Long before global marketing campaigns, television commercials, and social media, a company’s logo was essential to the success of the brand. Over time, as businesses and consumers have changed, most major companies have also changed their logos dramatically to incorporate modern symbols and aesthetics. Still, some logos have had incredible staying power and have lasted for decades, and in some cases even centuries.
The world’s oldest logos have all retained some core visual element, although several have been noticeably altered. Stella Artois, for example, is recognized by several details of its icon. The horn and the star resting above the label are the features continually represented in the brand’s history.
Not surprisingly, the original intent behind a company’s icon may be lost to most modern consumers of the brand’s products. In some cases, this is due to the logo predating the company’s current business model. Global energy conglomerate Royal Dutch Shell was originally a shipping company, transporting kerosene to India and returning with seashells to sell in Euro. The company selected a shell image as a result.
On the other hand, paint company Sherwin-Williams’s main product has been consistent since the company was founded in the late 19th century. In 1905 the company chose to symbolize its business with an image of a bucket of paint poured over a drawing of the Earth, a relatively explicit representation that holds up today.
Many companies use their longevity as a selling point to consumers in advertising and on corporate websites. Companies also emphasize that they remain connected to their founding principles, with key management often related to the brand’s inventor or the company’s founder.
While many of these companies operate internationally, all are recognizable to American consumers. Some are industry leaders — Sherwin-Williams, Levi’s, and Heinz, for example, dominate U.S. markets.
Based on a review of the world’s oldest companies, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 oldest corporate logos still in use today. In order to be considered, the logo had to currently have an international presence.