Today we’re going to take a peek at the best logos that money can buy—straight from the world’s top 10 highest-valued companies. Here we’ve analyzed the logos of companies that are currently the richest in the world. Interestingly, while some of these rank among the most recognizable and best logos in the world, some you’ve probably never seen before.
Now, common sense would tell you that the more money you spend, the better logo you’re going to get. And while there are certainly plenty of iconic logos from the big shots of the corporate world, you might be surprised that “the best money can buy” isn’t always all that impressive. Or all that hard to duplicate as an entrepreneur with a tight budget, some creativity and an awesome designer.
Without further ado, I present to you the logos of the top companies in the world (as calculated by market capitalization, which Google tells me means: value of shares multiplied by number of shares sold, then rounded to the nearest billion. Yes, that’s billion with a “b”).
1. JPMorgan Chase
One of the largest financial institutions in the world, JPMorgan and Chase is the world’s most valuable bank with over 2.35 trillion dollars in assets. It’s also the sixth largest public company in the WORLD. So, needless to say, this is a company with authority.
And they’ve done a great job of conveying that with their logos. The simple, bold print and minimal use of graphics definitely reads strong, authoritative and “if you’re late on a payment we’ll hit you with a late fee so fast it’ll make your head spin”. Which, as a bank, is pretty much what they’re going for.
2. Johnson & Johnson
You know the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” That might as well have been written for Johnson & Johnson, one of the world leaders in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer packaged goods.
The logo was based on the signature of James Wood Johnson, one of the original founders of the company. And while they’re definitely not winning any points for creativity or originality (who doesn’t change their logo for 100 years?!), the fact that they’ve kept their logo consistent has created HUGE brand recognition within their market.
Tencent is a newcomer to the high-value arena. Until recently, the wealthiest companies were almost always American, but this Chinese conglomerate has quickly risen through the ranks to contend with the best of them. It has done so by putting its hand in just about everything—claiming stakes in gaming, social media, e-commerce, smart phones, and much more.
With that many products and services, an adaptable logo is a must. The default Tencent logo features the brand name in both English and in Chinese characters, to reflect its international scope. Tencent also redefines its logo for gaming (working the T from its logo into a directional pad) and music (using only its brand color). It just goes to show how branding can be varied when you need it to be.
4. Alibaba Group
Alibaba, another Chinese conglomerate, is named after the character in 1001 Nights, whom you might know by his familiar catchphrase, “Open Sesame.” Similarly, Alibaba was conceived as a means of opening doors, a company aiming for universal appeal. It turns out this is working for them, given that it now holds the distinction of being the largest global retailer.
While it certainly is not the most original or beautiful, this company logo is trying to appeal to the masses. The negative space within its letter “a” is transformed into the profile of a smiling man. The oblique angle and dramatic, scribble-like swoosh of the letter also give it a feeling of being on the move. All in all, this logo has an infectious energy that wants to carry you along with it.
5. Berkshire Hathaway
You might not have heard of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., which is billionaire Warren Buffett’s conglomerate holding company, but that’s ok. Because you’ve DEFINITELY heard of their subsidiaries: GEICO, Fruit of the Loom, Dairy Queen, Brooks Running, Kraft Heinz… the list goes on.
And while Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s logo is incredibly simple, it actually works for them. As a conglomerate holding company, they don’t want the focus to be on them. They want it on their subsidiary companies. So their nondescript, simple logo design makes sense, while their subsidiaries are more “look at me, look at me” with their design-forward logos.
Their typeface also works in their favor; pairing the heavy weight with some more serious serifs makes them feel sturdy and steadfast, which is exactly what one would look for in a world-leading holding company.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2005, Facebook doesn’t need an introduction. While the company, which was launched out of Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room, was originally called “The Facebook”, it quickly dropped the “the” and went on to create the most successful social network of all time.
The Facebook logo works because it’s instantly recognizable. Even when the company redesigned the logo in 2015, they kept the key elements the same and just made minor stylistic changes to make sure they kept their brand intact.
