7 Top Logos With Meaning Explained

Arek Dvornechcuck
Branding Expert

I'm a branding expert and graphic designer based in NY. I specialize in the development of brands: brand strategy, identity & web design. Need help with your project?—Get in touch

7 Top Logos With Meaning Explained

  1. Gucci
  2. Apple
  3. Amazon
  4. FedEx
  5. Starbucks
  6. IBM
  7. Yankee

We see these brands everywhere, but do you actually know what they stand for?

  1. Gucci
  2. Apple
  3. Amazon
  4. FedEx
  5. Starbucks
  6. IBM
  7. Yankee

In this article I will explain the meaning behind the 7 most famous logo designs.

On my Pinterest you'll find the infographics.

1. Gucci Logo Meaning

Gucci logo history
Gucci logo explained.

Gucci logo is perhaps the most recognizable in terms of luxury brands.

Gucci is a designer fashion label, that produces fashion items, mostly including high end leather goods and clothing.

But have you ever wondered why Gucci logo features double G in it?

In fact, there is no double-G, but rather double C, in the name.

The founder of Gucci

Let's dig deeper into the history of this famous luxury brand.

We can find out that GG actually represents the full name of its founder - Guccio Gucci.

Gucci (or technically named The House of Gucci) was founded in Florence,

Italy in 1921 by an Italian businessman and fashion designer.

Guccio Gucci, gucci logo explained

Guccio Gucci story

While working in Paris and London in the hotel industry, he was impressed by the guest bringing elegant and luxurious luggage bag.

After seeing the luxury luggage, he started a high-end leather shop when he returned to Florence.

Three of his sons joined, Aldo, Vasco and Rudolfo and expanded the company with additional shops in Milan and Rome.

Now, with €6 billion of revenue as of 2017 it's the biggest-selling Italian brand in the world.

Gucci is perhaps the most recognizable and desired luxury brand nowadays.

Who designed Gucci logo

Aldo Gucci, one of Guccio's three sons, joined The House of Gucci in 1933 and he was the one who designed the actual logo.

The Gucci logo is artistically designed, and has been timeless and classic since the design took shape.

Now It is the most memorable and recognizable fashion logo ever created.

The logo symbolizes grandeur and authenticity and is seen worldwide.


The shape of the logo could easily apply onto any application.

The curve, contrast and spaces between the letter spacing really bring out the information of the brand.

The famous double G logo of Gucci employs the two interlocking, bold “Gs” of the father’s – Guccio Gucci’s – initials in a very artistic and smart way.

The Gucci logo has become synonymous of luxury and sophistication.

Gucci brand success

No doubt that in 2016, Gucci is the hottest fashion label on the planet.

Some of the biggest names in the rap game like 2 Chainz, Kanye West, & naturally Gucci Mane himself are obsessed with the brand.

Do these notoriously exclusive, elitist brands want rappers in their clothes? Perhaps not.

But a rapper, as with any consumer, will like what he likes and buy what he wants.

And what he likes, he will rap about.If anything rap songs increase the value of brands.

In fact, they make items more covetable.

Check my other article where I describe best fashion logos.

2. Apple Logo Meaning

Apple logo history
Apple logo explained

Apple logo is one of the big mysteries to many designers and non-designers as well.

This is one of the most famous logos in the world, yet you probably don't know why it's an apple.

And why Apple logo is half bitten.

First of all let's start by reminding ourself about the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Biblical story of Adam & Eve

Most of us know the biblical story, but as a reminder:Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan to taste the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge.

Eve gives into satan's temptation and takes a bite out of it.

They both had a taste of knowledge and they eyes were open.

They realized they were naked and they were ashamed.

Besides being a symbol of lust and knowledge, there are at least two other theories.

An apple also is:

  • a reference to the falling fruit that led Sir Isaac Newton to the concept of gravity
  • a tribute to Alan Turing, the man who laid the foundations for the modern computer, committed suicide by biting an apple laced with cyanide.

So these two additional stories might seem probable as well.

The real Apple logo story

However, Rob Janoff - the logo designer, ultimately dismissed them.

The only direction he got from Steve Jobs was to not make it cute.

Where does the apple logo come from? - well, there was no specific brief.

Rob Janoff, the logo designer, didn't intend any explicit meaning when designing the Apple logo back in 1977.

He admitted consequently:

The bite was introduced, so it can't be confused with a cherry.
Apple logo explained
Why apple logo has a bite out of it?

The reason for the bite is crystal clear: it's there for scale.

It is also an iconic treatment, that ensures the logo burns into your mind..

The logo it's beautiful in its simplicity and hasn't been changed for over 30 years.

Rob Janoff also said that he designed the first apple logo concept by using pencil and paper, glue and cut paper, pens and all that stuff.

