Early Logos of Well-Known Brands

5 min read
Rainbow Apple Logo

Every now and then companies must change their corporate identity to keep up with the changing styles and times. That being said, here are ten early logos of well-known brands.

10. Yahoo!

Yahoo Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is Yahoo‘s fourth logo, which was in use from January 1996 to September 2013. The company’s original logo was known as the “Jumping Y Guy” and featured a blue circle and a yellow Y-shaped stick figure leaping into the air.

-There was a red version of this logo, too.
-Once upon a time if you went to Yahoo!’s home page and clicked on the logo’s exclamation point, you could hear the company’s trademark yodel, made famous by Country & Western music star Wylie Gustafson of Wylie & the Wild West. NOTE: You can listen to it on YouTube. Just type in “Yahoo yodel” into the search bar, and click on one of the videos that appears.
-Yahoo! is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”
-Yahoo! started out as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”

9. Apple

Old Apple Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Most people probably think the 7-colored, rainbow-like logo from the 1980s was Apple’s first logo. But, there was actually another one before it. The first Apple logo was first designed in 1976 by Ronald Wayne, and as you can see, it looks very different from the logo the company uses today. The logo shows Sir Isaac Newton sitting under the tree from where he derived his theorems of gravity. There’s a border around the image that reads: “Newton … A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone.”

8. Google

Old Google Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Google began in 1996 as a research project by Stanford University students Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The logo you see on the site’s home page is not the company’s original one. In fact, there were four (technically, there were five, because the company initially went by another name — see below) different logos before the current one. Most people probably only remember the one with the serifs (a.k.a. the little “feet” at the ends of the horizontal and vertical strokes of a letter).

-The name Google is a play on the word googol, a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The term reflects Google’s mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the internet.
-Google’s original name was BackRub.

7. Starbucks

Old Starbucks Logo
Source: Wikipedia

Starbucks was named after a nautical character, so it makes sense that the company would use a Siren in its logo. But, as you can see, the Siren in the old logo looks quite different from the image used in the current logo. The designers decided to cover up the bare-breasted creature to give her a more respectable look.

FUN FACT: According to Greek mythology, Sirens were half bird, half woman creatures that lived on remote islands surrounded by rocky cliffs and would lure passing sailors with songs. The sailors would become enchanted by the singing, crash into the shore and cliffs, and die.

6. McDonald’s

Mcdonalds Museum
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Bruce Marlin [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]
Before the golden arches, there was the golden arch. As you can see in the image above, the original McDonald’s logo only used one arch. But, the logo was later redesigned with two arches to resemble the arched shaped symbols on either side of the restaurant. The two arches were later merged to form the stylized “M” now identified worldwide.

FUN FACT: Rumor has it that the “M” in the McDonald’s logo is supposed to resemble two giant French fries.

5. Microsoft Windows

Old Windows Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Most people probably think the wavy Windows logo with the red, green, blue and yellow panes that dates back to 1990 was this company’s first logo, but there was actually another logo before that one. Ironically, it looks similar to the Windows 8 logo. When Microsoft released Microsoft Windows 1.0 on November 20, 1985, they had the single-color, four-pane logo you see above. Over the years the logo went through several changes before making its way back around to a more simplistic look.

4. Adidas

Adidas Trefoil Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The above picture is known as the Adidas Trefoil logo. It was first used on Adidas products in 1972 and was said to show the diversity of the Adidas brand. It would go on to become the company’s core logo for two decades. It’s currently being used on the Adidas Originals collection.

FUN FACT: Adi Dassler and brother, Rudolf, started Brothers Shoe Factory in 1924 and began manufacturing running spikes, which featured two stripes across them. After a rift, the two went their separate ways and formed their own companies. Adi formed Adidas, but could no longer use the two-stripe look from his former company, so he added a third stripe in the middle.

3. Mozilla

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Fsf02 [MPL 1.1 (https://www.mozilla.org/MPL/1.1/)]
Before there was Mozilla Firefox, there was Mozilla Phoenix. It was released on September 23, 2002, with the goal of providing the best browsing experience possible to as many people as possible.

-The Phoenix browser was renamed to Firebird, and then eventually to Firefox. The Firebird logo used the same image as the Phoenix logo shown above.
-Mozilla Firefox is open-source software, meaning you can modify Firefox’s source code and create your own web browser — you just can’t call it “Mozilla Firefox” or use the Firefox logo if you do.

2. Pepsi

Old Pepsi Logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons

When we think of Pepsi‘s logo, we tend to think of the iconic Pepsi Globe — which has certainly seen its share of changes over the years. But, there were other logos before the Pepsi Globe, including the stylized wordmark shown above, which was introduced in 1940 and used until 1950. It was reintroduced in 2014.

FUN FACT: This brand wasn’t always known as Pepsi-Cola. When the beverage was originally marketed in 1898, it was called “Brad’s Drink,” after its creator, Caleb Bradham. Bradham eventually settled on the name Pepsi-Cola to highlight two of the drink’s main ingredients — Pespin and kola nuts.

1. Lay’s

Old Lays Logo
Source: SeekLogo

America’s favorite potato chip has been around for a long time–since 1932, to be exact. And, in that time, its logo has seen a few changes, although nothing drastic. As you can see, the above logo looks different from the 3D version in use today.

FUN FACT: It was during the Great Depression that Herman W. Lay, then a delivery man for an Atlanta-based snack company, founded the Lay’s potato chip company. The once small business was originally based in Nashville, TN — but only for a short period of time. Its North American headquarters were eventually moved to Plano, TX.


Your turn! Do you remember any of these old logos? Leave a comment below.