Top 13 Most Drastic Big Brand Logo Design Changes

Most logo design changes by big brands are delicate. Some, however, are so drastic that the new design look like they have been created for completely different companies.


Logo recognition is clearly not everyone’s top priority. It’s a leap of faith to conduct a major logo design modernization, but many big brands are still willing to take the risk, evolving to the point that their new logos look original.


Some of the most drastically changed logo design in brand history are:

1. Apple:

Apple’s original logo design, co-designed by Steve Jobs, depicted Sir Isaac Newton seconds away from revelation. It was complex to the point of being hard to look at, hence a quick switch (in 1976) to the beloved rainbow apple and the evolution of today’s sleek logo design.


2. IBM:

When it came to logo design, the latter half of the 20th century marked a time of slimming down and simplification. IBM’s logo evolution reflects this trend — its current logo design dates back to 1972.

ibm redesign

3. PepsiCo:

Pepsi represents the path that many brands have taken — phasing out lettering entirely until all that remains in a logo is the symbol itself. Pepsi’s first logo is illustrative of the logo design emphasis of the late 1800s — the more intricate a logo design, the better it is.



4. Volkswagen:

Adolf Hitler is often credited for designing an early version of the iconic VW Beetle. The pre-WWII logo for the car manufacturer bears Hitler’s influence as well, a Nazi-style swastika clearly outlining the perimeter. VW dropped the swastika quickly for a cleaner logo design that eventually became today’s button-like logo.



5. Audi:

Granted, Audiwerke was only one of four companies that came to make up the Audi we know today. But given that it’s the namesake of the current company, its logo stands in stark contrast to the minimalist ring logo design of the 21st century.


6. FedEx:

When FedEx changed its name and expanded its operation to offer overnight shipping, it freshened up its logo design as well. Spot the arrow in the negative space of the “Ex”


7. Shell:

Shell’s logo hasn’t changed in substance over time, but there are miles between today’s logo design and the original.



8. Nokia:

Nokia’s first logo dates back to the company’s origins as a Finnish industrial powerhouse. Although it would be amusing if the technology company still incorporated a fish into their logo, we see why the evolution away from that theme took place.


9. Fiat:

The Fiat logo’s bold evolution has been marked by many changed logo designs. Seeing their oldest crest alongside their newest is indicative of not just how far the company has come, but how much logo design in general has evolved.



10. Mazda:

Mazda’s original logo, like Pepsi’s, is letter-oriented. The switch to the “M” logo occurred in 1997, Mazda having tried three different symbols before it.



11. Kodak:

Compared with its contemporaries, Kodak’s earliest logo was surprisingly ahead of its time in terms of logo design. The evolution to the Kodak name as its logo occurred in the 1930s, and the company hasn’t looked back since.



12. American Airlines:

American Airlines is shaking things up this year with a bold logo design of its 79-year-old “double-A” theme, which has come to represent flight in the U.S. Its overhaul is a monumental milestone in AA’s history.

american airlines

13. Saab:

Saab bounced between bordered and borderless logos for a good part of the 20th century. This year, it decided to ditch the borders (and an interim griffin) again for a minimalist, low-impact look. It’s a departure from the original pop-art logo design.



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