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Six of the best: Great British logos
Britain was not only the first country in the world to industrialise; it was the first to truly commercialise: adverts, posters and billboards have provided a backdrop to life in this country for generations. Since the first newspaper ads began to appear in the 17th century, there’ve been hundreds of marvellous logos – timeless encapsulations of creative genius and unique brand identity.
It’s tough to pick out the best British logos of all time, but here are our top choices. Even if you have other favourites, we’re sure you’ll agree that each of these images is magnificent in its own way.
In the petroleum industry, everyone is striving to be seen as bright, progressive and environmentally friendly. BP’s logo hits all three criteria; the green and yellow flower lends colour and excitement to what might be perceived as an uninspiring business, and suggests that the company is in touch with its surroundings.
If ever a logo lived up to its company’s name, it’s this one. The Innocent Drinks logo suggests youthful, ingenuous fun. The image at once suggests an apple, a child’s face, and an angel’s halo – all perfectly suited to the Innocent brand. And, because it’s so basic, the logo works equally well on colour and black-and-white backgrounds – perfect for Innocent’s multi-faceted marketing strategy.
They say the old ones are always the best, and this maxim is borne out by the London Underground logo, which was first committed to paper back in 1913. The design – a blue banner piercing a red circle – is simple, clear and colourful, and its power is only magnified by its history; those iconic pictures of wartime Londoners huddled in underground stations nearly always have that red-and-blue beacon in the background.
If you decide to name your company Penguin, it’s fairly easy to think up an image to accompany it. But the original logo designers still had to conjure something evocative and distinctive – and they certainly succeeded. The Penguin on the orange background is arguably the most recognisable logo in the publishing industry, and Penguin has built an entire corporate identity on the back of it.
Again, this is simple but hugely effective. The capitalised banner with the ribbon alongside it suggests class, refinement and simple professionalism – everything an airline wants to project. The classic royal blue and red colouring suggests a very British commitment to quality, and strikes an instant chord with patriots across the country.
At first glance, the image looks fairly incongruous; why would a dog be listening to a phonograph? It just doesn’t make sense. In fact, it looks like someone’s just put two monopoly playing pieces side by side. But HMV’s logo, for all its randomness, is instantly memorable – no other corporate image is quite like it. And, because the logo dates back to a painting completed in 1899, it is replete with history.