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Surprising stories behind famous brand names and logos

By AMI Blogger | September 16, 2022

The name of a brand is of obvious importance and value, here is an article about some famous brands and how they got their names.

1. Nike

The brand that we all know and love today as Nike actually got its name from the Greek goddess of victory that their founder Phil Knight was inspired by when he was touring around the world.

The swoosh of the brand is also supposed to signify victory.

2. Adobe

Adobe is a famous household name that anyone with a computer has heard of, but the interesting thing about how this company got its name was because of the fact that the co-founder of Adobe (John Warnock) lived in a town in California through which the Adobe creek river flowed.

3. Google

Google at the time of patenting their name wanted to patent “Googol”, however, a former employee made an error in the spelling and ended up patenting the name Google.

I guess it worked out in their favor considering the height of the company and the name of it being used as a verb even.

4. Apple

Apple does seem like a slightly odd name for a tech company to have, but allegedly Steve Jobs was fascinated by the story of Newton and the falling apple and decided to name his apple with the hopes of it signifying innovation and motivation.

5. Starbucks

The Starbucks logo of a double-tailed mermaid is an iconic one, to say the least, but why it is a mermaid is because it took inspiration from the rich sea-faring history of  Seattle which was populated by rugged marines. It is also alleged to take inspiration from Herman Melville’s classic book Moby Dick which has a lot to do with mariners as well as seafarers, and where the captain’s first mate is named Starbuck.

The logo itself takes inspiration from sirens.

6. Amazon

Jeff Bezos initially wanted to name his e-commerce site Abracadabra, however, his lawyer wasn’t very pleased with this idea and said the word “Cadabra” reminded him of a cadaver. So, Bezos scrapped the name and went with Amazon owing to the fact that it was the longest river in the world, and is swift. Things he wanted his company to mirror.

7. Pizza Hut

It’s hard to imagine pizza hut having any other name than, well, pizza hut. But when they initially started out their outlet did in fact resemble a hut. The cramped lettering of the brand is because the space they had to display their name could only contain 9 letters.

So they picked pizza hut and ran with it.

8. Hotmail

Hotmail is based on HTML, and hence the founders of the company wanted to pay it homage by having all the letters H, T, M, and L in the name. They also wanted to accommodate the word mail, which worked out great for them.

They initially named their company HoTMaiL, highlighting the four letters H, T, M, and L but eventually got rid of the capital letters and just decided to call it Hotmail.

9. Adidas

A lot of people might mistake the reason Adidas is called Adidas is that it is the Acronym of the phrase ‘All day I think of sports’ it is actually because it is an amalgamation of the first and last name of the company’s founder whose name is Adolf Dasler. Hence the name Adidas.

10. Cisco

You  might be expecting cisco to be an  acronym of some form, but truth be told the fou

nders of this company hailing from San Francisco couldn’t be bothered to come up with a name for their company and they ended up using the last part of the city they come from and ended up naming their company Cisco.

11. Wendy’s

Wendy’s, the popular fast food joint that sells hamburgers actually derives its name from the owner’s daughter whose nickname is, obviously Wendy.

12. Vodafone

Although the company doesn’t go by this name anymore, the thought process behind the initial naming of this company was that the word Vodafone was an amalgamation of the three words Voice, Data, and Phone which were three features of the services the company provides.

13. Durex

Durex also, like Vodafone, received its name since it was an amalgamation of three words that the product aligned itself with.

The three words that contributed to the brand’s name were: Durable, Reliable, and Excellence.

14. Oracle

Oracle has a rather interesting story that accompanies its brand name. Oracle was initially developed for the use of the CIA, this would be a database that would answer all questions. This is why it made sense to name it after the mythical Greek creatures that answered all the people’s questions: Oracles.

15. Reebok

Reebok in the African language translates to an antelope which is the symbol of speed and grace. The two things Reebok wants to associate itself with are.

16. Nokia

It’s fascinating to note that the most durable phones we knew actually started off as a mill for wood- pulp which later upgraded to making rubber products, and many later phones. These were located in a small Finnish town named Nokia, which is where this brand gets its name

17. Lego

Lego is a Scandinavian brand that got its name by combining two Danish words, namely, Leg and Godt which means play well in Danish.

18. Virgin

During the initial meetings when Virgin was established an employee suggested the name Virgin with the context that the idea of the company was a new one and had never been done before. Richard Branson clearly took to that idea and named his company Virgin. He also considered changing it, but obviously hasn’t so far.

19. HP

HP stands for Hewlett and Packard (the founders of the company). The two had a coin toss to decide whose surname would precede whose.

No points for guessing Hewlett won the toss.

20. Blackberry

The company named themselves blackberry after it being pointed out to them how much of a stark resemblance there was between their keyboards and the fruit blackberry.

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