Friday, 29 April 2011

How Tech Company Logos Evolved

How Tech Company Logos Evolved: Part II

Logos that changed to suit the changing trends

A company's corporate logo is something that becomes a symbol of the company and the company starts getting identified by that logo. It is this power of identity that makes us instantly recognize a brand by just glimpsing at its logo. Corporate logos of almost every technology company have changed over the course of years and that is what we are going to have a look at today in part 2 of this series.


The Korean company we know today as LG had its humble beginnings as a merger of two different companies owned by Koo In-Hwoi - Lucky (Lak-Hui), which was a chemical cosmetic company, and Goldstar, which was a radio manufacturing plant. Known as Lucky Goldstar since then, the company was renamed as LG Electronics in 1995.

The LG logo in use today is of symbolic importance to the company. According to LG, the letters "L" and "G" in a circle symbolize the world, future, youth, humanity and technology. The red color represents friendliness along with a strong impression of the company's commitment to the best.

The circle symbolizes the globe, the stylized image of a smiling face conveys friendliness and approachability, while the one eye conveys goal-oriented, focused and confident. The LG Grey represents technology and reliability. The logo is asymmetrical and it has been deliberately created thus to represent the creativity and adaptability to changes of this company.

While it is a well-known fact that LG stands for Lucky Goldstar, the company now denies it and rather states that it stands for "Life is Good" or simply LG.


When Microsoft was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the first product of this company was the computer language BASIC. Being a software company and since the software runs on hardware based on a microprocessor, they named this company taking the first few letters of the word microprocessor and software to create Micro-Soft (with a hyphen separating the two words). The company logo was also designed to reflect the name of the company at that time.

They decided to drop the hyphen in the same year and rename the company Microsoft, and in the process also changed the logo accordingly. The new green Microsoft logo with an artistic O (nicknamed "Blibbet" by company employees) was used till 1987 as the company logo.

Microsoft decided to introduce a new corporate logo in 1987 and did away with the "Blibbet" (causing Dave Norris to run an internal joke campaign called "Save the Blibbet"). Nevertheless, the company had made up its mind to get a new logo designed by Scott Baker using Hevletica italic typeface. The slant was an indicator of motion and speed. This came to be known as the "Pacman logo" because the O in this logo looked like the video game character Pacman, with a distinctive cut, to subtly differentiate between the Micro and Soft part.

Microsoft added the tagline "Where do you want to go today?" to this logo below the original logo in 1994. Microsoft retained the logo design, but opted to change the tagline in 2006 to "Your potential. Our passion" with the tagline also written in italics typeface. In 2011, Microsoft yet again changed its tagline to "Be What's Next." and this tagline is in normal typeface.

Mozilla Firefox

When Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross first created the open source browser in 2001, they named it Phoenix and this is visible in its first logo. But there were some trademark issues which forced them to change the name of their browser to Firebird, which allowed them to retain the original logo since the meaning is the same.

When it was later found out that even the name Firebird was already trademarked, they had to quickly find an alternative name. They decided to name it Firefox in 2003 and that name was the final name of this browser. Accordingly, they got the logo changed by professional interface designer John Hicks to a Firefox engulfing the blue globe representing the world. Was it a play on the Microsoft Internet Explorer logo getting engulfed by this new promising browser? We do not know.

Nevertheless, this has remained the logo of the Firefox browser since then and has changed very little, save for some colors of the continents using a lighter blue color to be able to differentiate the oceans from the land mass.


In Finnish, the word "Nokia" means a dark and furry animal called the Pine Marten weasel. The name of the company Nokia came from the company set up on the banks of the river Nokiavirta in the town of Nokia in 1868 by Knut Fredrik Idestam as a second groundwood pulp mill in his new business established in 1865. Nokia has therefore been in the communication business right from the start as this company manufactured paper, which was a major means of communication back then.

It is not exactly known if it is really true, but it is generally believed that since the company was situated on the banks of the Nokiavirta river, the first Nokia Company logo was that of a diving salmon fish, possibly from that river.

Finnish Rubber Works was founded in 1898, which would eventually become part of Nokia and along with Nokia Ab and the Finish Cable works, would form Nokia Corporation in 1967.

The current slogan of Nokia - "Connecting People", which is part of its present logo, was invented by Ove Strandberg.


At its inception in 1906, the company Xerox Corporation was known as The Haloid Photographic Company, which manufactured photographic paper and equipment. In 1938, Chester Carlson invented a technique called xerography, now known as the photocopy technique. Despite his persistent efforts, he could not find a financer for his invention. Being turned down by the big giants such as IBM, GE and RCA, Carlson turned to The Haloid Photographic Company, which decided to back his invention. The company made the first photocopying machine named Haloid Xerox 14.

The company's name was later changed to Haloid Xerox in 1958. You will notice in the company logos, that the original word Haloid, which used to be prominent in earlier logos, was gradually replaced in prominence by the word Xerox in the 1948 logo and in the 1949 logo. Haloid Xerox made a brief appearance in the logo in 1958, but was dropped three years later when it was completely replaced by Xerox in 1961. This was due to the unprecedented success enjoyed by the photocopying machines named thus.

Xerox retained this logo from 1961 to 2004. In 2004, Xerox decided that it does not want to be associated just with photocopy machines as had been happening over the years; they wanted to diversify. They changed the logo just a little bit by removing the words "The Document Company", while retaining the rest of the logo.

Since they had already decided to get away from the complete association with photocopying machines, in 2008 they changed the font of the logo and added a ball with a stylish X.


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