10 Examples of Simple, Effective Logos

If you are looking for a new logo, remember that a logo doesn’t need to be fancy to be effective. The purpose of a logo is branding and recognition, which the 10 examples below achieve with simplicity.

Nike Logo

Sony Logo

Gap Logo

Virgin Logo

Dell Logo

Apple Logo

Google Logo

Yahoo Logo

T-Mobile Logo

Addidas Logo

Published November 4th, 2007 by

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62 Responses

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  • pelf, November 4, 2007

    Err.. And the Golden Arches?? :)

  • Vandelay Design, November 4, 2007

    They were on the longer list that got cut down.

  • Maya Norton, November 5, 2007

    I have to say, what a simple and effective most. Truly a manifestation of images speaking louder than words. Great job.

    I’ve saved you to Delicious and I suspect you will get quite a lot of other traffic from this post.

    Maya Norton

    The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy

  • Athlete Nutrition, November 5, 2007

    That’s a good reminder. I think that sometimes I get to caught up in trying to make something fancy and forget the real purpose.

  • Caroline Middlebrook, November 5, 2007

    Are those logos effective because of their simplicity, or simply because we know them so well? The Apple logo has evolved nicely over the years and is very ‘web 2.0′ but Google’s logo hmmm – would another company with a logo like Google’s fly now? I don’t think so! I think it’s a bit 90′s really :)

  • Mark, November 5, 2007

    Great Post.

  • Wayne Liew, November 5, 2007

    I like simple stuffs but over the years logos has been misinterpreted to become a must-complicated stuffs since not much creativity can be craved out with a simple design.

    A simple sign might sometimes give out different message in different countries. This is why most of the people who wanted a logo will prefer adding the company’s name or website title on it.

    One example will be like Vandelay Website Design but still your design is simple to me. Nice I should say…

  • Mike Pedersen Golf, November 5, 2007

    I agree with Caroline. We see those all the time. What if we hadn’t? We wouldn’t know what they relate to. I like seeing logos with a simple tagline that tells what the company does or a benefit.

  • David Airey, November 5, 2007

    Another nice post.

    Caroline, regarding Google’s logo, personally I’d ditch the shadow on the text, although I think that’s only used online? For me, Google needs a very simple logo, because the name is unique. Likewise, if you have a simple name, then the logo needs to be more memorable / unique.

    If there’s a weak logo in this list, I’d give the wooden spoon to T Mobile.

  • cyprus apartments, November 5, 2007

    It doesn’t need to be the great thing… look at GAP’s logo, It’s simple, but still nice.

  • Colurz, November 5, 2007

    @ David: I agree with everything you said… no more words – thanks ;)

  • Maura, November 5, 2007

    Good list.

    Wayne: I think the FedEx logo with the hidden arrow is an excellent example of creativity within a simple design.

  • Vandelay Design, November 5, 2007

    Caroline,
    You’re absolutely right, in most cases the popularity of the brand cannot be ignored. But I think what it shows is that simple logos can be marketed just as effectively and no one thinks of them as being low-budget or sub par logos.

    Wayne,
    Good points. I think a lot of design is overly complicated in attempt to look impressive or professional. Minimalistic designs in logos and websites can be very effective.

    David,
    I’m glad you commented here. It’s good to hear from someone who does a lot of logo design. That’s an interesting point about a unique name having a simple logo.

  • Adino, November 6, 2007

    I agree with Pelf… the McDonald’s logo would be more recognizable, compared to say the T-Mobile logo.

    *Digged*

  • Caroline Middlebrook, November 6, 2007

    Mind you, regarding Google one thing they do have going for them is all the custom logos they do for special occasions – they are *very* cool.

  • Cole Haan, November 6, 2007

    You forgot to mention your own logo. I like it. But out of all major brands, I will go for Apple’s logo. Its attractive and simple.

  • Kristoff, November 6, 2007

    I stumbled upon your page through a google alert. While I agree these logo’s are simple in execution, they are not effective because of it. Rather, their effectiveness is the result of years of careful branding and public exposure.

  • Deron Sizemore, November 6, 2007

    Nice list! I’ve tried to get people to understand what works and what doesn’t work in a logo. These are all great examples to try and follow. To many times people not only want some big image that sticks out like a sore thumb but they also want their tagline which consists of 25 words and the name of their company. I try to tell them “THIS IS NOT A LOGO!” hehe.

    With logos, you’ve got to keep it simple I think. You don’t have to have all kinds of images and fancy stuff.

  • Vandelay Design, November 6, 2007

    Kristoff,
    I’m not saying the logos are necessarily effective because of their simplicity. My point is that simple logos can work just as well, or better than, more complex logos.

    Deron,
    I don’t really do logo design, but I know what you are saying abouts client’s desires. Thanks for your feedback.

  • Netvestor, November 8, 2007

    I wouldn’t call adidas or tmobile simple. But I totally agree that simple is the way to go to present any content. How would you rate my blog logo?

  • Vandelay Design, November 8, 2007

    I guess simple is open to interpretation.

  • David Price, February 2, 2008

    Simplicity in design has always been the hallmark of great logos. Anything by Paul Rand endured decades (IBM among them). They have a classicism that holds visual appeal 30 years ago and 30 years into the future. Web 2.0 is trendy and essentially a filter exercise applied to the flat 2D logo. Try and put that glossy wet looking logo on a mug or tshirt. the price will send you crying back to your BETTER more impactful 2D flat mark. IMO Target is the best somewhat new logo. It pushed through the marketplace into the public consciousness because is “parrots” the name back perfectly… just like Apple’s logo. Nothing beats a simple word with a graphic example distilled to it’s barest essentials. Creativity and hard work in graphic design is practiced by very few people today. Almost everything today is trendy forgettable visual garbage.

