In England in the 1800’s, Marcus Samuel, a curiosities dealer in London started selling shell-covered boxes to children and tourists. As his Shell Shop prospered he took on new merchandise of various kinds such as jewels, kerosene and oil. By 1830 his company went world-wide and consolidated as the Shell Transport and Trading Company in 1897. Due to his earlier specialty, the company adopted the simple drawing of a seashell as its trademark. This has since become one of the world's most recognised logo designs.
Logos have existed in some form for longer than you might imagine. From coins to crests these ubiquitous marks are a sign of provenance and value. However it was the industrial revolution and the introduction of mass produced products that gave birth to the logo that we know today.
But a lot has changed in 100 years, particularly our concept of brand and corporate identity. As the advertising industry grew, companies realised the advantage of identifying themselves as the creators of the products they produced.
Today logos don’t just belong to products and companies. Sport stars, particularly those on the tennis court, have made them a part of their personal identity. Roger Federer, Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic have all reflected their history, culture and personal style in their own design, much like a modern-day coat of arms.
Over the last century logos have evolved from complex designs to simple marks. Some, like Atom Bank, keep evolving. The digital finance company created 1.4 million versions of its logo as a way of showing customers they are the bank that will adapt and mould to you. Perhaps a changing, adaptable design is the future for brands to keep up with our rapidly moving, constantly innovating world.