Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

10 timeless logo designs

Regular visitors and subscribers will have probably seen the recent showcase 30+ Logo Design Love reader favourites. Some fantastic designs, no doubt.

Here I’ve shown 10 of your favourites that I consider timeless logos.

Shell logo design

1. Shell
Logo designer: Raymond Loewy

New Man logo design

2. New Man
Logo designer: Raymond Loewy

Deutsche Bank logo design

3. Deutsche Bank
Logo designer: Anton Stankowski

Families logo design

4. Families
Logo designer: Herb Lubalin

CBS logo design

5. CBS
Logo designer: William Golden

Fender logo design

6. Fender
Logo designer: ?

Nike logo design

7. Nike
Logo designer: Carolyn Davidson

Apple logo design

8. Apple
Logo designer: Rob Janoff

Mother and Child logo design

9. Mother & Child
Logo designer: Herb Lubalin

Fashion Center logo design

10. The Fashion Center
Logo designer: Pentagram

I wanted to limit this feature to 10 designs, and they’re shown in no particular order. Thanks again to everyone who voted for their favourites!

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

33 appreciated comments

  1. What is your definition of timeless? Many of these logos have undergone numerous logo redesigns… they are indeed memorable though.

  2. I would have to agree with Jacob on this one. By timeless, I’m guessing you mean recognizable and extremely well-designed? Either way, very effective and “classic” (maybe would be a good word) logo designs. Thanks for the post.

  3. Jacob, Preston,

    By timeless, I mean ‘not affected by time’.

    With the exception of the gradient on the Apple logo, I believe these designs will hold their strength 100 years from now. Who knows how design will have changed by then, but that’s what I think today.

  4. It is strange how some of the same logos come up when designers talk about logos that has had an impact on how we design today and in the future.

    It is a good reminder for us to see where it started and where we are to give us an idea of where we are going.

    I particularly think the New Man logo is genius. The way it will look the same if you rotate it 180˚.

    D

  5. The Families logo is one of my all time favorites. I really like the Fender logo as well. I agree that they are all certainly timeless!

  6. Instead of Fender, why not another Lubalin type treatment?
    Say “Avant Garde”, the mag. logotype?

  7. The basis of the logos are still pretty much the same, just tweaked over time.

    Personally I love the rainbow version of the apple logo, but, the newer versions really sit with the brand’s change in direction to a more clinical, controlled and understated stance.

    Loewy is/was a genius.

  8. I remember having to analyse the shell logo. It was in all of my design books. Good stuff. Thanks.

  9. Shell may be timeless, but man it’s ugly. Is it the colours I object to or more I wonder?

    Families is nice …( beginning to think you are quite obsessed with it though ;) ha ha )

    Jacob poses and interesting question though …is it timesless because it’s able to be timeless, or is it timeless because it’s already stood the test of time?

    I feel that very few logos can truly stand the test of time without a little tweak to keep them modern. Hence the gradient and web 2.0 effects from Apple.

    As long as they can keep their core image despite the tweaks, I think that is fine though and if anything desirable to continue to feel ‘fresh’ to their customer base.

  10. Shell logo ugly? Hmmmm, not sure I agree with you but each to their own right? Shell is a great example of a logo that does everything a text book logo should, in theory, do. Easily recognisable from crazy distance, works in mono and my favourite part…it doesn’t need title text, just in case we didn’t get it. I love motorsport too so these kind of logos really appeal to me, sightly brash and very obvious. Love it!!

    The timeless point is a very good one though. Can a logo truly be timeless? Especially with so many visual trends and styles these days and the pressure for companies to keep up with the Jones’, I think it would take a great piece of design and a company with a properly good set of balls to stick to their roots.

    Some companies are clever with it though, I used to work for Nike and they never really changed the look of the swoosh but put all the trend and modernity efforts into campaigns and imagery/styling and the product ranges. They use their logo differently though, more as a punctuation mark rather than the front of house. I think it’s easier to create a timeless logo if the logo in question doesn’t necessarily have to convey a specific message.

    To be honest though, I like how logos need to change. Where would our love of old logos be if they never changed them?

