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GALLERY: 20 company logos from before they were famous

Some of the brands we think are slick now? Well, they used to be… a lot less slick.

A COMPANY LOGO is often considered the most critical element of a corporate brand., an identity design community that offers high-quality logos, has compiled a list of before-and-after logos for 20 of the biggest brands.

Check out how these famous brands have altered their logos — for better or for worse — since they originally opened their doors.

The history of the logos was collected from Logopedia.

1. AT&T: first and last

Bell Telephone Company designed the original logo in 1900. In 1964 the “AT&T” of Bell Telephone Company became the dominate element of the corporate identity. Eventually dropping the Bell all together in 1970, the latest AT&T logo was released in 2005.

2. British Airways: first and last

The British Airways logo was designed by Negus & Negus in 1973, when British European Airways merged with BOAC. (Note the missing dot above the i.) BA unveiled the current logo in 1997 to promote a new image that is worldwide and less stuffy.

3. Canon: first and last

The canon logo was originally designed in 1933. The simpler version of the company’s identity was introduced in 1956.

4. Discovery Channel: first and last

The first logo was designed in 1985, with multiple and various updates, leading to the latest version which was released in 2009.

5. Eskimo: first and last

‘Eskimo’ is the US branding for the Unilever range of ice creams which we know in Ireland as ‘HB’, and in the UK as ‘Walls’. The original logo was released in the early 1960′s with only four updates since. The most recent version was designed in 2003.

6. Mozilla Firefox: first and last

The original, phoenix logo was designed in 2002. It was later changed to the firefox around 2004. Retaining the “fire” elements, the current logo was designed in 2009.

7. General Electric: first and last

The simple script logo was first designed in 1892, with the circle around the initials added in 1900. Very few changes were made along the way. The blue tint was added in 2004.

8. IBM: first and last

Since inception, IBM has gone through significant identity shifts. Not only updating the logo but also changing the name multiple times. This original logo was designed in 1889 and represents International Time Recording Company (ITRC). International Business Machines as we know it today was introduced in 1924, leading to the current logo — designed in 1972.

9. Kodak: first and last

In the beginning, Kodak was a single print advertisement with “The Kodak Company” strung across the top in a simple serif font. The company created this first logo in 1907. Kodak adopted its most recent logo in 2006.

10. Lay’s: first and last

Lay’s first logo was designed in 1965. The brand then went three-dimensional with its current logo in 2007.

11. Lego: first and last

The first LEGO logo was designed in 1935 and, 26 iterations later, the brand seems to have settled on the simple block style logo that has been used since 1998.

12. Mazda: first and last

Mazda’s simple logo first debuted in 1934. The company then played with using a more abstract design of the “M” from 1936 – 1975, and again in 1991. Today’s version was first released in 1997.

13. McDonald’s: first and last

McDonald’s used to be a barbecue? Well, only from 1940 – 1948. It quickly discovered its true passion was for hamburgers. From 1948 forward the company tried various versions of the iconic arches, coming up with today’s “I’m lovin’ it” in 2003.

14. Microsoft: first and last

Microsoft’s first (incredibly ugly) logo was introduced in 1975. This latest version has been in place since 2011.

15. Nintendo: first and last

Back in 1889, the Japanese playing card company used this original logo which is three separate words: nin, ten, do. In 1967, the company began developing small electronic toys and took on the identity of Nintendo. The most recent logo was introduced in 2006.

16. Nissan: first and last

Nissan’s first logo was created in 1983 when Datsun adopted a new name. There have been few changes leading up to this most recent version, designed in 2002.

17. RCA Records: first and last

The original logo — featuring Nipper the dog — was first introduced in the early 1900′s, and later redesigned in 1919 to the simple three letter stamp. Though there have not been many changes since, the current logo was introduced in 1988. Nipper, by the way, is now owned by GE.

18. Shell: first and last

The first shell was drawn in 1900. The company later fashioned the colorful, upright shell to create a more recognizable brand. The revision stuck, and with few alterations, the logo as it is today was released in 1999.

19. Xerox: first and last

The first Xerox logo was designed in 1948. Later, the company dropped the Haloid Company label during a redesign by corporate identity experts Lippincott, which resulted in the 2008 version still used today.

20. Apple: first and last

The logo was first designed in 1976 by Ronald Wayne. The border around the image reads: “Newton … A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone.” The sleek logo everyone recognizes today was introduced in 2003.

All logos from

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