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Your First Logo

A friend of mine overheard a mother explaining to her daughter that the logo the little girl had spotted on my friend’s cycling shorts was a “very popular brand”. The little girl was about seven years old apparently.

Hearing this, I thought back to the first logo I could remember seeing. I also considered what the first brand that meant something to me was, as a child. The first logo I can remember clearly seeing was Adobe’s first logo. I had a sweatshirt with it on. For a brand, I always held the Pan Am logo in high regard, as the airline would often ferry me back and forth from the States to the UK as a child. Including sometimes unaccompanied, so I began to trust them and prefer them, not that I had much purchasing decision power back then.

If you can cast your mind back — care to remember or can get your hands on the first logos and brands that you can remember, do share them.

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PUBLISHED ON Apr.07.2003 BY damien
Corey’s comment is:

The first logo I can remember was the VW circle for Volkswagen. I would trace it with my fingers in the car while I waited for my mom to get in. I thought it was amazing that the two v's would also make a v and a w stacked on top of each other.

On Apr.07.2003 at 03:22 AM
graham’s comment is:

not one, but a jumble of memories-man from uncle, land of the giants (silhouettes and griddy globes), thunderbirds, captain scarlet; but probably most vivid is the century 21 'dart' that always opened any gerry anderson show.

it doesn't get any better than that.


On Apr.07.2003 at 06:02 AM
Mick’s comment is:

The first logo I remember was for LEGO. If someone bought my brothers or me cheap imitation plastic blocks for Christmas or birthdays that didn't have the red square on the box and the word LEGO stamped on the little lugs, we wouldn't touch it. We had one triangular block that had the logo printed on it that we used to fight over. It was particularly prized for the front of cars.

On Apr.07.2003 at 08:04 AM
Chris Ford’s comment is:

Hmm. Oddly, it was the Penguin books logo. I remember being confused because it used a picture of an animal and logos didn't normally do that.

I think it might explain my adult fascination with the colour orange as well...

On Apr.07.2003 at 01:21 PM
armin’s comment is:

Undoubtedly this one made a huge impression on me:

I grew up with it, I wanted all the games possible, I even cried when my cousin (accidentally) moved the switch from channel 3 to channel 4 and I thought he had broken my atari.

I even went as far as buying an Atari 2600 on Ebay last year. But I didn't use it enough and my wife made me sell it back on Ebay. She was right. And I made a profit.

On Apr.07.2003 at 03:23 PM
Jeff’s comment is:

The PBS guy has not changed.

On Apr.07.2003 at 03:35 PM
Max’s comment is:

The BMW logo, without a doubt, has enthralled me for years. As a kid, I loved its colors and how simple it was, not knowing what it actually represented (an airplane prop moving through the blue sky, BMW's original business). I get all soft inside for 1940s-romantic-adventure whenever I see it now, as well as a feeling of quality mechanical classicism, if that makes any sense.

On Apr.07.2003 at 03:43 PM
Nick Finck’s comment is:

I really can't say, but it had to be one of these: Lego, Atari, Commodore, Texas Instruments, Nike (though I probably didn't even realize it was a logo on my shoe at the time), Coke, Subaru or Chrysler.

On Apr.07.2003 at 03:44 PM
Lilian ’s comment is:

Logo that made an impression on me was Amway. Because of my Uncle who was a member of this direct sale company, my mom bought almost everything for the house from frying pans to detergent to cosmetics to bags.

On Apr.07.2003 at 03:51 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

My father used to travel a lot so I remember seeing the American Airlines, former TWA and swissair logos on his tickets and suitcase tags.

Growing up my family always had European cars so the VW, Volvo, Mercedes and Audi logos stick out.

The Atari logo was big for me as well as ColecoVision.

In my teens, this logo for Specialized bikes (above) was a big influence, I guess it was the first graphic or mark that I realized was a logo and what that meant.

On Apr.07.2003 at 04:24 PM
kevin jones’s comment is:

thank you Run DMC -

On Apr.07.2003 at 04:40 PM
pnk’s comment is:

Like many kids before and since...

