Logos and logo designs are crucial elements in branding a product or a business; and the best ones can speak volumes about the company they represent in a matter of seconds. Shell’s logo, for example, is steeped in the petroleum giant’s history.
The century-old company best exemplifies the value of not forgetting its humble beginnings. Before getting into the petroleum business, Shell actually sold antiques and embellishments—specifically, seashells. In an effort to expose the brand to the Far East, a growing market for Western merchants during the company’s early years, its founder Marcus Samuel named all of his tankers after a certain seashell. Among these was his first tanker, the “Murex,” named after a genus of sea snails with intricate shells.
The company used a mussel shell as its logo until 1904, when it was changed to a scallop shell, known as the “Pecten.” Even when Shell merged with the Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. three years later, the iconic Pecten logo remained. Over the years, it underwent design changes while staying true to its roots as a former dealer of seashells.
The red and yellow color scheme implemented in 1915 was the result of Shell’s deep connections with Spain and its former colonies. To make the brand stand out among the competition, they chose the red and yellow colors of the Iberian state. The first Shell service stations emerged in California, which had a significant Spanish influence.