Spencerian script that was common in the USA at the time. By sticking with their old-school logo throughout passing design trends and fads, Coca-Cola maintained its iconic status.

Wider branding elements, including the famous glass bottle, have also helped reinforce the logo’s memorability.

4. Starbucks: The mermaid

Designed: 1987

Designer: Various

Years in use: 1987 to present

Starbucks’ mermaid logo concept originally dates back to 1971, but it was significantly simplified and turned into a “proper” logo in 1987. Since then it has had a couple more iterations, the most recent of which in 2011 stripped away the text and just left the circular logo graphic.

The evolution of Starbucks’ logo

Starbucks is a great example of how the primary purpose of a logo is to spark recognition, rather than to literally explain what a company sells. Naked mermaids might not seem like the obvious choice for a coffee company. However, for exactly this reason, Starbucks’ logo has made it a highly distinctive brand in spite of intensifying competition. The way that the logo has been graphically simplified over the years only adds to its memorability.

3. Woolmark: The swirl

Designed: 1964

Designer: Franco Grignani

Years in use: 1964 to present

It’s easy to forget that logo marks are created for manufacturing and industry standards as well as brands. Meet the Woolmark logo, which was commissioned via a design competition run by the International Wool Secretariat in 1964. (It’s a mark that indicates a garment is 100% wool.)

Franco Grignani, a well-known and respected Italian artist, was on the judging panel for the competition. However, the story goes that Grignani was so disappointed with the quality of the entries coming in, that he snuck in a submission of his own using the pseudonym “Francesco Saroglia”.

Although Grignani voted for another entry, presumably to cover his tracks, it was his own design that was selected as the winner. The Woolmark logo became one of the most celebrated of the twentieth century.

(Video) Best Logo Design Inspiration

2. Apple: The bite

Designed: 1977

Designer: Rob Janoff

Years in use: 1977 to present

Apple’s logo has survived major changes at the company, including periods of abject commercial failure in the 1990s and the world-beating success of recent years.

The original logo, featuring Isaac Newton, was made by Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. It only lasted a year.


Consistent branding unites the entire varied range of Apple products.

Its story is similar to the Starbucks logo, in that it began life as an elaborate engraved illustration of Isaac Newton discovering gravity (hence the apple). But, unlike Starbucks, its abstraction to the simple icon we know today happened all at once, when Rob Janoff created the multicolor striped version in 1977. Since then, the shape has stayed the same, though it has been styled in a number of different ways since 1999.

1. Nike: The swoosh

Designed: 1971

Designer: Carolyn Davidson

Years in use: 1971 to present

Nike’s “swoosh” is one of the most famous symbols out there, but its beginnings weren’t so grandiose. It was created back in 1971 by designer Carolyn Davidson, who was a student at Portland State University at the time. The brief was to capture the idea of movement.

Davidson’s original drawings

She was initially paid $35 to create the logo, though she later received Nike shares. The company now ranks at number 89 in the Fortune 500, with a market valuation of over $100bn. That was $35 well spent.

The logo, still in use, on 2019 trainers
(Video) How To Make POWERFUL Ideas For Logo Designs


Logo inspiration: 10 examples of great logo design | Inside Design Blog? ›

The visual elements of a good logo. Logos are usually comprised of typography, graphics, and color schemes. These are visual design elements, and their quality can be subjective. Even so, good logo designers use brand research and logo design principles to optimize these elements.

What makes a good logo blog? ›

The visual elements of a good logo. Logos are usually comprised of typography, graphics, and color schemes. These are visual design elements, and their quality can be subjective. Even so, good logo designers use brand research and logo design principles to optimize these elements.

How do you write an inspiration for a logo? ›

Take matters into your own hands with our top 11 sources for getting logo ideas fast.
  1. Big brands. ...
  2. 99designs Discover. ...
  3. Your own brand story. ...
  4. Your competitors. ...
  5. Social media. ...
  6. Behance. ...
  7. Image searches. ...
  8. Wandering around stores.

What ideas make a logo successful? ›

How to make a good logo
  • Explore conceptual icons.
  • Use the space you have.
  • Play around with caps or lowercase.
  • Consider handwritten fonts.
  • Balance your tagline.
  • Adjust your name and tagline.
  • Let your logo breathe.
  • Ensure readability.
Jun 29, 2021

What should I write in my inspiration? ›

There are five steps to writing inspirational stories:
  1. Cultivate empathy. Before writing inspirational stories, you'd need to have strong empathy in how people feel. ...
  2. Create relatable characters and ideas. ...
  3. Deliver the struggle positively. ...
  4. Deliver hope. ...
  5. Conclude with tips.
Jan 29, 2019

What makes a logo memorable? ›

A memorable logo by definition is one that is not forgotten, which makes them timeless. Timelessness describes logos that are able to transcend their current audience and cultural context, and are designed with the future in mind.