On Apr.07.2003 at 04:59 PM
Sam’s comment is:

As a kid I was obsessed with the original STP logo for a long time, maybe because it was almost my initials. But I see they done gone and 3D-ized it all to hell:

And then there was my, uh, brief lizard king phase:

On Apr.07.2003 at 05:11 PM
Corey’s comment is:

My father was a firefighter, and he had this bumper sticker on his car - http://www.csfa.net/storefront/default.asp#Decal it REALLY bothered me as a child because I thought that it was a quail screaming in pain. I didn't realize that it was a fire helmet until my late teens. It bothered me quite a bit and I never wanted to talk about it - it's funny how something so simple would bother a child. I absolutely wouldn't bring it up, and if I had, my father would have explained that it was a helmet. I wonder what it is that makes you as a child completely comfortable to talk about certain things with your parents, but other things you would never bring up - and why the silly little bumper sticker was something that I was uncomfortable talking about?

On Apr.07.2003 at 06:10 PM
griff’s comment is:

one of the earliest i remember was the playboy bunny. ah, the intrigue of a forbidden fruit. what kind of designer would use the favorite animal of children for adult purposes? an evil genius! later i heard the logo was always hidden some where in the cover art. I honestly was more fascinated with finding the bunny than the nudity within.

On Apr.07.2003 at 06:41 PM
TOM’s comment is:


Hanna Barbera

Warner Bros. Looney Tunes

Holiday Inn - (Great Signs!!)

Krispy Kreme

See Rock City

Hot Wheels

the Atlanta Braves lowercase "a" logo

and surprise - Coca-Cola

On Apr.07.2003 at 06:43 PM
pk’s comment is:

erector set and PBS!

mom says she still has my first erector set...although it turned into a sort of hybrid with my lincoln logs and lego. apparently i was a bit of an industrialist in my youth.

On Apr.07.2003 at 07:00 PM
anthony’s comment is:

Nick said it as well, my sister had an old Subaru wagon that I thought was awesome, and I remeber thinking that the logo was really cool to, but I didn't and still don't know what it means?

Plus of course Atari, Nintendo and Konami, who recently changed this logo I think.

On Apr.07.2003 at 07:10 PM
anthony’s comment is:

and the old Mariners pitch-fork logo

On Apr.07.2003 at 07:14 PM
Corey’s comment is:

I remember drawing this one over and over again in my junior high spiral notebooks. Although it didn't have the perspective oval then.

On Apr.07.2003 at 07:29 PM
damien’s comment is:

I remember when MTV started and its logo created a huge impression on those around me. But I had moved to the UK in the early eighties and I can remeber drawing the British Rail logo - which was wonderfully simple and interesting. But it seems to have died in privatisation.

I was also surprised to see ford cars in the UK - I thought they were US cars...

On Apr.07.2003 at 07:39 PM
pnk’s comment is:

Me too, Corey! I drew that VH a gazillion times, and I never even really liked Van Halen. True confessions of a nascent designer...

On Apr.07.2003 at 09:05 PM
KM’s comment is:

This was on my notebooks and a jean jacket in junior high! Where did that jacket go?

On Apr.07.2003 at 10:28 PM
armin’s comment is:

After seeing Kris' Danzig logo I remembered how much I loved Metallica's logo. So balanced. Yet so angry.

This was way back when I sported a mean mullet.

On Apr.07.2003 at 10:53 PM
KM’s comment is:

Ah yes... The Metallica logo. All metal bands' logos from that era were an excellent work of symmetry. However, I never rocked the mullet. :)

On Apr.08.2003 at 12:01 AM
Corey’s comment is:

If we're talking about band logo's, I'd have to say I was well impressed by PiL's circular logo. The other one that REALLY sticks out in my mind is when Devo played live on some TV show, they wore t-shirts that spelled out D E V O and I remember that being insanely cool at the time.