  • izick, February 7, 2008

    I agree, these are good logos. I believe the top one is Target though. It’s just, well, a target.

    I’ve realized most brand makers of electronics do stick with the SONY style model… Samsung, Sanyo, Timex, Altec Lansing, Toshiba, HP, Nintendo, Microsoft, Nextel/Sprint, AT&T etc.

    I feel like, for restaurants and store, it’s just the opposite as they need to be fancy and stick out until you are more well known. Think of the insane naked siren Starbucks Coffee & Tea logo at the original store, compared to now where most just have STARBUCKS COFFEE written on the building.

  • Descartes, May 18, 2008

    I’m a fan of the Starbucks logo, I eve like the original one with the topless mermaid.

  • punne4e, July 7, 2008

    Short but good work buddy, i want to say that there is no confusion that simplycity is not working but it’s depends also on company’s own reputation,type of service etc etc….!!
    But i would say simplycity always work like black and white color.

  • eddie muirhead, August 19, 2008

    haha :-D

  • Gazikent, November 10, 2008

    I guess simple is open to interpretation.

  • custom logo design, December 25, 2008

    Simple is always better, but today we see designers going crazy with gradients and calling mastheads logos. Whats your take on that?

  • Logotipas, September 9, 2009

    I don’t think that Google’s logo is good. It gained popularity just by constan repetition. One problem is the shadow, and another – old style typeface with its edgy corners.

    Anyway, I like how Google uses the letter “o” for the page count.

  • LoRa, January 8, 2010

    the question is ‘what about marketing and advertising?’ i’m a designer but i’m already conscious that a logo is not the identity, these logos have a story so we should remind the past and maybe we can find the answers in order to learn how to design a good logo and how to become the good one in an icon?

  • m a r c o, January 15, 2010

    Like some people have mentioned before, I think these are simple logos, but not necessarily effective in their own right. I believe the marketing behind these companies and their success have made them recognizable enough, but as far as logos go I think some of them are below average, especially Google’s… I mean really, it looks like a computer programmer with no design background did it, and it doesn’t communicate anything whatsoever about the company, neither do most of the other ones. Dell’s logo reminds me of (and very well could be inspired by) Paul Rand’s Next logo (which I also don’t like)… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeXT

    I think there are much more effective (in their own right), simple logos been shown in LogoGala.com, or LogoPond.com than the ones shown here… But of course from little known companies that haven’t become household names. I think there is a difference between effective logos and effective products, marketing, etc. Google is simply the best search engine, period, that is why we know them… I believe an effective logo is one that engages, communicates and is unique enough to stand out.

    • Vandelay Website Design, January 15, 2010

      Marco,
      You have very valid points and I don’t disagree with you. This is an old post so I don’t exactly remember the situations that surrounded it and what inspired it, but it probably should have made some of the points that you make about the other factors that have made these brands effective and recognizable. I believe that what I was trying to show was that successful companies don’t need a crazy logo, it can be rather simple.

  • m a r c o, January 15, 2010

    Completely agree with you… By the way, I just noticed the date of the post… It has really good positioning in Google for “simple logo design samples” or whatever I searched for… In any case, I want to thank you and congratulate you for this amazing and inspiring website. I visit it often, and this is the first post that I wasn’t in complete agreement with you… I have this site bookmarked on all the computers I use… Keep up the good work…

  • Jeff, February 9, 2010

    nice list…I am a huge fan of the puma logo also. Simple and along the same lines as the logos above.

  • Logo Design Monster, February 24, 2010

    This is a nice list of logos but these are all major corporations. There are lots simplistic and effective logos that have been created for smaller organisations but still this is a nice list. Thank you for sharing these.

  • Stamatis, April 2, 2010

    I don`t think that these logos here worth any big award.
    If you have the money to promote (and the trusts that these logos represent ain`t small…) then even a dot will do your job.
    They are nice logos but i have seen a lot better.
    Honestly T-Mobile or Google (no matter how much we all appreciate this company) have something to say to you guys ?
    The logos i appreciate here are Nike, Adidas and Apple

    • Vandelay Website Design, April 2, 2010

      Stamatis,
      I agree with you that the logo is impacted greatly by the rest of the marketing and branding. The point was simply that a logo doesn’t have to be anything fancy or extravagant to be memorable and effective.

  • EGA, August 3, 2010

    Desagree!! We know most of the logo selction because of the billionaire investment through the years and not for the design itself- Google logo is awfull! SONY and GAP logos are just a typography.

  • rob b, September 16, 2010

    But if you made something like that for GraphicRiver they’d reject it, shows how much they know.

  • logo templates, October 5, 2010

    Love it. Personally I like the GAP logo so much.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Steve Lee, January 31, 2011

    Okay, Google’s logo is AWFUL. That’s the only reason it’s memorable. It’s so frustrating to hear/see it get any accolades. It’s like the guy that wears his grandpa’s blue tux to a party, and he’s considered retro. Not brilliant. WEAK, WEAK, WEAK.

    Conflicting colors.

    Poor font choice.

    Poor balance.

    NO design.

  • David Buchanan, June 8, 2011

    Have to say that T Mobile is on my top ten hated logos – it’s awful.