For more than 100 years the Shell pecten
emblem and distinctive red and yellow colours have visualised the Shell brand
and promoted the company's products and services all over the world.
The Shell logo has changed considerably
since it's inception in 1900, yet you can still apreciate it's iconic form,
whether viewing the original logo or in its current form.
I always remember Michael Wolff recounting
his work on a redesign of the Shell logo, whilst running his agency, Wolff
Olins. Wolff chose to simply warm up the colours. As he says, sometimes its
what you don't change, that can be as important as what you do. That couldn't
be more true than with the the iconic symbol of the red and yellow shell icon.
I stumbled across this brief history of the
brand on the company
website and thought it was well worth a read.
The word Shell first appeared in 1891, as
the trademark for kerosene shipped to the Far East by Marcus Samuel and
Company. This small London business dealt originally in antiques, curios and
oriental seashells. These became so popular – the Victorians used them to
decorate trinket boxes in particular – that soon they formed the basis of the
company’s profitable import and export trade with the Far East.
The word was elevated to corporate status
in 1897, when Samuel formed the Shell Transport and Trading Company. The first
logo in 1901 was a mussel shell, but by 1904 a scallop shell or pecten emblem
had been introduced to give a visual representation of the corporate and brand
When the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and
Shell Transport and Trading merged in 1907, the latter’s brand name and symbol
(Shell and the pecten) became the short-form name and emblem of the new Royal
Dutch Shell Group. And so it has remained ever since.
The form of the Shell emblem has changed gradually
over the years in line with trends in graphic design. The current emblem was
introduced in 1971. Thirty years on it stands the test of time as one of the
world’s most recognised symbols.
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