Corporate logos are anything but arbitrary. Designing a good logo is actually one of the hardest tasks in graphic design. A good logo needs to, in the simplest fashion possible, convey a mood, a message, and a distinct, universally appealing look. It's not an easy thing to do, and it's why graphic designers like Saul Bass (the man behind the iconic Bell Telephone, Girl Scouts, and Quaker Oats logos) are so highly revered. Making a good logo isn't easy. But when a company finds one, it can be incredibly powerful. And lucrative.
When it comes to McDonalds (MCD) , Apple (AAPL) , and Coca-Cola (KO) , their instantly recognizable and world-famous logos aren't just a pretty sign. They're the essence of a billion(s) dollar brand, the absolute distillation of what a company is trying to sell. And as this infographic from Alex Hillsberg shows, anything but arbitrary.