Iconic Logos: Creative Inspiration for Graphic Artists

Graphic artists need to seek inspiration from many avenues, especially if their well of creativity is running low and they need a top-up.

Sometimes the best way to do this is to look at the most influential and memorable examples of design from the past.

Even if the aesthetics are not ideal for your current custom logo design project, you can still gain a lot simply by absorbing the iconic logos that have defined the biggest brands throughout history.

With that in mind, here are just a few examples of logos that have endured and inspired in equal measure over the decades.


Sporting brand Nike has stuck with the same logo since 1971, and the seminal ‘swoosh’ that is still used to this day was actually cooked up by a design student and sold to company founder Phil Knight for $35.

While the original typography has fallen by the wayside, the swoosh itself remains and it is a testament to the idea that logos can be incredibly simple without also being simplistic.
Furthermore, the fact that its creator was still in school shows that you do not need tons of experience under your belt to make something game-changing.


Another company that has stuck with a logo created in the early 1970s in spite of changing times and trends is IBM, and it was designer Paul Rand who broke the mould with another deceptively simple reimagining of the three-letter company name.

It’s worth pointing out that Rand himself spent around 10 years perfecting the logo we know and love today, singling him out as a true perfectionist. All of the legwork and revisions that went into the finished product were clearly worth it, and demonstrate that persistence is important for all designers.


The logo for MTV has been subtly refined over the years, to the point that you might not realize that changes have been made unless you put the latest version side by side with the original from all the way back in 1981.

Adaptability has also been the name of the game, with different designers working on the standard format of the logo and adding their own touches, through colors, patterns and themes that fit in with a given event or era.

This logo has proven to be a stalwart of flexibility in this respect, as well as staying relevant long after its inception.


Coca-Cola has managed to straddle the line between retro cool and contemporary hip-ness with its logo for a longer time than most other businesses.

In fact, if you look back at the first trademarked version from the late 19th century, you might be amazed at how similar this is to the modern iteration.

This is an example of how good logo design can hold firm as years pass, even if it is still obviously tied to some past epoch when advertising was a very different beast indeed.

So whenever you are next in need of a hit of inspiration, look to the masters of the craft and you should find the motivation you need.