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Corporate Brand evolutions are examples of how much we can take branding for granted. It’s hard to imagine these brands in the same global position if the companies had stuck with their original concepts. It’s also a reminder that companies have to reinvent themselves and keep things fresh in order to maintain prominence amongst a rapidly changing culture. Finally, it’s interesting to learn more about the road traveled that ended up at the current image you know today.

Here is a look at 3 brand logos where the original is a far cry from modern day.

Nokia

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In Finnish the word Nokia represents a dark, furry animal that we now call the Pine Marten weasel. This obviously means nothing to the current brand unless we all want to see one of the creepiest mascots of all time emerge!

The origin of the company name, can rather be attributed to the setting up of the wood pulp mill (set up by Knut Fredrik Idestam), on the banks of Nokianvirta river in the town of Nokia. The Nokia Corporation was formed as a merger of Finnish Rubber Works (which also used a Nokia brand), the Nokia Wood Mill, and the Finnish Cable Works in 1967. The company has sold a variety of products in the past including television, shoes, car tires and others. The evolution and the meaning of the logo are unclear due to the changing business over the years but currently remains an iconic simple typography.

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What are your favorite corporate brand evolutions?

Apple

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Steve Jobs hired Rob Janoff to simplify the logo, which originally featured Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with an apple highlighted. Janoff created the ‘Rainbow Apple’ which remained the logo for the company until 1998. There are many rumors as to why Rob had chosen to create such a logo. One rumor says that the Apple was a tribute to Newton (discovery of gravity from an Apple), and since the USP for Apple at that time was colored graphics, it had the rainbow colors.

Another explanation exists that the bitten apple pays homage to the mathematician Alan Turing, who committed suicide by eating an apple he had laced with cyanide. Turing is regarded as the father of computers. The rainbow colors of the logo are rumored to be a reference to the rainbow flag, as homage to Turing’s homosexuality. The funny thing is, it’s all much simpler than this from the words of the designer himself.

Janoff, however, said in an interview that though he was mindful of the “byte/bite” pun (Apple’s slogan back then: “Byte into an Apple”), he designed the logo as such to “prevent the apple from looking like a cherry tomato.”

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Mozilla Firefox

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It’s hard to imagine that the Firefox we know today had such an uninspiring logo and was originally named Phoenix (and Firebird).

An open source web browser, created by Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross, was first of all named as Phoenix, which is visible in their first logo in 2002. They had a lot of trademark issues and after renaming the company to Firebird, they then ran into more potential lawsuits. Finally they got lucky on the 3rd try with Firefox. In 2003, professional interface designer John Hicks designed the now famous logo.

The logo depicted a Firefox engulfing the whole world, which also signifies the global reach that the company strived for. There has been a minor change in the logo since then, with the colors of the continents using a lighter blue color, just to differentiate them better from the oceans.

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We want to hear from you! What is your favorite corporate brand evolution? Let us know.