Logo Design Love

on logos and brand identity design

Mobil logo

Mobil logo old

Mobil logo sketch

And the resulting 1964 wordmark…

Mobil logo

“The idea of the red O came about partly to reinforce a design concept to use circular canopies, pumps, and display elements for a distinctive and attractive look. It also served to help people pronounce the name correctly (Mo-bil, not Mo-bile), and of course to add a single memorable and distinctive element to an otherwise very simple lettering style.”

Images/excerpt from Chermayeff & Geismar‘s superb new book, Identify, published by Print Publishing.

You might also like:
An interview with Tom Geismar
An interview with Sagi Haviv

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

11 appreciated comments

  1. BJ

    I was always a fan of the Mobil logo, however I always felt that something was missing from the end. I don’t know if it’s because I am used to there being an “e” at the end of the word or if I just think the Mobil Pegasus would have fit well.

  2. I was born in 1971, so when I grew up the “new” design shown was the only Mobile identity I ever knew. It wasn’t until they reincorporated the Pegasus that I realized the style and panache the 1964 wordmark destroyed. It was part of the san-serif-make-everything-look-modern that Chrysler likewise did (pentagon star replacing older seal mark). As a combination of nostalgia, love of the shape, and removal of austerity, I was happy when the pegasus came back. On looking at the mobil.com site now, looks like it’s gone again in the Exxon Mobil merger.

    Oh, and I also grew up during the NASA worm era, and was way happy that the meatball was restored.

    Call me curmudgeon and non-visionary, but i’ll stick by it.

  3. Helvetica, is that you again?

    (Just saw the movie. Went right to the ol’ cortex.)

  4. Michael S Rivette

    The font used in the Mobil Logo is a modified Avant Garde I believe.

  5. definitely not helvetica.

    I was always fascinated with the Mobil logotype.

    thanks David.

  6. Josh W

    I always thought the Mobil typeface was somewhat akin to Futura.

  7. Fun and educational.

    Brandon Aragon say’s “def not helv” and I’m all “how does one parse the nuances with such confidence?” so I throw ‘em into a font sampler . . . and the difference is pronounced.

    Avant Garde is geometrical, apparently perfect circles while Helv uses complex curves (there is no doubt a lovely esoteric term for that.)

    Futura isn’t that similar, really, with generally narrower strokes, Cap M outside strokes are angled, not vertical.

  8. Michael S. Rivette

    Glad to see your appreciation for the forms. :)

  9. The latest Mobil logo is very timeless and I would never have guessed it was made nearly 50 years ago. It’s a very approachable logo with it’s simplicity although I don’t think the red O makes any different to how you pronounce it because it doesn’t have an E on the end therefore to me it should only be said one way.

  10. Did I really type “say’s”?

    Urgle. Late night.

  11. Andrew

    ¿Is it true that it was designed in Mexico and that Chermayeff & Geismar took all the credit? If this is true and all the info is leaked, wow! This could change a lot of things.

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