There are many, many great logo designs out there. Design in general can essentially be great by anyone. Great designers design great things, look at Stefan Kanchev, my favorite logo designer. He has created masterpieces that have yet to be witnessed by mass-consumers. A European artist whose designs never experienced the success of a Paul Rand or Paula Scher. This leads to the question: what is really taken into consideration for a great logo to be considered best?
Concept? Execution? Does it help create an identity design system? Does it represent the brand values of a company? is it original? Yes. It should all be taken into consideration.
I have compiled a list of what are the best logos of all-time and I tried to do this without the bias of a successful brand. Well, as much as I could anyway and followed the 5 rules of good logo design to do so.
25. CNN logo
The CNN logo was created in just under 24 to 48 hrs in 1980. The concept is simple and effective. A cable running through it’s bold initials.
24. Warner Communications logo
23. Exploratorium logo
Created by Landor, the exploratorium logo is a unique mark that easily helps create an identity. The large circle in near middle is a tool that can encircle anything interesting and deserving of a closer look. See it at work on the Landor site.
22. Gotham Books logo
A mark that represents the company, what they do and it’s location. Self explanatory logo design perfectly executed. Design by Eric Barker, now working with The O Group.
21. 3M logo
The 3M logo is simple, bold and memorable. It is also done with the Helvetica typeface. Helvetica is everywhere.
20. 9/11 Memorial logo
Simplicity is key, along with a good concept. The 11 in 9/11 is the key feature and represents the fallen twin towers in New York, the blue represents the sky and the empty space that was created. Another masterpiece by Landor.
19. Westinghouse logo
The Westinghouse logo was created by the great Paul Rand in 1960. Although he said the logo design had nothing to do with circuit boards, the logo’s greatness is measured by all the imitations after it’s creation.
18. Electrica Bahia logo
Electrica Bahia logo design by Oficina de Diseno y Marketing uses negative space to create the company’s initials in a creative and original way.
17. Hartford Whalers logo
A great minimalistic logo design separates it from most logos and ranks 17 on my list. I still think it would of represented a different brand better. Maybe as a whale activist logo.
16. Citi logo
Citi logo was designed by Pentagram’s Paula Scher. After a shortened wordmark and a merger with travelers, Scher created this logo to tie everything together. Citi and Travelers’ umbrella to create this mark. See Citi’s logo rank on the 10 best wordmark logos of all-time .
15. MOCA logo
MOCA stands for The Museum of Contemporary Art. What better way to represent contemporary than by using it’s very own geometric shapes that define the art form. Created by Chermayeff & Geismar.
14. WWF logo
Negative space defined and works great in black.
13. FedEx logo
12. Mercedes-Benz logo
The Mercedes Benz logo exudes luxury with it’s simple form and elegant lines. Others brands are close to follow on the identity Mercedes has created.
11. Chase logo
The Chase logo set the stage for what logo design is today. Chermayeff & Geismar were one of the first ever to introduce an abstract logo for a corporation in 1961.
10. apple logo
Did you know that, original apple logo designer Rob Janoff put a bite mark into the apple so it wouldn’t be confused for a peach. Apple logo designed in 1976.
Coca-Cola’s inventor John Pemberton originally created the drink as a cough syrup in 1885. It was also green too.
8. IBM logo
The final IBM logo was designed by Paul Rand in 1972. He first designed a solid IBM logo in 1956, then a second version in 1967 with 13 lines and finally the finished version with 8 lines in 1972. I wrote an article about a possible 16 year WIP by Paul Rand for IBM’s identity, check it out.
7. The Paley Center for Media logo
A very original idea and maybe the only great solution for The Paley Center for Media logo. An out of focus and in-focus design executed through the use of bold and thin typefaces for contrast, evoking a lens focusing on its subject.
6. Olympics logo
5. V&A logo
Elegant and an original idea, yet easily read as V&A for the Victoria and Albert Museum. Created in 1989 by Alan Gerard Fletcher.
4. Nike logo
The Nike logo was created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson for $35. Something that doesn’t happen today and with good reason. Nike’s logo is an abstract representation of the greek goddess of victory’s wing. In 1983 and after much success, company owner Phil Knight presented her with a gold swoosh ring and an envelope full of Nike stock.
3. NBC logo
2. The Library of Congress logo
The Library of Congress logo is one of those identity marks that stops your thinking for a second. It’s just a great logo that represents the Library through it’s the open book and also represents Congress through the hidden yet obvious flag. It was designed by Sagi Haviv, partner and designer at Chermayeff & Geismar.
1. I Heart NY logo
Milton Glaser designed the I Love NY logo in 1977 for the city of New York. During that decade, New York had one of the highest crime rates in the world. Tourism was taking a hit. The introduction of the logo changed the perception of New York tourism and swept the world in the process. People from all over the world have copied and profited from the identity Glaser designed for free.