Logos of the Past

A look back on some of the most well-known logos.
April 16, 2008
Brand names are everywhere. You pretty much can't go anywhere outside (or inside, for that matter) without seeing some company's logo, whether it be a logo for a clothing company, a car establishment, a restaurant, cleaning supplies, or food products. They are everywhere. Most of the time, they tend to go unnoticed. We get so used to seeing them, we don't really think twice as we're walking by.

Over the years, they change. Most of them do not stay the same. Companies like to represent themselves as being up-to-date and fresh, and one of the ways of doing that is redesigning their logos. This article will cover a few of these logo changes. Some of them were only slightly modified, others were completely redone.


Changes to fast food and junk food logos are easy to track, since there are so many of them and so much money is spent on advertising. They are extremely recognizable. Looking at the logos pictured above, it is interesting to note that they share some similarities in the design modifications. The newer ones tend to slant. They are also more asymmetrical.

These old neon Arby's signs are still scattered in many places all over the country, but most Arby's restaurants have replaced them with newer plastic lighted signs.

Doritos. These were my favorite growing up. I tended to prefer salty things over sweets. The bag design has changed numerous times in the past 20 years. In 1990 it was the bag labeled "older". In the mid '90s it was the "old" bag, by 2000 it was the "new" bag, and currently it is the "newer" bag.

Sprite only just recently got a new design. The name, which was once much larger than the little lemon/lime picture above it is now a lot smaller, and the picture has grown and been redesigned. It now slightly resembles a green and yellow yin yang.

Dr Pepper is similar to Sprite in that the name on the side of the can shrunk. The typeface also changed.


For Safeway's redesign, they decided to stay with the S. They inverted the colors, and gave the S a slight slant. They also got rid of the Food & Drug.

This is a case where they seem to have completely done away with the old and did a total revamp. While they kept the orange from the O's of the old logo, everything else is different. Now incorporated into the design is a circular image. The orange part is most likely supposed to be a P, but it is very abstract.


For this one, the name was taken out of the rectangle, shortened up, and the font was changed. There is now an arrow hidden in there, between the E and the X.

The old one was in two parts, and was supposed to resemble a package and a badge. In the current logo, the package is gone and it is just the badge.

The logo for the United States Postal Service has stayed an eagle, but instead of the entire eagle, it is now just the head. Both of them are very distinct. In some cases it may be hard to tell that it is in fact an eagle.


The Nick at Nite logos seem to change when the lineup changes. When the lineup of shows change, the audience changes. Right now, the current Nick at Nite lineup consists mainly of shows that were on in the 90s, and the 90s were a very slimefilled time. The current orange logo looks like it is trying to remind viewers of that.

The animal planet one is one of major redesign. They got rid of the elephant and the world, and changed the typeface. They also put the M on its side.

From a personal standpoint, I think I would have kept the old one. The elephant worked well, as did as the picture of the earth. It incorporated both an animal, and the planet.

The Comedy Central logo became more simplified, and the words Comedy Central became larger and more pronounced. The use of red also makes it stand out more.


In this redo, AOL went for simplicity. They dropped the use of their entire name, and instead went with their abbreviation. They kept the triangle, flipped it over, and made it look three dimensional.

When my mom bought her first computer in 1992, the Apple logo was a rainbow of colors. Eventually, Apple moved towards the clear and glassy look. They got rid of the color, and added a shiny three dimensional appearance.

Also, several years ago, Apple Computers dropped the "Computers" part of their name, due to the fact that their markets consisted of more than just computers.

These are just a few of the many changes to logos and company images that have taken place over the years. Who knows what will change next?
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