  11. I agree that New Man is genius. My favorite, however, is The Fashion Center. I’ve never seen it, and I really like it.

  12. Daniel,

    I’ve been searching for similar logos to the New Man one (rotatable, if that’s a word). They’re quite ingenious.

    Pat,

    These designs were chosen from the readers’ favourites, of which there were approximately 30.

    Amanda,

    I’m actually very fond of the Shell logo, but appreciate your design opinion. Maybe I’ll stop publishing the Families logo. :) Sometimes it just gets tempting to link to the same image source rather than create new files.

    Here’s a comment of yours I particularly agree with:

    As long as they can keep their core image despite the tweaks, I think that is fine though and if anything desirable to continue to feel ‘fresh’ to their customer base.

    Al,

    Yep, the basis of the logos remain the same. A valid point. Can a logo be truly timeless? I’ll publish a blog post about that.

    Where would our love of old logos be if they never changed them?

    Another good question!

  13. nice logos but id have to say my favorite logo is LOGO DESIGN LOVE is perfect simple nice and sucessfull…another thing i love is this site is simple useful easy to get around.

  14. nadeem

    I think a logo gets to be ‘timeless’ because of the way and the amount of times it has been branded. In the same way, a ‘non-genius’ logo can remain timeless with good branding over centuries.

    Basically I think, a logo, be it iconic or typographic, should be able to speak of itself and the brand it represents without no extra clues or attached text.

    There are no visual clues in the Shell, NewMan, Nike, Apple, Fender, CBS about their brand. I mean, if I see the Nike logo standing alone, and not having heard of it before….i wont even guess it is associated shoes. Contrarily I would be sure that Pentagram is related with some fashion or sewing stuffs!

    So I conclude that ‘timeless logos’ are those that have been world widely well branded. And a ‘genius logos’ are those that already give a clue about their identity all by themselves.

  15. I am sure I remember hearing that Nike only paid a student $30 for their logo design at the begining, just goes to show you don’t have to pay a fortune for great design, bet she is pretty gutted she doesn’t get some sort of royalties!

  16. Amanda Vlahakis

    Yes the student paid £35.00 and also provided design support to Nike for some time after that until she could no longer cope with the demand and they were forced to use a large design agency.

    I believe in the future once they had achieved mass success they did give her some shares that I imagine came to some considerable value.

    A bit about the Nike story at: http://www.trulyace.com/blog/thoughts-on-design/chicken-or-the-egg-logo-or-the-brand/

  17. Julio,

    That’s very kind of you.

    Nadeem,

    I like your conclusion about timeless being related to branding. A logo doesn’t need to say what a company does, but it can certainly help if it does.

    Amanda,

    Thanks for getting back to Freya, and offering the link to your article.

  18. You know, I never understand how the V&A logo is always missing from these lists – I could look at it all day.

  19. Ditto, Steve.

  20. David, i beleive that proper term for new man logo is rotational ambigram: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambigram
    Nice collection, and yes, they are all timeless!

  21. Indeed, Bojan. I’ve yet to create an ambigram for a logo client, but believe Raja has produced some great examples.

  22. That New Man logo looks like the sister of the Nike Air Max 360 logo.

  23. Are they timeless? surly most of these excellent logos are not yet old enough to be given that accolade or have been modified many times eg, Apple.

    If I had to put up a list of timeless logos the Bass’s red triangle ( which I believe is the UK’s oldest registered trade mark ) would have to be on it.

    But lets not forget the oldest logos that are still in use – national flags and coats of arms. Now they are timeless.

  24. Hi Trevor,

    Thanks for commenting. Bass’ red triangle is one I’ll do some research on. I wasn’t aware it was so established, so I appreciate you dropping by.

  25. April

    I have never said this about a logo (that I remember), but I actually felt moved by the Mother & Child logo– it’s beautiful!

    I also think Families and Fashion Center are very smart looking!

    And of course, I like Apple and Nike, but really, who doesn’t? ;)

  26. Stig Sjölund

    Apple
    IBM
    Walt Disney
    Tirol
    Shell


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