What Are the Oldest Logos in the World?

While a logo itself is never going to dictate a company’s overall performance, there’s no doubt that it can play a big part in it. After all, we all know the power of branding – and this makes a difference whether you are a company that has been around for hundreds of years or one that is just starting out.

We recently came across an interesting piece from Time.com, which showed some of the oldest logos in the world. Unsurprisingly, these aren’t small brands by any stretch of the imagination – fueling the notion that a powerful brand (and clearly this involves logos) can be the reason why many businesses prosper over time.

At the same time, while many of these brands have been around for a long time and are incredibly successful, one has to wonder just how much attention the typical consumer spends “studying” these logos. Designers spend an age investing into hidden meanings, and to coin an example we could head over to eCommerce giant Amazon. The orange swoosh we have become all-too-familiar with links the letters A – Z – telling something of a story. Now, before we progress, just how many people have realized that up until now?

So, if we return back to Time.com’s list, who has made little or no changes to their logo over history?

It would be fair to say that you have probably heard of most of these brands. The oldest, by a long way, is Stella Artois whose origin dates all the way back to 1366. The horn logo that is plastered across bars all over the world is original and has barely changed despite umpteen changes in management.

If we then turn to Twinnings Tea, this is a brand who haven’t made one alteration to its logo over time. Sure, the Stella one we mentioned previously is almost an original, but there are slight modifications. Twinnings meanwhile, have kept things identical for 227 years.

There are some interesting inclusions as well. In the case of Shell, this is a brand that has always used a shell – but ones of different varieties. For example, it started as a mussel shell in 1897 but then changed to a scallop shell in 1904.

Other companies that have barely experienced a change include Levi Strauss, Bass Ale, and Sherwin-Williams.

Following on from the above, let’s again reiterate that a strong logo isn’t the only point that is going to create a strong business. Let’s not forget that a quick look at the oldest companies in the world (many of whom started in Japan), which is an interesting fact for most), are not referenced in the study put together by Time.com. Of course, there are umpteen reasons for this – but it’s a bit of a disclaimer for those of you who are thinking about investing all of your extra capital in branding. It can work, but it’s not the only thing that is going to make your business stand the test of time.

And then, finally to finish with, don’t forget that not all logos are a roaring success. On the contrary, some are memorable for all the wrong reasons, and this collection of twenty perhaps highlights this fact down to a tee.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan