Evolution of the LEGO logo

The red, white, yellow, and black LEGO logo is synonymous with one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers, but it didn’t always look so familiar.

LEGO signagePhoto by Faiz Zaki, in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The story began in 1932, when carpenter and joiner Ole Kirk Kristiansen established his business in the village of Billund, Denmark, manufacturing stepladders, ironing boards, stools, and wooden toys. His son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen started working in the business alongside him, aged just 12.

LEGO products, 1932The first product line, 1932.

LEGO logo evolution1934.

In 1934, Ole’s company and its products adopted the name LEGO, an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt,” meaning “play well.” The first company logo was used on correspondence, shipping labels, and other printed materials, but not yet on toys.

Ole Kirk Christiansen, 1934Ole Kirk Christiansen at his desk, 1934.

LEGO logo evolution1936.

This ink stamp “LEGO Fabriken Billund” was first used on wooden toys in 1936.

LEGO wooden car toyLEGO’s wooden cars, 1938.

LEGO wooden duck toyLEGO’s wooden duck, mid-1930s.

LEGO logo evolution1939/1940.

The factory had 10 employees by the time this logo iteration was introduced in 1939 or 1940. For the next 10 years it was used extensively on wooden toys, typically in the form of an applied decal.

In 1949, the forerunner to the LEGO brick we know today was launched under the name Automatic Binding Bricks.

LEGO Automatic Binding BricksAutomatic Binding Bricks, 1949.

In 1951, the Binding Bricks name was supplanted by LEGO Mursten (literally LEGO Bricks) because Ole’s son, Godtfred, wanted to establish wider recognition of the LEGO name.

LEGO Mursten packaging 1953LEGO Mursten packaging, 1953.

LEGO logo evolution1952-1953.

LEGO Chevrolet truck 904LEGO Chevrolet truck, 1953.

LEGO logo evolution1953-1955.

Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, 1953Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (current LEGO Group owner) and sisters, 1953.

LEGO logo evolution1953-1955.

During 1953, all three of the above logos were used.

LEGO factory, 1954The LEGO wooden toy factory, 1954.

LEGO employees, 1954Employees in the garden in front of the factory in Billund, 1954.

LEGO logo evolutionLate 1954.

The first of the oval logos, this appeared on LEGO Mursten catalogues. The company still hadn’t standardised the brand colour, and examples exist in several variations, typically depending on the colour of the catalogue.

LEGO logo evolution1955.

This logo first appeared on the System i Leg (System of Play) sets. The original appears to be hand-drawn and differs on various boxes from early 1955.

LEGO logo evolution1955-1959.

The classic dog bone logo from late 1955 was the first time the logo was standardised in design and colour. It was used across all toys lines and appears widely on both plastic and wooden toys.

LEGO logo evolutionThe German LEGO logo, 1956.

The current LEGO brick stud-and-tube coupling system was patented in 1958, the same year Ole Kirk Kristiansen passed away and his son Godtfred became head of the company. There were 140 employees in Billund.

LEGO logo evolution1960-1965.

The first of the rectangular/square logos. This and many variants were used worldwide for the next 13 years.

LEGO advertising, 1960Advertisement for Norske LEGO, 1960.

LEGO System packaging, 1960LEGO packaging, 1960.

Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, 1962Godtfred Kirk Christiansen at the International Toy Fair, 1962.

LEGO logo evolution1965-1972.

A variation of the 1960 logo that includes the yellow, red, blue, white, and black bars, and was the first to show the registered trademark symbol alongside the LEGO name.

LEGO Weetabix Castle, 1970The Weetabix Castle was a promotional set for Weetabix, 1970.

LEGOLAND, 1970The LEGOLAND range was also launched in 1970.

LEGO logo evolution1973-1998.

This logo appeared in 1973, the same year that LEGO began production and distribution in the US. It represents an attempt to cement a single worldwide logo and remains the most recognisable version of LEGO’s brand identity.

LEGO Space figures 1978LEGO Space figures, 1978, photo by Jorge R.

LEGO castle 1984LEGO castle, 1984 (retired, but not forgotten).

LEGO logo evolution1998 to present.

A subtle refinement (a “graphic tightening” in LEGO’s words) of the 1973 logo for better digital (i.e. internet) reproduction.

LEGO castle 70404LEGO King’s Castle, product no. 70404.

In 2000, LEGO was named “Toy of the Century” by both Fortune magazine and the British Association of Toy Retailers, and today the LEGO Group is owned by grandson of the founder, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the richest person in Denmark.

LEGO factory in Monterrey, Mexico, 2011LEGO factory in Monterrey, Mexico.

Sources:
Explore the LEGO history, on LEGO.com.
Brickipedia, the free LEGO encyclopaedia.

11 responses

  1. Hello, what a lovely story! Thanks for sharing. Can you let me know where can I find the LEGO logo sign taken in Putrajaya Malaysia? It would be great to check it out next time I am there!

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