What is the definition of an icon? Simple really, an icon is three things: 1) Highly recognizable, 2) Rich in history and 3) Meaningful. When you think of something or someone that is iconic, Marilyn Monroe or Frank Sinatra probably come to mind, but there are also images that help define the word “iconic”.
Partly as a celebration of our love of logos and partly because it’s just human nature to want to categorize and rank things, we’re launching our official list of the most 50 Most Iconic Logos. It was a labor of love to put the list together – let us know what you think. What would your list look like?
Check out the full list of the 50 Most Iconic Logos
The Definitive Ranking of the 50 Most Iconic Logos
On the surface, putting together this list of 50 iconic logos was a bit daunting, but that being said, it’s a challenge that the Logo Crew absolutely relished. We combed through just about every logo out there to come up with our definitive list. So take a scroll through and let us know what you think!
Logo Fun - Top 50 Most Iconic Logos
50. Gap - Is there anything that says "I'm a suburban mom" more than shopping at the Gap? While the Gap has been around since 1969, it truly reached iconic status in the early and mid 90's when Gap khakis became the status symbol of cool for preppy high schoolers around the country. Now a staple in suburban malls everywhere, the classic square navy logo is still an emblem of a logo that is recognizable and is symbolic of a very particular style.
49. Kodak - Founded in 1878, the Kodak logo is one of the few brand logos that has been around for well over 100 years and has remained relatively unchanged. It's a logo that is to this day, very recognizable and is inherently tied with the photography industry. While the company may not be what it was in it's heyday, the iconic logo is sure to endure as part of a lasting legacy for both Kodak and the photography industry.
48. HP - When you look at the HP logo, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the exorbitant price we pay for printer ink. That aside, the classic Hewlett-Packard logo is one that is known around the world and has remained fairly consistent throughout the company's 75+ year history. For the electronics and personal computing industries, HP continues to be a top brand and that is highlighted by their iconic logo.
47. PBS - This iteration of the now iconic PBS logo has been in use since 1984 and is instantly recognizable by almost every child who grew up in the 80's and 90's with Sesame Street. There have been a few slight changes over the years, but all in all, this logo has held up for decades.
46. Barbie - Even if Barbie has changed careers, hairstyles and outfits more times than you can count, one thing has stayed extremely consistent - the iconic Barbie logo. That casual, handwriting script has been a beacon call for over 60 years to young girls who were being taught that they truly could be anything. Truly iconic.
45. Bacardi - That now iconic Bacardi bat has been in use far longer than most people realize. First making it's debut in 1890, it's been tweaked over the years, but has included the same elements in every iteration. It's grown to symbolize quality, refinement, reliability and of course, really tasty rum.
44. Pepsi - Ah Pepsi - forever youthful, trendy and hip. Even though the Pepsi logo has undergone some fairly dramatic changes over the years, the color scheme and general shapes are still instantly recognizable and relatable for millions of fans. Plus the Cindy Crawford 1992 Pepsi commercial is pretty much the definition of iconic. Well done Pepsi.
43. American Express - While the American Express gladiator is infinitely cooler, it's the classic blue box that debuted in 1975 that lands Amex at our #43 spot. The American Express logo is one of those universally-recognized symbols of buying power that will continue to endure.
42. Virgin - Drawn on a paper napkin in 1979, the logo for Richard Branson's brainchild has gone on to become an iconic symbol of innovation, success and coolness. Whether on a plane, a record label or a spaceship, the Virgin logo is one that will be around in some way, shape or form for decades to come.
41. IBM - Affectionately called "big blue", the IBM logo is one of the most instantly recognizable logos in the world. The current version of the IBM logo was created in 1972 by Paul Rand and helps showcase the company's commitment to innovation, expertise, service and trust.
40. Levi's - One of the most classic American icon's this version of the Levi's logo has been in use since 1939 and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. For decades, the Levi's brand and logo has embodied the unbridled, youthful American spirit and for that, it lands at our number 40 spot.
39. Goodwill - The big smiling G has been an emblem of hope and assistance in America for decades. A staple in almost every major city in America, the Goodwill logo showcases not only good design, but how an iconic brand can use that design for a good purpose.
37. Converse - Is there anything quite as cool as a pair of Chuck Taylors? That iconic star has been used since all the way back in 1917 and for almost 100 years now, Converse shoes have been the epitome of laid-back cool for skater kids, basketball players and suburban moms alike.
36. Jack Daniel's - Another classic American logo that is has tremendous distinction and recognition around the world. The Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 logo embodies the essence of it's whiskey so well that there are very few liquor brands that could top it. An American icon through and through.
35. 7-eleven - Slurpees, Big Gulps and cheap coffee. 7-eleven is an American institution and it's logo is one that is both seen and recognized in almost every city in this great land. The bold, retro style of the logo reaffirms that 7-eleven has been here for decades and will continue to be for decades to come.
34. United Airlines - Unlike some of the other logos on this list, the United Airlines logo has gone through quite a few drastic changes over the years and this version is not the official logo currently being used by the company. That being said, for decades, the United Airlines logo symbolized the epitome of air travel and is still one of the most widely-recognized logos in the world.