If you haven’t heard of Alphabet, don’t worry. The company is fairly new to the game, having just launched in 2015. But all you need to know is that Alphabet was formed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin and is the parent company of Google, not to mention over 200 other companies in the technology space.
So, yeah… in the words of Ron Burgundy, they’re kind of a big deal. But their logo? Not so much.
For a company that’s leading the charge on the technology front, their logo doesn’t feel so powerful. And as a parent company, Alphabet failed where Berkshire Hathaway succeeded. While Berkshire Hathaway stayed away from trying to emulate or recreate any of their subsidiaries’ logos, Alphabet clearly tried to recreate the Google magic (without directly ripping off their own Google logo). And unfortunately for them, the results kind of fell flat.
Apple Inc., which gave us the MacBook, the iPad, the iPhone, the iPod and quite a few other pieces of technology that people literally camp outside of stores to get their hands on, is arguably the most recognizable brand in the world.
And so is their logo. While the original logo that the company launched with in the mid-70’s was a little… strange (it had Issac Newton sitting next to a tree. Seriously.), they switched to their iconic apple imagery in 1976.
And while the company has made minor changes in terms of color and finish, the logo has remained intact for the last 30 plus years. What works about the Apple, Inc. logo is that when you see it, you immediately think Apple products. There’s no confusion about what you’re getting or what they’re dishing out.
I think I speak for just about everyone on the planet when I say “THANK YOU AMAZON!”. With Amazon Prime, I can have virtually anything under the sun delivered to my house in 48 hours or less. For FREE (ish). Jackpot.
And Amazon has done an amazing job of reflecting that in their logo. See how that arrow that travels from the A to the Z? That’s a bit of subliminal trickery and suggests the range of their products while giving a nod to their emphasis on home delivery—the service that made them a household name. It also looks like a happy face, which symbolizes their focus on customer happiness and satisfaction.
While Microsoft has had some missteps in recent years (I’m looking at you, Zune and Windows 10), the redesign of its long-time logo in 2012 was NOT one of them.
While the logo the company used from 1987 to 2012 was fine (I especially liked the mark in the “O” that made it look kind of like Pac-Man), it left a lot to be desired on the design side.
The new logo, with its use of color, feels a lot less harsh. And the use of cubed window to represent each of Microsoft’s major product offerings (blue for Windows, red for Office, green for Xbox and yellow for… well, yellow actually doesn’t stand for anything, but since a window can’t have three panes, we’ll let it slide) was genius.
It’s also worth noting that out of all the companies on this list, Microsoft seems to be the one with the biggest logo identity crisis. Seriously. Every time they design a new logo, it looks like it’s for a completely new company.
Not so smart on the brand identity front, Microsoft.
What can the logos of top companies teach you?
So what can you, as an entrepreneur (who I’m sure is successful, but probably isn’t creeping up to make an appearance on this list anytime soon) learn from these company logos?
Think about what your logo says about your brand
You want your logo to reflect who you are as a brand. So, just like the JPMorgan Chase logo screams authority, you want your logo to scream whatever it is you stand for as a brand.
Don’t be afraid to make an impact
While you don’t want to design a logo that’s too over the top, don’t be afraid to make a statement. You don’t want to end up like Alphabet: a great and powerful company with a logo that falls flat.
Find what works for you—and stick with it
Many of the companies on this list—including Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and General Electric —have had the same logo concept with only minor variations since pretty much the beginning (and in the case of J&J, that’s more than 100 years). And even when they’ve made some more significant changes, they’ve been in line with the same theme.
While it never hurts to reinvent yourself, try to find what works for you from the get-go and then stick with it. People get attached to your logo and come to associate it with your brand, and if you can keep that logo consistent, you’ll increase your brand recognition as time goes on.
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This article was originally written by Alex Bigman and published in 2013. The current version has been updated with new information and examples.