On Apr.08.2003 at 01:45 AM
felix’s comment is:



Dairy Queen.

Hot Wheels.

What can I say.

I'm a Texan.

On Apr.08.2003 at 03:48 AM
joy olivia’s comment is:

Apple's apple -- circa 1982.

I just didn't understand why there was piece of fruit on our new computer. Being only 5, I just couldn't understand the whole logo thing.

On Apr.08.2003 at 01:49 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Apparently when I was a child I wanted to "pick up the dead man from the street and fix him." Because of this

I drew the hospital icon often.

On Apr.08.2003 at 03:16 PM
campbell’s comment is:

Probably this logo, which appeared on records when I was young.

Another question you could ask is "What is the first advertising character (Reddy Kilowatt, Tony the Tiger) you remember?"

One note on another submitter's reminiscence: The PBS logo used to be a single head facing the other way with a large slab serif PBS (as I recall). The rumor was that they didn't want it facing "left" anymore, for political sensitivity.

On Apr.14.2003 at 01:17 PM
Ben Finch-7 ELEVEN’s comment is:

And it's still the same!

On Apr.15.2003 at 11:33 AM
armin’s comment is:

Here is the 7-Eleven logo

On Apr.15.2003 at 11:44 AM
Michael B.’s comment is:

Sorry for the late entry, but I was just thinking about "my first logo" today. It was for a midwestern forklift truck company named CLARK. I must have been around eight years old, in the mid sixties. My father pointed at it and said, "Isn't that clever? The bottom of the L picks up the leg of the A, just like a forklift truck." I can trace my enthusiasm for graphic design back to this moment. (PS Does anyone else remember this one, or better still, have a picture of it??)

On Jul.27.2003 at 11:25 PM
eric’s comment is:

Michael Bierut,

This is your life:

Insert Image:

On Jul.28.2003 at 08:48 AM
Michael B.’s comment is:

Eric, thanks. The logo's just as I remembered it, although I see that someone has persuaded them to abandon "forklift trucks" in favor of the more visionary "Material Handling." Hmm!

On Jul.28.2003 at 09:50 AM
tim’s comment is:

My first logo I took great interest in was the Public Enemy logo. At the time I didn't really think too much of it, just that it was, and still is, an excellent logo. I made a ton of screen prints of the logo in school and made t-shirts out of it.

And how can you not like this guy?

On Jul.28.2003 at 11:00 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Goody barrettes, Malibu Barbie, and the one of the very best rock band logos of all time: Yes

On Jul.28.2003 at 11:23 AM
David E.’s comment is:

When i was 11 or 12, NBC introduced their new logo, which was made up of 2 triangles that formed the letter "N". This was the mid-'70s and it was reported in the news that they had paid (I think) $1 million for the design.

I can remember my grandfather talking about it. He couldn't believe they had paid this much for someone to draw 2 triangles. I remember trying to tell him how it formed an "N", and how they probably had put a lot of thought into it and tried it many different ways before they came up with that logo. I didn't even know what graphic design was, but somehow it just seemed like common sense to me. Even after I said this, he kept saying "Its just 2 triangles! And they paid a million dollars for it!"

This wasn't one of the first logos that made an impression on me, but it was the first time I realized that I was more visually aware than other people.

On Jul.28.2003 at 11:43 AM
Michael B.’s comment is:

The mid-seventies NBC "N" (by Lippincott and Margulies, if memory serves) replaced the elaborate peacock that the network had used as a symbol since the advent of color, and its introduction was actually a big (ugly) moment in graphic design.

Not only were people like your grandfather skeptical, but it later emerged that a public television station in Nebraska had exactly the same logo. Of course, they had done it through an employee contest with a cash prize of $750 and dinner at the Sizzler or sone such thing. While it seems unlikely to me that the logo "cost" a million dollars (that was probably the full implementation cost), it was still a truly embarassing New Coke situation.

