The Stories Behind America’s Corporate Logos

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11. HSBC

This major British bank was established in 1991 as a holding company of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp., a bank with roots in China and Hong Kong dating back to 1865. HSBC’s hexagon logo, designed by Austrian graphic artist Henry Steiner, was introduced in 1983 as a stylized version of the bank’s corporate flag. The company’s 19th century house flag was itself inspired by the Cross of St. Andrew as recognition of bank’s original colonial British roots.

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12. Mastercard

Mastercard’s logo of interlocking circles that appears on store windows and card readers the world over originated in the 1960s, about 20 years after banking services emerged that would evolve into the modern global credit card payment systems. The two-circle logo first appeared in 1969, after Japanese financial services providers joined what was then called Master Charge. The circles symbolize this partnership between East and West.

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13. Mercedes Benz

The origin of the Mercedes Benz logo pre-dates the 1926 merger of Mercedes maker Daimler Motor Corporation and Benz & Cie. Both carmakers registered their circular logos in 1909. Benz’s logo included the laurel wreath, while Daimler’s included the three-point star, which encompassed Gottlieb’s trilateral vision of water, air, and land motorization. The logos merged to include the wreath, the star, and the words “Mercedes” and “Benz.” The logo was simplified over the decades to become the circle and three-point star it is today.

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14. MGM

It might look antiquated, but that’s the point. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the media company more commonly known as MGM, has kept its roaring Leo the lion logo virtually unchanged since 1957. And even before the mid-century re-design, the MGM logo featuring a roaring lion surrounded by a wreath of unspooled celluloid film has been pretty much the same since the company was founded in 1924. The one major difference is that the original MGM logo features a lion named Slats who doesn’t roar in the live footage. Several lions have been used in the MGM logo, but Leo remains the longest-serving MGM lion, the one you see today.

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15. Mitsubishi

This Japanese industrial conglomerate has been around since 1870. The name derives from the Japanese word “mitsu” (three) and “hishi” (water chestnut), which has long been used to denote a diamond shape that’s similar to the leaves of the plant. The founder of the company, Yataro Iwasaki, chose to merge his family crest of three stacked rhombuses with the three-leaf crest of the Tosa Clan that first employed him. The company later added the “Mitsubishi” text below the triangle to clarify the symbol for modern times.