What are 6 examples of logos? ›

They are: Wordmark, Lettermark (Monogram), Pictorial Mark, Abstract Mark (both often referred to as icons), Emblem, and Combination Mark.

What are 4 types of logos? ›

Here are four types of logo designs to consider with examples of logos we've recently designed:
  • Wordmark logo design. Office Max, Home Depot, and Walmart all represent the most commonly used type of logo — the wordmark. ...
  • Lettermark logo design. ...
  • Brandmark logo. ...
  • Iconic logo design.
Feb 9, 2018

What are the 5 basic type of logo? ›

The five basic categories of logo styles are: wordmarks, lettermarks, brandmarks, combination marks and emblems. This post is going to explain how each category is defined, give you some famous examples and explain when and why they should be used.

What is the most popular logo ever? ›

Coca-Cola logo and brand is the most recognisable in the world. The red and white Coca-Cola logo is recognised by 94% of the world's population. The importance of a logo design can't be understated as is shown from this list of most famous logos.

What are 4 elements of a good logo? ›

Logo brand, Style, Colours, and font are the four basic elements of logo design. It is a crucial part of the design process where you must put in a lot of thought and effort to come up with something unique and distinctive.

What are the 5 principles of good design? ›

Principles of design
  • Balance.
  • Alignment.
  • Proximity.
  • Repetition.
  • Contrast.
Feb 27, 2019

What is the first rule of logo design? ›

1. Preliminary Work Is a Must. Preliminary sketches are an important first step in designing an effective logo. These can be as simple as paper and pen drawings or drafts made using a vector program, such as Illustrator.

What are the three C's of logos? ›

The 3 Cs of brand messaging: Consistency, clarity and character.

What makes a logo high quality? ›

Make it vector for scalability

Logos must look sharp at different sizes, in a variety of formats and color versions. Creating a logo using vectors (shapes, drawing, and type) allows for infinite scaling and consistently high quality.

What are five benefits of a good logo? ›

Let's take a deeper look at all of these points below.
  • It Grabs Attention. Attention spans are short these days – especially consumers'. ...
  • It Makes a Strong First Impression. ...
  • It's the Foundation of Your Brand Identity. ...
  • It's Memorable. ...
  • It Separates You From Competition. ...
  • It Fosters Brand Loyalty. ...
  • Your Audience Expects it.

What is the secret of a good logo? ›

A logo needs to stand for something, being closely aligned with an organization's key mission, values, differentiators and vision. This not only ensures the logo has a big impact, but that all efforts stemming from it do as well.

What not to do for a logo? ›

Never alter the wordmark or any visual elements, and do not change the font of the wordmark or accompanying names of colleges or divisions. Never overprint something on top of the logo, and do not use the logo as a background pattern. The minimum recommended size for the standard logo is 1" in height.

What is positive inspiration? ›

Being positively inspired is when someone is making progress towards their immediate, conscious goals and awakening to something new, better, or more!

What is the most common inspiration? ›

Going out in nature: Certainly the most common source of inspiration. Take a walk in the park or go for a nature walk. Perhaps nature can give you what you seek.

How do you express inspiration? ›

10 ways to inspire others
  1. Build up those around you.
  2. Be enthusiastic.
  3. Have integrity.
  4. Be empathetic.
  5. Maintain a positive outlook.
  6. Practice gratitude.
  7. Stand your ground.
  8. Set clear goals and strive to achieve them.
Mar 8, 2022

What are 3 things that make a strong logo? ›

  • As mentioned, a good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic and simple in form, and it conveys the owner's intended message. ...
  • Simplicity makes a logo design easily recognizable, versatile and memorable. ...
  • Following closely on this principle of simplicity is that of memorability.
Aug 26, 2009

How to make a killer logo? ›

Here are a few tips that will make the whole process easier and more fun.
  1. Get inspired. The first step to a killer logo is an idea. ...
  2. Check the rivals. ...
  3. Create a semantic kernel. ...
  4. Choose the right type of logo. ...
  5. Have a look at trends. ...
  6. Don't give up on sketches. ...
  7. Try different tools. ...
  8. Test it.

