Like many other things (it seems), logos have their roots in ancient Egypt. The culture was among the first to use a standardized writing system made up of symbols, with specific colors holding specific meaning. Later in history, medieval Europe prescribed meaning to specific symbols as a part of different crests and coats of arms, each designed to convey the status of the bearer in society and to explain who they were.
Around that same time, cities were growing larger as more people moved in, giving up the agricultural lifestyle. In order to determine what was a shop and what it sold, people began to hang signs depicting their wares. Branding took hold in 1389, when King Richard II required every alehouse to hang a sign to show what their businesses offered. The brewers combined heraldic images with the names of their establishments. The invention of the printing press in 1440 pushed branding further, as printers designed printers’ marks to identify materials they published. Soon regular newspapers were distributed, containing ads from various businesses, though mostly still text only.
During the Victorian era, though, things began to change. Color printing was introduced and companies wanted to ornament their brands — creating stylized text and designs that would continue to represent the businesses and what they did. Many of the logos we know today emerged in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
According to 24/7 Wall St., these ten company logos are the oldest in the world, with designs mostly unchanged through the centuries.
10. Sherwin-Williams, logo first used in 1905
9. Shell Oil, logo first used in 1904
8. Prudential, logo first used in 1896
7. Twinings Tea, logo first used in 1887
6. Johnson & Johnson, logo first used in 1887
5. Levi Strauss & Co., logo first used in 1886
4. Bass Ale, logo first used in 1876
3. Heinz, logo first used in 1869
2. Peugeot, logo first used in 1850
1. Stella Artois, logo first used in 1366
If you want your logo (or your customers’) to make lasting impressions, reach out to Idea Custom Solutions and let us create stunning designs.