10 Fascinating Facts Behind World-Famous Logos
6 The Ferrari prancing horse logo originally decorated the plane of Count Francesco Baracca, Italy’s top fighter ace of WWI. After Francesco was shot down, his mother said to Enzo Ferrari, “Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck.”
Racing fans have the Ferrari’s prancing horse logo etched into their minds. We all know that the famous logo has a black, prancing horse on top of a bright yellow background with the letters “S” and “F” inscribed on it that stands for Scuderia Ferrari. What some of us might not know is that the prancing horse was the symbol of the legendary Italian Air Force ace Count Francesco Baracca. He lost his life during World War I after accomplishing 34 victorious duels and many team victories. He had the prancing horse symbol painted on his fighter plane.
When Enzo Ferrari met with Francesco’s parents, his mother suggested that Enzo should use the prancing horse symbol on his cars and that it would bring good luck. It was only 12 years later that Enzo Ferrari would use the symbol on Scuderia cars at the race of SPA 24 Hours in 1932. Ferrari won the race. Since then, the prancing horse has been kept black as it was on Francesco’s plane. Ferrari only added the yellow background to symbolize the color of his birthplace, Modena.
Ferrari is not the only company to have used the prancing horse symbol as part of their logo. Fabio Taglioni used it on his Ducati motorbikes. But as Ferrari’s fame grew, Ducati dropped the prancing horse logo. Now it is entirely a trademark of Ferrari. (source)
7 The Apple logo has a bite taken out of it simply so that it would not be mistaken for a cherry.
There are many stories behind the Apple logo. One tale that was believed by many for a long time was that the Apple logo was designed to pay tribute to Alan Turing, the legendary man who laid the foundations for the modern computer and brought into life the concept of artificial intelligence. He was humiliated for his homosexuality and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he bit into an apple that was laced with cyanide. So, when the Apple logo was unveiled, people believed it represented the apple that Turing took a bite from to end his life.
But in 2009, during an interview with CreativeBits, Rob Janoff, the creator of the Apple logo, debunked all myths related to the logo. He mentioned that the reason for the bite on the apple was purely for scale purposes so that a small Apple logo would still look like an apple and not a cherry. (source)
8 The Baskin-Robbins logo has a “31” cleverly inscribed on the name that represents a flavor for every day of the month.
Baskin-Robbins is one of the most popular ice cream brands worldwide. The brand originated when two ice cream parlors, Burt’s Ice Cream Shop by Burt Baskin and Snowbird Ice Cream by Irv Robbins, were merged. Before the merger, Snowbird Ice Cream offered 21 flavors which was quite a unique offering at that time. When the merger happened in 1953, the idea of 21 flavors was extended to include 31 flavors, with the concept that people could enjoy a new flavor every day of the month. This idea was introduced by the Carson-Roberts advertising agency who was hired by the brand owners for promotional purposes.
The original logos distinctively and separately portrayed the number 31 on the logo. But it was when they changed their logo in 2007 to the current logo that we are familiar with, that a unique touch was added. The number 31 was not separately shown in the logo but was secretly inscribed between the initials of the brand name. That is really smart! (source)
9 As opposed to popular belief, McDonald’s golden “M” logo does not come from the name McDonald’s. It, in fact, comes from the golden architectural arches that were part of the first McDonald’s restaurant.
When brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald decided to upgrade to a new building to operate their hamburger restaurant, they hired Stanley Clark Meston to design the building. Richard made a sketch that comprised of two half-circle arches that he thought would be eye-catching for passersby. The architect then converted them into a pair of striking 25-foot-tall, neon-lit, golden, sheet metal parabolas.
When viewed from a certain angle, the two golden arches converge to form a stylized version of the letter “M.” When Ray Kroc acquired the business in 1961, the distinctive designs of the golden arches were incorporated into the corporate logo. Fred Turner was the president then, and he sketched out a rough attempt at the logo with a stylized “V.” Jim Schindler, the head of engineering, extended the “V” into an “M,” and it appeared like a McDonald’s store viewed from an angle. This gave birth to the icon that we know today. (source)
10 The Nike Swoosh logo, that represents the flight of the Greek goddess of victory, was designed for $35 by a design student. Later, the founder sent her a golden Swoosh diamond ring with an undisclosed amount of Nike stock as thanks.
The Nike Swoosh logo has been described as “the living, vibrant symbol of the firm” by Harvard Business School professor, Stephen A. Greyser. The logo was designed by Carolyn Davidson when she was studying graphic design at Portland State University. Phil Knight, one of the Nike founders, was teaching an accounting class at the university at that time.
Phil heard that Carolyn was looking to make some extra money to get through oil painting classes. He offered her pay in return for some freelance work for his company. He agreed to pay her $2 per hour for her services.
Carolyn worked on multiple designs for the logo but ultimately the mark that we know as the Swoosh today was selected. Carolyn was paid $35 as she worked for 17.5 hours on the logo even though she now claims she spent more time than that!
In September 1983, Phil Knight gave Carolyn a golden Swoosh ring that had an embedded diamond. He even gave her some undisclosed Nike stock shares to express his gratitude. (source)
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