Check the full interview with Rob Janoff, the designer of the Apple logo.

3. Amazon Logo Meaning

Amazon logo history
Amazon logo explained

Amazon.com started off as an online book store, and now is the biggest online retailer in the US.

But the Amazon logo is well known worldwide, that smiley face.

That yellow arrow is more than just a decorative swoosh.

Was the smile intentional? - Of course it was.

It emanates with positive vibrations and therefore expresses Amazon's main mission - to make customers happy.

The Amazon name

The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos.

He named the business after the Amazon river (the biggest river in the World) in order to suggest scale.

Jeff Bezos came up with the name by simply browsing through the dictionary.

He settled on "Amazon" because it was a place that was "exotic and different" — just as he planned for his store to be.

Amazon.com launched in 1995 with the tagline "Earth's biggest book store".

The smile in Amazon logo

The current logo was designed in 2000 by Turner Duckworth and it features a smiling face.

Original Amazon logo, however, was redesigned several times before.

See below the previous Amazon logo (from 1998) and it's evolution to the current one.

amazon logo
Amazon logo smile

As you can see, in this rebrand, the smile was introduced as a completely new idea.

The old logo was simply an underlined word-mark without having any special meaning behind it.

But in the new one,  the smile was introduced for a reason.

The smile is at the same time an arrow that points from A to Z.

Arrow represents the fact that Amazon has a large variety of items to sell.

And because Amazon’s goal is to sell every imaginable product, it totally make sense.

The meaning behind Amazon logo:

We're happy to deliver absolutely anything, anywhere. From A to Z.

The logo is very simple, yet it conveys the company's mission in a very distinctive way.

This is a brilliant concept, not only visually but also strategically.

4. FedEx Logo Meaning

Fedex logo history
Fedex logo explained

You can see FedEx logo everywhere.

And you notice that the logo is very simple and straightforward.

Yet there's a chance you haven't noticed the hidden arrow.

Fedex logo arrow

Maybe at first glance all you can notice is the two colors that stand out: orange and purple.

FedEx actually uses more than just one logo in orange and purple - check the FedEx monolithic brand architecture with other color combinations.

Sometimes a company's logo is more than it first appears and this one is definitely a good example.

The current Fedex logo was designed in 1994 by Landor Associates and it features and an arrow in the negative space between "E" and "x".

Have you noticed this hidden symbol?- if not, you won't look the FedEx logo the same way again.

Fedex logo story

The first original logo however, didn't feature anything like that.

Therefore it is a whole new idea.

fedex logo history
Fedex logo before and after

Other companies use arrows in their logos as well, so arrows are omnipresent.

However, this treatment is a unique one and Fedex logo definitely stands out from competitors.

The right-facing arrow serves to symbolize FedEx’s speed and accuracy.

The arrow promotes company's fast and precise delivery service.

And it represents company's forward-thinking ways and outlook towards the future.

I must say, it does so in uncanny and subtle way, that is rarely seen.

How FedEx got its name

FedEx was once a tiny delivery company.

It was launched in 1971 with its full name "Federal Express".

The main reason behind the original name, was to associate the company with the U.S. Government.

This helped Federal Express to catapult itself to the top of the delivery world.

People started to call the company FedEx in a shortcut, so the company took it as a new name.

Now, FedEx is the most recognizable logistic company in the world.

The famous FedEx Logo is a quality example of sheer ubiquity and inspiring symbology.Fedex logo won many awards for that reason.

The logo imprints it's hidden arrow on millions of unsuspecting minds.

Check my other article for more negative space logos.

5. Starbucks Logo Meaning

Starbucks logo history
Starbucks logo explained

Seattle's coffeehouse chain is omnipresent.

We can see the Starbucks coffee shops everywhere in big cities like New York.

But what's the meaning of the Starbucks siren?

Is the Starbucks logo a mermaid?

What does an image of a bare-breasted female with a crown on her head has to do with coffee?If you ever wondered what's the story behind Starbucks' logo, bear with me, you're in the right place.

Siren in Starbucks logo

The siren look attractive to man and this obvious.

She looks happy, and only her long locks cover her bare chest.

Starbucks logo was designed to reflect the seductive imagery of the sea.

So the image draws in male customers by with her mystery look and sex appeal.

But fact that she wears a crown on her head makes her look glorified.

So the image attracts female customers as well by promoting "women power".

Considering this, she could be perceived as she is the "head" or above the man.

Starbucks logo history

The company was born in 1971 in Seattle, Washington.

The founders searched for an image to capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle's strong seaport roots.

And there was a lot of browsing through old marine books.

The founders finally came across 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid/siren.

starbucks logo origins
Starbucks logo Siren origins

Have you ever pondered why Starbucks's siren seems to be holding twi fishes?I have news for you: Those aren’t fishes, the lady simply holds her fin-legs so they spread-apart.

