Make a mental list of what you would consider the top 10 iconic logos and let’s compare. Here’s my list:

1) Coca-Cola

2) McDonalds

3) Nike

4) Apple

5) Adidas

6) Apple

7) Budweiser

8) Target

9) BMW

10) Mercedes Benz

How’d you do?

I was surprised by a few of their choices. I thought Ford was a little too high. It does look nice, but as far as brand significance and association I would certainly have put McDonalds above it. I’m also surprised that the Budweiser logo didn’t make it anywhere on the list. Especially when Toyota and Bayer made the list. I think Target deserved to be much higher list, too, based on its commercial success and (in my opinion) sleek and interesting logo.

I can see the list presenting at least two major take-aways:

1) Consistency and continuity help build stronger brands. Coca-Cola’s logo has largely been unchanged since 1893, Nike’s logo appears to have been the same since its inception, and Ford has largely maintained the same logo for at least 50 years, if not more. Whether it is colors, shapes, fonts, or the exact same logo – continuity in branding instills a strong identification in the minds of consumers. The strongest brands appear to largely maintain the same logo, or at least make a drastic change early in the life of the brand.

For example, I was completely unaware of the 1976 apple logo shown below:

2) Luxury brands have an inherent advantage. In some industries, the products are just plain better. For others, it is a matter of perception. Or perhaps it simply means that Louboutin has more resources to design, advertise, and protect their brands than Keds. Other than Chiquita bananas (great logo, but hadn’t even considered for my list), no staple or basic goods are present on the list. To some extent, soda/pop/soda-pop could be a staple good, but it still isn’t quite a necessity.

Do you have any additions to the list? Logos that you don’t believe belong? Any thoughts on what makes a good (or bad) logo?