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1950s Logos: Iconic 50s Logo Design, Examples, and Inspiration

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Read Time: 8 min

In this article, we explore 1950s style logo designs that are iconic in graphic design. We also show you retro logo design examples and fonts to get you inspired.

The 1950s retro graphic design era was influenced by the end of WWII, the ideals created by American culture, the economic boom, and the famous International Typographic Style born in Switzerland. These two countries led to two very different styles that made a mark in the world of retro logo design. At the end of the article, I'll show you some retro logo design inspiration and fonts to explore.

If you're looking for amazing retro logo design inspiration or 1950s logo examples, be sure to check out Envato Elements. For a small monthly fee, you have access to thousands of high-quality assets that can take your project to the next level. 

1950s Logo Design

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1959 Swiss Poster by Max Gubler

The tragedy of World War Two led to the creation of idealism in the 1950s. Designers felt a level of responsibility that led them to develop the International Typographic Style or Swiss Style. It was a style that needed to be rational, and the results needed to make sense, so it was all based on cleanliness and objectivity.

This style didn't only influence 1950s graphic design but also architecture and art. Layouts were harmonious, clean, and some may even say that it lacked design because the graphics were minimalist. Designers wanted to provide information for viewers in the most concise and clear way. Famous designers of this era included Josef Müller Brockmann, Armin Hofmann, and Max Bill.

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1950s Logo Design: IBM

In the U.S., retro ads were inspired by the postwar economy and ideals. Pop Art was booming, and people had more time to create elaborate marketing campaigns. Designers like Paul Rand, Milton Glasser, and Saul Bass were amongst the most famous and were influenced by the International Typographic Style. The simplicity of the style led them to create posters and brand logos that were extremely simple and visually transformed design.

The influence of the International Typographic Style was worldwide. Many large brands decided to ditch serif fonts and embrace the futuristic look of sans serifs for their logo. Brands like Canon, Pepsi, Shell, and Chevy changed their logos to sans serifs. Some brands opted for refinement or rebranding altogether to simpler and minimalist logos.

Let's take a look at some of the iconic 50s logo designs from this era:

Volvo 

1950s Logo Design: Volvo1950s Logo Design: Volvo1950s Logo Design: Volvo
1950s Logo Design: Volvo

Sweden's most famous typeface designer, Karl-Erik Forsberg, redesigned the Volvo logo in 1959. The logo has gone through many changes, but the one developed during the 50s is a clear example of the minimalist influence in European countries. The logo is simplified, and a new font was developed to create a heavy, strong, and impactful logo.

Fisher-Price

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1950s Logo Design: Fisher-Price

Leading toy company Fisher-Price developed several logos for their brand. The one created during the 50s was an abbreviated version, with the lowercase initials "fp" in separate colored bubbles. In the 70s, the wordmark's typeface would change to what it is now.

3M

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1950s Logo Design: 3M

3M is one of the brands that had an ever-changing logo from its start. In the 50s, the logo changed almost every year. One of the designs was a base for what we know now as the minimalist 3M. The design featured the number and letter with a space in between and a slightly different typeface. The logo demonstrated the minimalist influence that brand design was going through in the 50s.

Barbie

1950s Logo Design: Barbie1950s Logo Design: Barbie1950s Logo Design: Barbie
1950s Logo Design: Barbie

The Barbie logo hasn't strayed too far from its original design. Only a few iterations on the curves and shading have made the logo more contemporary. The logo uses calligraphy and places the characters at different baselines. The handwritten quality of the logo positions a brand that's friendly and trustworthy. 

Canon

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1950s Logo Design: Canon

The Canon logo underwent several rounds of refinement for years. The logo was developed in 1934 and included a unique concept of the company's global perspective. The second version of the logo evolved to something similar to what we know now. 

Dr. Pepper

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1950s Logo Design: Dr. Pepper

The 1958 Dr. Pepper logo redesign went from a sans serif to a serif Bodoni-like font. The serifs had round ends, and the logo was placed on slightly different baselines to make it appear playful and fun. 

NASA

1950s Logo Design: NASA1950s Logo Design: NASA1950s Logo Design: NASA
1950s Logo Design: NASA

The NASA logo was designed by employee James Modarelli in the late 50s. The design has references to all things space. The round shape represents a plane, the red element represents aeronautics, and the orbit over the lettering represents space travel. 

