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A Branding Retrospective: The Evolution of 5 Iconic Logos

To commemorate the Chicago Cubs’ first trip to the World Series since 1945, we thought we’d take this opportunity to look at the logos of brands that were around back then – and are still in existence today – to see how these logos have changed (or haven’t). Of course, the logos of both the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians will be included in this review.

The Chicago Cubs. In one form or another, the Chicago Cubs have been around since 1898. They were originally named the Chicago Orphans and have been the Cubs since 1903. In the decades since, the team’s logo has taken on a variety of forms. These ranged from an old English “C” to the words “Chicago Cubs” simply written out. The logo has even featured a letter “C” with a bear inside of it holding a baseball bat. However, since 1945, the logo has gone through minimal changes. By the ‘40s, the already established red “UBS” encircled by the giant red “C” was outlined in blue. In the ‘50s, the blue outline was altered to form a complete circle around the letters. The only difference between the current logo and its 1950s counterpart is that the red letters and the blue outline are now considerably thicker. This change was made in 1979.

McDonald’s. Since McDonald’s inception in 1940 as McDonald’s Famous Barbecue, its now iconic logo has gone through a number of changes to get to its current appearance. In 1948 (the last time the Cleveland Indians won the World Series), the name of the restaurant was changed to McDonald’s Famous Hamburgers and its new logo featured a chef named Speedee. In 1953, McDonald’s Famous Hamburgers became McDonald’s. Already a signature characteristic of the chain restaurant’s architecture, the Golden Arches were adapted into the logo in the early ‘60s and have seen few changes through the years as they have become the focal point of the brand’s logo.

The Ford Motor Company. Ford was founded in 1903 and has only made a few adjustments to its iconic logo since 1912. In fact, the cursive font and oval shape of the Ford logo that we are so familiar with today are pretty close to those with which the spectators of the 1945 Fall Classic were also acquainted.

Anheuser-Busch. Like the Cubs and Ford, Anheuser-Busch has been around for more than a hundred years. The company can track its celebrated heritage back to 1852 and has only made slight variations to its logo since 1872. The Anheuser-Busch logo features an eagle draped over a letter “A” and is known as the A & Eagle.

The Cleveland Indians. The Cleveland Indians’ storied legacy began in 1901 as the Cleveland Bluebirds. They became the Bronchos in 1902, the Naps in 1905 and were officially christened the Cleveland Indians in 1915. Since the ‘40s, the team’s logo has featured various renderings of the Native American character, Chief Wahoo. The look of the logo went virtually untouched between 1951- 2013. In 2014, the primary logo was changed to the more politically correct red “C” similar to the one donned by the team in 1904.

You’ve probably noticed that most of these logos have undergone few changes over the decades since the 1940s. This is because branding is very much about making an emotional connection with your audience in order to develop lasting relationships. Making minimal changes to a brand’s logo over a period of several decades serves to instill a sense of familiarity and trust with consumers.

Is your company looking for a logo that will continue to represent its brand for decades to come? Weise is up for the challenge!

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