‘Logo Beginnings’ by Jens Müller (Taschen)

Logo Beginnings is a coffee table book for design/branding nerds (I mean that in the best way) by German author and graphic designer Jens Müller. Intended to be an extensive complement to his previous work, Logo Modernism, Beginnings covers the origins of trademarks and logos that are still being used by global brands today, even more than a century after their first designing.

This 432-page book covers the ever-evolving looks of renowned and still-influential brands like Rolex, BMW, Louis Vuitton, the New York Times, and more, along with a collection of over six thousand logos from 1870 to 1940.


From the book’s description:

In the second half of the 19th century, the trademark replaced traditional symbols such as the family coat of arms as a promotional and identifying symbol for companies. At first, the designs were often still figurative; only gradually did they develop into the abstract marks that have become fixtures in everyday life today.

Author Jens Müller, described as the “logo detective” by WIRED magazine, examined historical trademark registers, international corporate archives, and early design publications to unearth more than 6,000 logos from 1870 to 1940. This unparalleled collection traces the development of modern trademarks and sheds light on forgotten designs and early versions of famous logos. […]

Also included are ten case studies of famous trademarks, including those of 3M, NBC, Shell, and Olivetti, and numerous rare images illustrating the―at times varied, at times consistent―developments in international logo design and the birth of the corporate identity. Logo Beginnings is not only a fundamental and inspiring graphic design manual but also an excellent read for anyone interested in social, cultural, and corporate history and the fascinating impact of trademarks.

This book is absolutely loaded with images showing how famous logos evolved into what we know today, along with writings on both the history of the trademark and design principles that continue to be relevant now, as well as a reproduction of a comprehensive 1921 illustrated essay on corporate logos.


The multilingual (English/French/German) edition of Logo Beginnings can be purchased for $62 on Amazon.