The story behind the logos
Watch & Bullion6 March 2017 | 5 min read
Every brand has a story to tell and the logo is the visual representation for everything that the brand stands for, the definition of logo is derived from the greek: logos, (Greek: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”) plural logoi, in ancient Greek philosophy and early Christian theology, the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.
A logo is the embodiment of the brand bringing together a visual representation that is universally recognised beyond words. It is how a company expresses itself and leaves their mark in this visual world.
A brand can appear to be a living, breathing creature at times, and in many ways, the logo is what gives the name a face. We regularly react emotionally and sometimes physically to commercial logos, whether we recognise it or not.
In this article we explore 10 of our favourite logos with some back stories on how they were created.
Ralph Lauren’s Polo Player
Ralph Lauren released a line of women’s suit that were tailored in a classic men’s style in 1970 and was the first instance where the Polo emblem was seen.
To understand the emblem is to know why Ralph Lifshitz chose the name “Polo” in the first place. For him, he was interested in promoting a lifestyle and the sport of Polo which embodied a world of elegance and style.
The Bugatti Oval
Founder Ettore Bugatti’s father was a professional jewellery designer and artist who viewed his son’s automobiles like they were precious jewels. From an engineering standpoint, there were no gaskets used in the cars so the safety wires just appeared like lace patterns – hence the red dots in the logo to accompany Ettore’s initials.
The Gucci Double G’s
The instantly recognisable logo for Gucci represents the initials of the founder, Guccio Gucci, and was created by his son, Aldo, in 1933. While undoubtedly similar to that of Coco Chanel, there has never been any public litigation regarding their likenesses.
Burberry Prosum Knight
While the mention of “Burberry” invokes thoughts of their eponymous check pattern and their invention of gabardine, it was 1901 when the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo was developed. Containing the Latin word “Prorsum,” meaning forward, many speculate that the knight’s armor reflects the companies innovation in the realm of outerwear.
The Rolex Crown
The Rolex emblem is an extension of the company’s slogan of “A Crown for Every Achievement” which has been used since the brand’s inception in 1903.
For founders Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis the crown perfectly encapsulated Rolex’s core values of excellence and exclusivity, while its five points mirror the five letters of the company name that are frequently printed below it.
The Lamborghini Bull
The Lamborgini Bull reflects the zodiac sign (Taurus) of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini who purposefully copied the Ferrari shield to irk Enzo Ferrari.
The first two Lamborghini models were badged alphanumerically, the 350GT and its successor, the 400GT.
After that, all subsequent models would be named after notorious Spanish fighting bulls like the ferocious Miura bulls of Andalusia, the Murciélago which survived 28 sword strokes in a 1879 bullfight, and the understated Islero which was named after the bull which killed the legendary Manolete.
The Ferrari Horse
Enzo Ferrari told the story of the prancing horse logo just once. “The horse was painted on the fuselage of the fighter plane of Francesco Baracca — a heroic airman of the First World War. In ’23, I met count Enrico Baracca, the hero’s father, and then his mother, countess Paulina, who said to me one day, ‘Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck.’ The horse was, and still is, black, and I added the canary yellow background which is the colour of Modena.”
The Watch & Bullion wings
Founded in 2010 Watch & Bullion has established itself as a luxury watch retailer for a connected generation.
Its wings represent the two sides of the family business and a reminder that we are all born with one wing and need the support of others in order to fly, an ethos that is put into practice with various social commitments that the company feels strongly about.
Their slogan which underlines its wings reads “Rewarding Success” as each piece purchased acts a benchmark to each client’s moment.
Louis Vuitton’s Monogram
The Louis Vuitton monogram was designed in 1896 by Georges Vuitton son to the legendary Louis Vuitton.
Described as a “Japanese-inspired flower motif,” the monogram’s original purpose was to tackle the counterfeiting of the Parisian company’s designer luggage and is one of the earliest examples of fashion branding.
The pattern of alternating brown and beige squares was known as Damier which is French for checkerboard.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Cross
The Patek Philippe name composed of its founders Antoine Norbert de Patek and Adrien Philippe, the logo is the Calatrava Cross which was registered on the 27th April, 1887.
The connection between luxury chronographs and the warring 12th century herdsmen of the Military Order of Calatrava, is unclear and full of theories which include that of superstition with the insignia supposedly used to protect each watch and bring good fortune to the wearer.
Patek Philippe is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer founded in 1851 and is now the world’s most prestigious watch brand.