Retro Logo Design Inspiration From Envato Elements

The International Typographic Style born in Switzerland and the Mid-Century retro logo designs from the U.S. are wildly different. This puts the style of this era all over the place, but with very specific characteristics nonetheless. Let's take a look at some examples of 1950s logos fonts and retro logo designs from Envato Elements. 

1950s Fonts

Fifties Typeface (TTF, OTF, WEB)

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Fifties Typeface

The Fifties typeface is inspired by vintage novel covers from the mid-century era. This font features small pointy corners similar to the ones in the NASA logo. Use this font for branding projects and poster designs.

Carosello (OTF, TTF)

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Carosello

While the International Typographic Style was influential on most designs, others decided to stick with tradition. Carosello is inspired by vintage ads of the ideal America and hand-lettered signs. This versatile font can take you back in time in just a few seconds.

Capuche (OTF, TTF)

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Capuche

Capuche is a soft and bold font, similar to Fisher-Price's logo. The font is friendly, playful, and fun. With this much personality, Capuche is a great choice for branding projects, editorial designs, and posters.

Faltige (OTF, TTF)

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Faltige

Faltige is a strong slab serif font that resembles the one from the Volvo logo. While this font is not minimalist like the ones that would be part of the International Typographic Style, it's a font that would be used more in American graphics. Faltige is a font suitable for sports-related projects.

Origin (OTF, TTF, WEB)

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Origin

Origin is a bold retro font that's minimalist and on par with the requirements of the International Typographic Style. Much of the style was about keeping things simple, and this font can do the trick. Use it on a grid-based typographic poster and let its attributes shine.

Suntage (OTF, TTF, WEB)

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Suntage

Suntage is a retro font that comes with a few different options: normal, stamp, rounded, and outline. The normal version gives you a clean look that also almost meets the requirements of the International Typographic Style. Suntage is inspired by retro graphics and architecture. 

1950s Logo Designs

Retro Skull Rider Motorcycle Helmet Logo (AI, EPS, PDF, PNG, PSD)

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Retro Skull Rider Motorcycle Helmet Logo

This Retro Skull Rider logo includes colors that were popular in 1950s style logo design. American retro was all about sans serif fonts that resembled Futura. The bold look combined with the low midline gave Futura the retro look. This retro logo design is the perfect balance of 1950s logo design and a contemporary aesthetic.

10 Logo and Badge Templates (AI, PSD, PNG)

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10 Logo/Badge Templates

Badges have been part of American retro logos for a long time. This is a great way to establish power and trust. This pack is great for 50s car design logos or an outdoor brand.

Retro Vintage Pin Up Girl Logo (AI, EPS)

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Retro Vintage Pin Up Girl Logo

This American retro logo represents the late 1940s and early 1950s pinup style of logo design. These types of logos have mainly a war theme because they were extremely popular during WWII. This style often depicted the female ideals of that era.

8 Retro / Vintage Badges (AI, EPS)

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8 Retro / Vintage Badges

These vintage American retro logo badges are representative of the 1950s style logo design. The badges have a mid-century feel, making them awesome for 50s car design logos. The sans serif font style is depicted perfectly, and the script font adds balance to these retro logo designs.

Surfing Summer Logo Badge (AI, EPS, JPG, SVG)

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Surfing Summer Logo Design

The 1950s were big for the 'beach bum' stereotype; many young men and women would choose surfing over jobs. This culture led to a relaxed design, the opposite of the International Typographic Style. It became part of the 50s retro graphic design repertoire, another cool style influenced by the culture of the time.

Retro Logo Templates (PSD)

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Retro Logo Template

Our last piece of logo design inspiration is based on 50s retro graphic design, from the colors to the typography and the layout. These types of design were used mainly on sign paintings or labels. 

That's It!

In this article, you learned all about iconic 1950s logo designs. Influenced by societal and cultural events, 1950s style logo designs were modernist or illustrative but nonetheless stunning. The International Typographic Style influenced design in all aspects and all around the world. While the U.S. also had its own style, much of the 50s style logo design was typographic, and no one wanted to be left behind. Which is your favorite logo?

If you're looking for amazing 50s car logo fonts or 1950s logo fonts, be sure to check out Envato Elements. For a small monthly fee, you have access to thousands of high-quality assets that can take your project to the next level. 

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