33. 3M - While the 3M company has been around since 1906, the current version of the logo wasn't unveiled until 1977 when it became a feature on some of the most common products used in everyday life. It's a logo that symbolizes a boldness and commitment to innovation and is an American icon.
32. Kellogg's - The Kellogg's logo is one of those rare images that has remained consistent and true over the decades. Since 1906, the Kellogg's brand has been using the script logo that has become a staple in virtually every kitchen. Great products like Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes paired with great marketing and consistent branding make the Kellogg's logo an icon.
31. Lego - Even though Lego is only the world's 3rd largest manufacturer of toys, it's logo is the most recognizable and the most iconic of any toy brand. For most, just seeing the bright red Lego logo brings forth an intense need to build something awesome and that lands Lego at our number 31 spot.
30. New York Yankees - The Yankees logo is pretty much the definition of an iconic sports logo. Whether you love the Yanks or hate them, it's undeniable that the Yankees logo is recognizable the world-over and symbolizes a commitment to excellence in sports. Tie in a rich history of great players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and you have a truly iconic brand.
29. Chiquita - Sing it with me now - "I'm Chiquita banana and I've come to say I come from little island down equator way". Miss Chiquita has been gracing our bananas since 1944 and she’s become a staple in the produce aisle and in our homes ever since.
28. Canon - It seems strange in this day and age to reflect on a time when most people didn't own a personal camera. Canon helped change all that and to this day is still a symbol of excellence in photography.
27. Morton Salt - When it rains it pours is the slogan for Morton Salt and the little salt girl has been sheilding herself from the downpour since 1914. The Morton Salt logo is one of those that most people probably don't think about too often, but it is so recognizable and iconic that it had to make this list.
26. Adidas - The Adidas logo is one that has been a mainstay in sports for decades and has been a part of some truly iconic sports moments - particularly with soccer and the World Cup. Such close ties to iconic moments help give the Adidas logo it's iconic credibility.
25. Target - Has there ever been a logo that so clearly embodied the name of a company? The Target logo is one that has remained virtually unchanged since it's inception in 1962. While Target may lag slightly behind Wal-Mart in terms of sales, it's logo and branding comes in way ahead of the other retail giant.
24. FedEx - The FedEx logo is the newest logo on this list, having been redesigned to it's current version in 1994. Even though it's a mere 20 years old, the FedEx logo deserves it's place on this list, not just for the importance of the company, but for it's influence on logo design as a whole. Most already know this, but the arrow between the E and X ushered in a whole new era in logo design and for that, FedEx gets our number 24 spot.
23. Girl Scouts of America - Since 1978, this version of the Girl Scouts logo has been used to showcase the core ideals of female empowerment, strength and self-confidence. The Girl Scouts organization has a rich history and that history is showcased nicely in the logo, helping to make it a true American icon.
22. Chevrolet - It might just be us, but it's hard to look at the Chevy logo and not hear Bob Seger singing "Like a Rock". The Chevy logo has been remarkably consistent since the bowtie was adopted in 1914. The Chevy logo has firm roots in Americana and thoroughly embodies the American spirit of freedom, strength and hard work.
21. John Deere - Whether on the side of a tractor, the front of construction equipment or on a hat, the John Deere logo is one that is both instantly recognizable and respected. For over 150 years, John Deere has been producing quality equipment that has in turn produced an extremely loyal fanbase. It's one that is proud to wear and show off the John Deere logo and the history, quality and loyal following make the John Deere logo truly iconic.
20. Playboy - It wasn't too long ago that the Playboy logo was a much sought-after status symbol. For men in the 50's and 60's it symbolized a sexual freedom that was previously unheard of. The Playboy logo is an important one in American history as it was a big part of a larger societal movement and that makes it iconic.
18. Budweiser - The king of beers places high on our list with good reason - it's got everything an iconic logo needs: history, recognition and meaning. One of America's best-known exports and loved within our borders, the Budweiser logo lands at our number 18 spot.
17. MTV - Never has a logo so clearly defined a generation than the MTV logo. For teenage gen x-ers and gen y-ers, MTV became the go-to place for culture. In it's heyday, MTV was a hub of comedy, entertainment and of course, music. The MTV logo is still an important emblem of youth, but for it's specific ties and influence over generations x and y, the MTV logo earns the number 17 spot on our iconic logo list.
16. NBC - That beautiful colorful peacock was first introduced to American television audiences way back in 1956. While the popularity of the major television networks tends to come and go over time, the NBC peacock has remained a symbol of (mostly) quality entertainment. Tied to classic shows like Cheers, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live and Friends certainly helped boost the NBC logo to number 16.
15. Mercedes Benz - The Mercedes Benz logos is one of those status symbols that is almost universally admired and desired. Remaining both consistent and sophisticated since 1909, this logo didn't take long to reach the status of "icon" and that's a trophy that Mercedes is sure to keep for decades to come.