When the founders saw that image, there was something about her that made them feel it was exactly what they were looking for.

From original inspiration, the logo evolved over the last 40 years but siren has always been there.

She is at heart of Starbucks identity and represents the finest coffee for people all over the World

.Read the full story of Starbucks siren here.

6. IBM Logo Meaning

IBM logo history
IBM logo explained

Many tech companies these days redesign their logos.

IBM logo is ~ 50 years old and in this context it's an ancient scripture among them.

But this iconic 8-bar logo is an example of awakening to the power of design in 1950.

IBM well known logotype can be seen all around the World, but do you know that the abbreviation really stands for?And why the logo consist of 8 bars?

IBM logo story

Current IBM logo was designed in 1972 by an iconic American graphic designer Paul Rand.

He understood that a distinguishing mark was essential to a company’s success.

Distinctive company logotype is the principal mean of distinguishing one product from that of another he observed.

IBM logo is eminent all over the world because of it's simplicity.

The name is rather generic though: International Business Machines.

The word-mark is set in a capital bold typeface and it demonstrate authority in a fashionable way.

Blue color was selected, as you may conslude, because it projects strength and dominance of the company.

Blue is rather widely used for corporate logos because it is a very "professional" color.

Why 8 horizontal bars?

As there are reasons behind the color selection and the font used, there is also a reason behind the shape and the bars.

It's not just a "differentiator" as you may conclude.

ibm logo
IBM logo stripes redesign

Paul Rand was experimenting with variations of the logo for over a decade.

He once said:

I felt there was a problem with the sequence, going from narrow to wide without any pause, without any rhythmic possibility.

Finally in 1972 Rand introduced stripes to establish a better sense of unity in the monogram and suggest a sense of movement.

If you look at the logo closely you can also notice that two lower right parallel lines form a sign of “Equality”. Eight horizontal stripes suggest speed and dynamism.

The stripes in IBM logo also enhance the beauty and give a distinctive quality to the logo.

And the rest was history as they say. The IBM logo has remained unchanged since then.

Find more about the logo and it's history on official IBM website.

7. Yankee Logo Meaning

Yankee logo history
NY Yankee logo explained

The stylized N and Y interlocking initials are well known not only in the US.

The Yankee logo is famous around the globe.

As a matter of fact, I remember when my grandmother sent me the first Yankee hat.

And way back then, on another continent, still all my friends would know what does the logo stand for.

It was cool to have a hat with the famous NY initials, but did you know that the New York Yankee logo actually predates Yankees?

Designed by Tiffany & Co.

The famous interlocking NY logo was created before Yankees even existed.

It first was originally designed by Tiffany and Co. as part of a Medal of Valor for John McDowell, an NYPD officer who was shot in the line of duty in 1877.

The NY cap is a crown

The Yankee cap has become one of the most notable pieces of head-ware in pop culture.

You can spot celebrities, artist, rappers and sport figures wearing a Yankee hat everywhere.

Of course the Yankee cap is famous because the Yankees are famous, but the logo plays it part.

Yankees are one of the founding American League franchises and among the oldest in baseball.

Therefore many people want to be associated with a proven winner - the NY monogram.

Ironically however, Jay-z in his song "Empire State of Mind" features the line "I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can".

Find out here if he really does.

Yankee logo story

The primary logo was created in 1947 by sports artist Henry Alonzo Keller.

And it consists of "Yankees" against a baseball.

The name is written in a script font and with a bat forming the vertical line of the "k" letter.

We can spot also an Uncle Sam hat hanging from the barrel.

Then the current version of the Yankees logo first appeared in the 1970s.

And since then, the logo mainly stayed the same.

Yankees logo history

Most people probably believe there is only one version of the insignia.

Strangely enough, most Yankee fans, in fact probably believe it too.

But the guidelines document would clearly show there have been numerous amendments to it’s shapeMany changes probably only noticeable through the eyes of a designer though.

Yankee logo versions

Have you ever noticed that the logo actually has 3 different official versions?They differ slightly depending on were they are meant to be used.

The first one and the most popular version is used on the caps.

The second one is used extensively in marketing and is printed on the stadium.

This one is more fancy.

Uniquely, the N is larger and more curved, and the letters have large serifs at the end.

And finally, the third one, is apparently different.

This one is used on the jerseys.

The Y here is larger, the letters more blocky, and the curves more exaggerated.

Yankee logo - cap
Yankees logo cap

Yankee logo - print, stadium
ankees logo print

Yankee logo - jersey
Yankees logo jersey

Did you learn something new today?

Share this article on social media if you like it.

Also check out my tutorials on how to design a logo, then how to present logo concepts and finally how to deliver a logo package to your client.

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