The Colorless Era: Finding the Perfect Shape for Shell’s Visual Identity
The original logo Shell used was designed in 1900. It is a rough sketch of a mussel shell with black stripes over a white body. The monochrome drawing represented the animal from a unique angle, different from all the iterations that followed.
The second logo was presented in 1904. With some significant changes, this was the first emblem to introduce the vertical angle and the scallop shape we see today. This drawing had more details: white stripes and black background, giving it a more aggressive look.
The third rendition has fewer adjustments than the previous one. The designers omitted the black background and refined the outlines with a darker shade.
The last design from its colorless era was crafted in 1930 and, so far, Shell’s best logo redesign. This emblem emphasized symmetry, giving it a more professional tone. It also introduced the shape of a crown, helping the company project itself as the best in the business.
The Designers Introduce Bright Colors to the Iconic Shell Logo Design
After 48 colorless years, the fifth rendition of the Shell logo was the pioneer of the iconic red and yellow color scheme in 1948. This emblem was also the first to feature a wordmark over the shell with thick lines.
By 1955, the designers were back with a new look. They removed the excessive red, minimized the contours and changed the font color to red (from white) with more delicate, shorter lines. These advancements gave the iteration a more flavorful look (Browse more colorful logo designs HERE).
The 1961 seventh edition was more subtle. Building on its predecessor’s looks, the designers introduced a red rectangular background to this logo. This simple change highlighted the contrast between the dual-color design.
The eighth Shell logo was introduced in 1971, marking the turning point for the oil company. The redesign switched to a red outline rather than a red rectangle. It was made by French designer Raymond Loewy, a prolific industrial designer behind the Lucky Strike cigarette package design, BP logo and more.
This design version highlighted the crown shape of the logo and moved the brand name below the emblem. With flatter layouts, the design seemed fresh and professional. This shift was so vital that this logo is still occasionally used today (without the writing below the symbol).