If there’s a symbol that companies always rely on to sell their brand, it’s an amazing logo with a smart tagline. And then there are logos of some of the most recognized brands in the world which have created an impact on our lives. Symbols that have their own stories to tell with many having unlikely origins and inspirations.

Check out the inspirations behind the logos of these thirteen famous brands

1. Amazon

Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wasn’t looking for anything specific when searching for a company name. But he wanted a company name that began with ‘A’. This was because he wanted it to appear first in the alphabetical order. While skimming through a dictionary, he settled on Amazon. He aspired the company to be as big as the Amazon river which is the biggest in the world.

The A was then connected to the Z implying they sell everything from ‘A to Z’ and resulted in a smile on the logo.

2. BMW

It’s a popular myth amongst car enthusiasts that the BMW logo was inspired by a propelling rudder. But it’s an incorrect myth. The logo has the circular Rapp symbol. But the inner quadrants represent the Bavarian Free State colors. The only difference is that the colors are positioned opposite. This is because it was illegal to use national symbols in a commercial trademark.

The myth originated from a 1929 advertisement, in which the logo appears in front of a propeller. This was around the same time when BMW acquired the license to build Pratt & Whitney radial aircraft engines.

3. McDonald’s

The golden arches remain a well-known design in the food industry. Originally conceptualized as a bridge or gateway to satiate hunger, the arches were made yellow to attract hungry customers. The company was going through a transition in the 1960’s. It hired consultant and psychologist Louis Cheskin to help navigate this change.

When McDonald’s thought about leaving behind the arches, Cheskin protested. He argued that the golden arches should stay because they symbolized a pair of breasts. From a Freudian perspective, he believed that such shapes occupy an immense place in a person’s subconscious.

4. Linux

A penguin is the last thing that come’s to people’s minds when they think about computers. So what made Tux the official mascot?  He was created by Larry Ewing in 1996 along with Alan Cox and was further improved by Linus Torvalds. But there’s a rumor surrounding it. It’s believed that Torvalds was overwhelmed by penguins after being bitten by one at National Zoo & Aquarium, Canberra. A jocular condition penguinitis was thus framed. He commented:-

“I’ve been to Australia several times, these days mostly for Linux.Conf.Au. But my first trip—and the one when I was bitten by a ferocious fairy penguin: you really should keep those things locked up!”

5. National Geographic

The iconic rectangle actually represents a photo frame . Yellow depicts a motif of the sun and is also the color associated with knowledge and wisdom. So in summary, the logo tells people that the company is a window to knowledge and information while being connected to its roots.

6. Chupa Chups

Here’s a fun fact. The Chupa Chups logo was actually designed by Salvador Dali. One of the greatest surreal artists actually has a hand in a brand that’s etched in every child’s memory. The Catalan lollipop made its debut in 1958. The company founder Enric Bernat planned on creating a bonbon on a stick. He called the product “GOL, imagining the candy as a soccer ball and the open mouth a net. But with no luck, Bernat hired an ad agency that renamed that renamed it “Chupa Chups” (from the Spanish word chupar, meaning “to suck”). In 1969, Bernat complained about what he had while having coffee with his artist friend Salvador Dali.

7. Disney

There’s a unique design to the Disney logo that mesmerizes adults and children and alike. But here’s a truth only a few know. While Walt did create the original plans for Mickey Mouse, the final design was actually done by the famed Disney animator Ub Iwerks.  Not only that, the famed signature in the logo is also his stylized wording. Legal documents and examination no link. In fact, rumor had it that Walt couldn’t even reproduce the famed signature.

8. Mercedez-Benz

The Mercedez-Benz conglomeration has been on the road of success ever since its inception in 1926 under the name of Daimler-Benz. Co-founder Karl Benz actually carries the legacy of creating the world’s first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen. So how did the logo ever come into the company’s picture? To begin with, the company’s motto reads ‘The best or nothing’. The tri-star represents the companies dominance over land, sea, and air in terms of all its machines.

9. Rolling Stones

Termed as ‘Hotlips’, the rolling stones logo has gained the likes of the most recognized design in rock and roll. The design is meant to represent the band’s rebellious principles mixed with an anti-establishment element. It was personally picked by frontman Mick Jagger who was a fan of John Pasche, then a student at London’s Royal College of Art.

The story goes that Jagger was mesmerized by the Hindu goddess Kali. And while Kali is idolized with a large protruding tongue, Pasche found greater inspiration in Jagger himself.

“I went into this sort of wood-paneled boardroom and there he was,” Pasche said. “Face-to-face with him, the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and mouth.”

10. Unilever

Unilever has established a name for itself in the spheres of nutrition, hygiene, and personal care. They appointed Wolff Olins to help create a new brand for the company who formulated a unique design.


It consists of twenty-six icons specifically woven together to form a U, replacing the older one which was made in the 1970’s.


11. Apple

The initial logo for Apple was a simple woodcut drawing showing Isaac Newton under an apple tree. Variations in the design came about with a rainbow colored design that represents Newton’s experimentations with light. But what about the bite? Although official sources claim that the company name was chosen to be Apple just because Steve Jobs loved the word’s simplicity, there are many speculations.

A certain theory states that the design was an homage to Alan Turing, a pioneer in the world of computers, who allegedly killed himself with a cyanide-laced apple. A simpler theory suggests that the bite was added so that people wouldn’t confuse it for a cherry.

12. Starbucks

Let’s go all the way back to 1971 when Starbucks was just around the corner. The company was searching for something that would connect the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots.

The founders stumbled upon a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid or Siren. In mythology, sirens were notorious for luring troubled men at sea by singing enchanting music and then wrecking their ships. The founders enjoyed the design describing it as a seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme.

But trouble struck the distribution due to the mermaid’s bare naked posture. The founders thus restyled the mermaid’s hairdo so it draped over the trouble spots. Then, in 1986, entrepreneur Schultz bought out the original Starbucks partners and placed her in the center of a green circle.

13. Rolls Royce

One of the most distinctive logos for the car giant remains ‘The Spirit of Ecstacy’. It was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries a love story between John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu and Thornton.

Eleanor (also known as Thorn) was the secretary of John Walter, who fell in love with her in 1902 when she worked for the company magazine. But the couple remained silent on the affair due to their social differences. Eleanor came from an impoverished social and economic background and Montagu was married to Lady Cecil Victoria Constance Kerr since 1889.

Sykes originally crafted a figurine of her in fluttering robes, having placed one forefinger against her lips – to symbolize the secret of their love affair.

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