If you’ve got an electronic item in your house, check the label – there’s a very good chance that it was made by Philips or a subsidiary. The largest consumer electronics company in the world, it manufacturers a surprisingly high number of consumer items used by people across the world. While Philips often seems quiet on the marketing front, it’s still got a very recognizable logo. You can track the changes in the company by taking a look at the changes in its marketing, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the evolution of the Philips logo design.
Philips Logo Design Elements
The main shape of the Philips logo is a circle inscribed inside a shield. Within the circle are three waves surrounded by four stars. This logo was, at least apocryphally, developed with the idea of sound transmission in mind. The waves, it is said, represent soundwaves and the stars represent the journey of that sound through space. It’s a unique design to be sure, one that stands out in an electronics field that has become infatuated with increasingly simplified logos.
Just as Philips has eschewed the common wisdom in shape, so too has it eschewed that wisdom in color. Instead of going black and white with the logo, the Philips logo is officially a vibrant shade of blue. It’s a bit harder to stamp on metal or plastic, but it does stand out in print. The font is a very uniform, capital-letter sans-serif font that does little to stand out but that does complement the rest of the design nicely.
Changes and Evolution
The shape of the Philips logo has changed quite a bit over the years. The original, pre-20th century logo was the name of the company in a flowing script – something that was very common at the time. By 1897, the company moved on to the more industrially-appropriate initials. Philips, now in all caps, would be the entire logo of the company in 1910 until they added a wavy, radio-like appearance in 1915. The wavy appearance would stay until 1920, at which point a lightbulb would be added. The familiar shield would come into play in 1922 before a reversion to a logo similar to that used in 1910. Two square variations would be used until 1968, at which time the familiar shield design would show up. This design was dropped in 1995 to once again concentrate on the name of the company, before being re-adopted in 2013.
The color of the Philips logo has really run the gamut over the years. The first two logos were monochrome, while the third spoke to a high quality by adding a gold border. The company logo wouldn’t have a steady color again until 1968, with all of the intervening logos switching colors as certain advertising techniques came in and out of style. From 1968 onward, though, blue would be the color of Philips – an easily identifiable shade that became more important in a more crowded electronics marketplace.
Outside of the two 1890s logos, the font of the Philips company has always been very conservative. There’s not much drift from 1910 onwards, with the exception of the 1915 radio logo. Most Philips products have featured a version of the same sans-serif font, either in a standard or bold format from 1920 onwards.
Philips is an odd case because its logo changed so often. It has been influenced by virtually every other company that has come along, with a logos changing as often as bi-annually and staying in place for no longer than thirty years. If there has been a successful electronics company, you can be sure that Philips has attempted to copy something of their logo design.
Because of the typical speed of change, no one’s really had time to copy the logo. The company is a bit of a chameleon, which makes it too difficult for the company’s branding to influence anyone. As such, it tends to blend in with whatever’s available at the time.
- Philips has been listed as one of Forbes’ Most Valuable Brands.
- Philips is officially titled Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V..
- Philips created the first true home use VCR.
- The Philip family fled the Netherlands during WWII and continued the company in the United States. Those in the family left in the Netherlands managed to keep the company going during the occupation.
Phillips’ logo is unique, but not unchanging. It jumps on the latest trends without necessarily feeling obligated, changing to suit the times. Philips has managed to keep a brand identity despite many logo changes, an amazing feat in this day and age. If you want to take a look at the history of electronics advertisements, you just have to look at Philips’ logo.