Icon as a symbolic representation of something is meant to visually communicate with the audience in a basic knowledge ground directly (Capsule 7). Viewing the mass amount of worldwide brands, their icon design is usually famous. The measurement of a successful icon is that it referring to the brand, at the same time, easy to memorize. Capsule expresses in his book LOGOS, “a great logo does not create a great brand or organization” (8). I personally agree with Capsule deeply. Yet, reconsidering the relationship between icon design and brand; I think a good brand can create a good icon easily and they are being connected from the development of each other. Exploring three popular brands McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz and Starbucks’s icon revolutions will be compared as cases.

(Image from web MountainMarketing by  Shane, Dec 2ed 2016)

Image result for benz icon history(Image from web 1000LOGOS by unknown author, unknow date)

Image result for starbucks iocn history(Image from web BUZZINSPIRED by editor , unknown date )

One similarity can be discovered easily after briefly look at revolution graphics, all those icons end up with being more and more graphical. I define “graphical” is less color verity, more abstraction and without types. I am not judging that being graphical is the only way to make a fantastic icon. However, it commonly should be considered as the base of a successful icon since icon should be a symbolic thing and be able to communicate with the audience.

The text messages (mainly brand name) are almost be taken off from the icon in those three brands. McDonalds’ icon became more graphical began in 1962 is completely off-text is about 60 years after the brand is found ( Vlugut 187). Mercedes-Benz’s icon started became abstract in 1909 and until today the brand name sometimes appears with the text (Vlugut 191-192 ). Starbucks icon hasn’t changed much and the off-text icon established in 2011 (Vlugut 267). This seems like there is no clear connection between brand development and icon development; those icons just be reformed during time by different designers. In fact, the time they consider become more graphical is when brands already managed businesses over the years which indicates they already become certain well-known.

Analysis of the revolutions here, they reveal the development of icon and brand are closely influences each other. The user volume increasing the group recognized the brand as well as the old version icons, then the clients’ force to produce a more memorizable icon. Therefore, the aspect of icon development and brand development are be tied together is approved in those three successful brands. It is such an interesting fact that the success of an icon is determined by user volume to some extent.


Vlugt, Ron van der. Logo Life Life Histories of 100 Famous Logos. BIS Publishers, 2012.

CAPSLUE.  Logos 01: an essential primer for todays competitive market. Rockport Publishers, 2007.