Management at NBC, which was having ratings troubles at the time on top of everything else, then did the worst possible thing: they combined the new N with a stylized line drawing of a peacock. You can imagine how that looked. Finally, sanity prevailed when new management came in and installed the current peacock by Steff Geissbuhler of Chermayeff and Geismar. (Makes you wonder how hard Landor worked to clear the rights to the green square they did for H&R Block!)

On Jul.28.2003 at 01:01 PM
eric’s comment is:

all of your nbc history in vivid technicolor.

On Jul.28.2003 at 01:14 PM
priya’s comment is:

for me it was anything on PBS... Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, Square One and 321-Contact. (see opening sequences here.)

i remember being afraid of that pink (i think it was pink, anyway) pyramid animated logo thing for 'A Current Affair'. i think it was that 'zoooooiiddddd' sound it made. i hated it and everytime i'd start to see it come on i'd either run out of the room or switch the channel.

On Jul.29.2003 at 12:48 AM
Late Poster’s comment is:

I am told that when I was a young child (about 3) a portion of my alphabet went like this:

"...g, h, i, j, K-Mart, l...", so apparently their logo had some impact on me.

Just thought I'd post since no one mentioned them, downhill as they have gone.

On Apr.20.2004 at 12:27 PM
mazzei’s comment is:


(navy blue)

On Apr.20.2004 at 03:48 PM
killeropi’s comment is:

I used to draw this on my textbook covers among many other skate logos.

On Apr.22.2004 at 10:54 AM
km’s comment is:



Probably in that order

On Apr.23.2004 at 03:41 AM
surts’s comment is:

I remember North American Van Lines as one of those logos that always captured my attention way back when.

On Apr.23.2004 at 07:56 AM
emily’s comment is:


Definitely Mad.

My parents had (have) every issue starting with number one. I would spend hours in the attic pouring over them. When it went from comic to magazine the logo became the one they still use, but it used to have all these crazy people running around in it and I would stare at them (some of them were naked!) till I had it memorized. It was like there was a crazy, funny world inside that logo. (and that turned out to be true.)

On Apr.23.2004 at 07:48 PM
aaron’s comment is:

the bright and colorful rainbow of the apple logo

On Feb.08.2005 at 09:46 AM
szkat’s comment is:

Thundercats. i was so attached to it.

still am, really. i love it.

and at the end of every show, the old Viacom. it's all flat and blue now, but then it was a light source that moved from left to right, revealing the logo as it went. sometimes after crappily produced cartoons you can still catch it, and it just warms my heart :)

On Feb.08.2005 at 12:04 PM
Albert B Jr’s comment is:



Probably in that order

i believe we are in "agreeance" here. Decepticons. as a child and to this day, the name and the logo is mega-awesome. also add the Cobra logo from G.I. Joe to that description. they are like a badge of honor, a member of an elite group. so as a kid, i wanted to be with them, the bad guys because they have the cooler logos.

oh, where have the politically incorrect cartoons gone.

On Feb.08.2005 at 04:53 PM
jack norrgard’s comment is:

Still one of my all time favorites.

On Feb.09.2005 at 05:22 AM
Tom B’s comment is:

I recently had the pleasure of designing some DVD packaging for Transformers cartoons.

Great fun to do. I could really express my inner geek.

On Feb.09.2005 at 10:35 AM
CCHS’s comment is:

The first logo I probably learned to recognize was probably the christian cross, though I'm sure I didn't intellectualize it as a logo, per se.

Like others, Lego and PBS are among the first major brands I recall being exposed to. I'd probably have to throw the Star Wars logotype and the Superman emblem in there too, as well as my school crest.

The first logo I ever drew (that I can remember) was probably the superman logo. I was fascinated by trying to figure out how all those ad shapes combined to make an "S"

When I was in the 6th or 7th grade our school had a new logo design contest (I didn't place).

That said, the first logo I remember looking at and discretely identifying as a "logo" was the NASA-esque emblem on my Lego spacemen:

On Feb.09.2005 at 12:32 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

An old friend:

On Apr.14.2005 at 12:01 PM