Shell Oil logo design history

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shell oil logo designs

Originally sold as decorative objects by London business Marcus Samuel & Co, oriental seashells quickly became the foundation of the business, before the word shell first appeared in 1891 as their trademark for kerosene shipments destined for overseas.

The Shell transport and trading company was formed 1897 and shortly afterwards adopted the original mussel shell as its icon. Things have come a long way since then.

shell logo
1901, the original mussel shell.

shell logo
1904, the mussel shell is replace by that of a scallop, paving the way for the logo as we know it today. Things slowly evolved until 1971 when the current icon by designer Raymond Loewy was introduced.

exxon bp logo designs
On a side note, Raymond was also responsible for the earlier BP and Exxon mobile logo designs, shown above. But, I digress…

shell logo

shell oil logo design

shell oil logo design

shell oil logo design

shell oil logos

shell oil logos

shell oil logos

shell logo designs

What do you think?

Other than tweak to the colour in 1995, and the eventual removal of the company name for many applications, the shell logo has remained unchanged and is undoubtedly one of the worlds most iconic designs.

2 thoughtful comments on “Shell Oil logo design history”

  1. Daniel Rose says:

    It’s really a great example of how to pick a logo that conveys a consistent brand over a long period of time. I mean, the resemblance to today’s logo goes back to at least 1948.

  2. Andrew Keir says:


    I think we can forgive Shell for not having it perfect in 1901.

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