14. Starbucks - While Starbucks has been brewing up designer coffee for over 40 years, the brand didn't hit the masses until they started growing rapidly in the mid 90s. Prior to Starbucks, Americans viewed coffee as necessary fuel to get you through the day. Once Starbucks and their infamous two-tailed mermaid entered the scene, it not only became desirable to be seen with a Starbucks cup, but coffee became much more than fuel to the American public. As of 2014, the Starbucks logo is recognized the world-over and can be seen on virtually every corner of every street in America.
13. Chanel - Chanel not only helped redefine fashion for women with the little black dress, but it also helped usher in an era where what one wore was only secondary to the logo on the tag. The Chanel logo was designed by Coco Chanel herself in 1925 and since that time has become the definition of “fashion icon”.
12. Rolex - When people talk about wealth and the things that they would buy if they won the lottery, a Rolex watch is usually one of the first things to come up. It's 5-point crown has become synonomous with luxury and status and the Rolex logo is one that is worn with pride on the wrists of any who can afford it.
11. Harley Davidson - There is almost no image that symbolizes American cool quite like the Harley Davidson logo. It's orange and black shield has been worn proudly since 1910 and very little about this iconic logo has changed since then. The Harley Davidson motorcycle and it's logo symbolize so much of what makes America great - freedom, strength, toughness and it the logo looks fantastic on a black leather jacket. The Harley-Davidson logo earns a well deserved place at number 11 on our iconic logo list.
8. Ford - When the first Model T's rolled off the manufacturing line back in 1903, it ushered in a whole new era. For the first time, automobiles were accessible to everyone - not just the elite and for a motor-loving American public, Ford quickly became the brand of choice. Today, Ford still manufactures 50% of the cars on the road in America and the Ford logo, which has remained virtually the same since the company opened it's doors, has become an iconic symbol of the American automobile.
7. Google - While Google is one of the newest companies on this list, it did not take long for the Google logo to reach icon status. Now the ultimate symbol of where to find everything, the phrase "just Google it" is now a part of most American's everyday vernacular. Seen and recognized almost everyday by most of the world's population, Google has definitely earned it's number 7 spot on our iconic logo list.
6. The Olympics - Is there anything more symbolically beautiful than the Olympic rings? Symbolizing unity, diversity and athletic competition at it's finest, the Olympic rings are recognized the world-over as the ultimate symbol of peaceful competition and that makes them truly iconic.
5. BMW - Is there any other logo on the planet that is viewed as a status symbol more than the BMW logo? It's a distinctive, sought after logo that has remained virtually unchanged since it's inception in 1916. The BMW logo is so synonomous with wealth and class that it has become almost the de facto status symbol for those who have "made it". In a nutshell, the BMW defines wealth and for that, it lands at our number 5 spot.
4. Disney - There are many brands that are associated with key words or feelings, no logo on the planet embodies the feel of magic as much as the Disney logo. Inspired by the curves of Walt Disney's signature, the Disney logo is one of the most distinctive logos in history. Instantly recognizable, the unique design perfectly conveys the sense of childhood magic that Disney is so well-known for and for that, Disney gets our number 4 spot.
3. Apple - The Apple logo is one of those icons that totally and completely embodies the brand. Representing innovation, simplicity and a zen-like dedication to improving quality of life and communications, the Apple logo is virtually the definition of "icon" and it deserves high praise as our #3 most iconic logo.
2. Nike - Designed by a college student for and 500 company shares in 1971, the Nike logo has gone on to be one of the most universally-recognized logos in the entire world. With a diverse array of athletic products and a massive marketing budget, Nike obviously has the resources to put their brand front and center, but that brand recognition is certainly helped when the logo is as simple and distinctive as Nike's. Along with a very strong marketing presence is a rich history of athlete endorsements and product use in huge venues. All of this has helped the Nike logo get to our number 2 spot.
1. Coca-Cola - Well we've finally landed at the #1 most iconic logo in the world, and we think that very few would disagree that Coca-Cola has earned the top spot. Remaining consistent and virtually unchanged since 1887, the Coca-Cola logo carries with it a legacy of quality, wholesome fun. The Coca-Cola logo can be seen in every country on the planet and it's classic, unchanging design is a testament not just to what great logo design can be, but to an iconic company as well.
When you start delving into the realm of what makes something iconic, you’re starting to work in an area that often has a wide variety of opinions. In fact, the definition of iconic isn’t even all that clear:
iconic: of, relating to, or of the nature of an icon
That definition really doesn’t clear things up at all. To help clarify the ranking of the 50 most iconic logos, we set forth some clear parameters of what a logo would need to have in order to be considered “iconic”
- Highly recognizable – The logo must be an image that is recognized en masse in the United States and internationally.
- Symbolic status – The logo must be a widely accepted symbol of an industry, product or movement. In other words, it must be important.
- Endurance – The logo must be part of an enduring legacy, not something that popped up overnight.
Along with those three main factors, we also realize that many logos reach iconic status due to emotional ties and this has been factored in as well.