simplify logo, logo simplification, how to simplify a logo, logo evolution

10 Reasons to simplify your logo

“Less Is More” is particularly applicable when it comes to logo design choices. It took Apple approximately 22 years to develop the simple, iconic logo you know and like today. Now tech companies from Google to Netflix are racing to create flat, sleek logos that are still instantly recognizable. Here are some basic pointers to explore simplifying an existing logo or to keep logo concepts sharpened.

  1. In my opinion the most important is to find one key concept or brand personality aspect to communicate.
  2. Purge unnecessary graphic elements. Can it be said in less? If this detail or that stroke doesn’t add to the meaning or information, just take it out.
  3. To simplify your logo try to removing shadows, textures, gradients etc.
  4. Does the mark necessary for your brand to be memorable? If the brand typography, name and treatment are distinctive enough, adding a symbol may be unnecessary.
  5. Always verify your logo at a tiny scale. Does it hold up to recognizability and readability? If not, make it less complex either mark, typography or both.
  6. Is your logo as strong in black and white as in color? if it works, it can always work by adding color. But! t’s not at all guaranteed the other way around.
  7. Try to limit or reduce your number of fonts and choose stronger, more distinctive typography.
  8. Can your concept be abstracted, rather than literal?
  9. Try to reduce your numbers of colors.
  10. Create an outstanding logo design and cut the noise.


The Evolution of logos that last

Let’s dive in and take a look at a few companies who have really raised the bar with their logo design, why they have been so successful, and what we can learn from their iconic logo designs.



Apple’s first logo in 1976 looked nothing like the logo we know today. Right? The original featured Isaac Newton sitting beneath a tree with the apple hanging from it, poised to drop. While it was creative, Apple quickly simplified their logo to a literal apple.

Disappointed by the logo design, Steve Jobs demanded to replace it with something “not so pretty.” This is how Rob Janoff in 1977 designed a colorful logo in the form of an apple and the company name reduced to “Apple.” The new logo targeted a younger audience and conveyed the unique ability of the computer to reproduce colors. You may wonder why the apple on the logo has a bite. The answer is quite funny, it was done to avoid confusion with a cherry!


Levi’s has two logo versions, a minimalist white and red logotype and a logomark with two horses. To emphasize their high quality and durability, the horses logo can be seen on the patches of Levi’s jeans. The idea for the red logo was only born in 1940 as an attempt to get noticed among a growing number of competitors. In 1969, Levi’s presented the current emblem in the form of bat wings.


Shell is a perfect example. Drawing inspiration from nature, the oil giant Shell made a sea shell corporate symbol. The evolution of the Shell logo shows how the companys can move from an complicated image to a simplified shape that speaks for itself. In the beginning, the emblem featured a black and white design. 48 years later, in 1948, the image was painted red and yellow. That option stayed practically unchanged for decades. In 1999, the multinational corporation decided to remove the name from the emblem, relying on the shell alone for identification.


We don’t really want to comment the first version featured Kwannon, the goddess of mercy.  Furthermore, the goddess lent the name to Canon’s first camera. Following a tremendous success in 1935, the Japanese company scaled up the production and revamped the brand identity. As a result, in 1956 the public saw the renowned red logo that we all know and love.


The  history of the Google logo started 23 years ago, in 1997. The raw version of today’s Google emblem was created in GIMP by Sergey Brin, a co-founder of the IT giant. Realizing that copying the Yahoo is not the best option for such a powerful brand as Google, Ruth Kedar removed the exclamation mark in 2000. In 2015, Google presented th latest logo version that serves a fine example of graphic perfection.

Burger King

The Burger King is the second largest fast food chain in he world. They successfully managed to build an elaborate brand image. As for the Burger King’s logo history, it all started with a pretty intricate emblem that featured a king proudly sitting on a burger. Although still used in some ads, the funny character didn’t last long. Surprisingly in 1969, the king was overthrown by two halves of a bun. Nonetheless, in 1998, the logo was slightly altered, gaining a blue circle and magnetic 3D effect.


The Nike started out as an importing company Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1971, the brand decided to expand into sports shoes and cloth production thus establishing the Nike brand. It’s curious to know that the Nike founder Philip Knight originally found the now famous “swoosh” symbol trivial, saying that he wasn’t a big fan of the design.

The Nike logo was crafted by Carolyn Davidson who was only paid 35 dollars for her work! In 1978, the shoe manufacturer overhauled the logo by adding a bolder font and slightly shifting the swoosh. No one thought that the peculiar geometric shape would soon become one of the most recognizable graphic symbols in the world! With time, the swoosh grew popular enough to drive out the company name from the logo composition. Not bad for a 35-dollar design, right?


One of the world’s largest entertainment companies, Netflix was created in 1997 in California. The main focus was streaming media and video-on-demand online and DVD by mail. The very first logo Netflix’s had when they started off was a very generic black text logo with the title with the Netflix logo split into “Net” and “Flix” with a circle spiral in the shape of a film reel. They kept the first logo design from 1997 up until 2000 when they redesigned the logo into one of the most iconic designs that people will know and remember. Netflix’s Third Logo is being used for the company which was created in 2014. In June 2016, Netflix presented a new letter emblem consisting of a solitary “N”. It was not a replacement for the current wordmark but rather a small-sized alternative.


The iconic Coca-Cola logo was created by an ordinary accountant by the name of Frank Mason Robison. Did you know that? The most characteristic feature of the emblem is the elegant, flowing Spencerian font that was commonly used in documents and correspondence. In 1890, the brand decided to make the logo more sophisticated by embellishing it with intricate scrolls and swirls. Despite the efforts, the new design didn’t stick around for long, and today we can see the old emblem by Robinson on our Coca-Cola bottles. Sometimes, you just can’t beat the original design!


The Ford Motors was the third automotive company founded by the legendary Henry Ford. Unfortunately his first business went bust. The original emblem for Ford Motor was an overly decorated round icon that featured the company location and name. In 1927, with the launch of a new Ford Model А, the managemant decided to refresh the corporate identity. Now it’s represented by a blue ellipsis-shaped logo that has become synonymous with good style and taste.

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