How can a logo be meaningful? ›

Marketers say, a brand logo should not just be a design, it should have a hidden meaning that the company can relate to. A logo should communicate company's values, its background, its mission and every other possible thing related to the company.

What is logos in simple words? ›

Logos, or the appeal to logic, means to appeal to the audiences' sense of reason or logic. To use logos, the author makes clear, logical connections between ideas, and includes the use of facts and statistics. Using historical and literal analogies to make a logical argument is another strategy.

What are short examples of logos? ›

Logos is when we use cold arguments – like data, statistics, or common sense – to convince people of something, rather than trying to appeal to an audience's emotions. Here's an example of logos in action from our man Aristotle himself: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man.

Do you know the 7 different types of logos? ›

The seven different types of logos consist of abstract, combination, emblem, lettermark, mascot, pictorial, and wordmark. Read below to learn more about what they are, what they achieve, and when to use them (with pros and cons, too!).

What are the three elements of logo design? ›

A logo can be summarized in just three words: icon, font and color. But, the work that goes into designing each of these elements is a lot to unpack.

What is the best shape for a logo? ›

If you're looking for a professional and strong logo shape for your business, a square or rectangle may be the right choice. Squares are the perfect vehicle to contain or frame visual elements. They anchor the eye and draw attention to the most important aspects of your logo design.

What is a rule of logo design? ›

Strong lines and letters show up better than thin ones, and clean, simple logos reduce and enlarge much better than complicated ones. But although your logo should be simple, it shouldn't be simplistic. Good logos feature something unexpected or unique without being overdrawn.

What is logo rules? ›

A logo must communicate. A logo must be relevant. A logo should be memorable. A logo should be timeless. A logo should not have superfluous elements.

What are the 5 elements of brand image? ›

Five Key Brand Elements:
  • Brand Position. ...
  • Brand Promise. ...
  • Brand Personality. ...
  • Brand Story. ...
  • Brand Associations.

What is the oldest logo in use today? ›

What Is the Oldest Unaltered Logo Still in Use Today? British tea company Twinings has the oldest logo that has been in continuous use with no alterations made to the logo's design. It was created for the tea company more than two centuries ago, in 1787.

What is the most recognizable logo in the US? ›

According to the survey, the simple 'apple' icon is the most recognizable logo in the US, followed by the golden arches of McDonald's and the familiar typography of Coca Cola.

What is the most popular logo color? ›

The Most Common Logo Colors

Blue: 33% Red 29% Black, Grey, Silver: 28% Yellow, Gold: 13%

What are 5 key elements to a great logo? ›

Five important elements of logo design
  • Simplicity. “I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. ...
  • Relevance. “Socrates said, “Know thyself.” ...
  • Versatility. “Beauty is the harmony of form and function.” ...
  • Uniqueness. “Insist on yourself; never imitate.” ...
  • Memorable.
Oct 3, 2017

What truly makes a great logo? ›

A great logo is distinctive, appropriate, memorable, practical and simple in form. It conveys the owner's intended message, as well as being able to be printed at any size while remaining effective without color needed.

What is the key to a good logo? ›

How to make a good logo
  • Explore conceptual icons.
  • Use the space you have.
  • Play around with caps or lowercase.
  • Consider handwritten fonts.
  • Balance your tagline.
  • Adjust your name and tagline.
  • Let your logo breathe.
  • Ensure readability.
Jun 29, 2021

What are the three principles of logo? ›

The 6 key principles of logo design to know about:

Originality. Versatility. Scalability. Balance & proportion.

What makes a logo so powerful? ›

The general consensus among designers is that logos should be unique, scalable, simple, and work well in monochrome.

What makes a logo great and iconic? ›

A good logo needs to be three things: appropriate, distinct and memorable, and simple. The magic happens when a logo is distinctive and simple. It needs to be recognizable and translatable across platforms. One way you could test the simplicity and distinctiveness of a logo is to try and draw it by hand from memory.

What makes a logo stand out? ›

Logos should have a defined meaning or cause, resonating with those you want to reach and helping them relate to your products and services. Consider successful logos such as Nike, Starbucks, and even McDonalds. The logos are easy to recall and have clear, distinct, and memorable designs.

What should you avoid when designing a logo? ›

Logo Design Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
  • Poor Font Choice. When it comes to creating a successful logo, choosing the right font can make or break a design. ...
  • Too Busy. ...
  • Too Abstract. ...
  • Copycat Design. ...
  • Raster Images. ...
  • Driven by Trends. ...
  • Clashing Colors. ...
  • Unclear Intention.
Aug 8, 2018


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