Letter or monogram logos are a proven way to build a strong brand identity and be noticed by your audience. This is because a letter combination is easier to notice and memorize than complex logo designs with hidden meanings. A simple wordmark logo is also easier to recognize across your online and offline marketing platforms. “O”, the fourth vowel of the modern alphabet, has been used by some of the biggest global brands in their logo. In terms of design, it’s a perfect shape to play around: a planet, a sun, a moon, a ball, a ring, a clock, a compass, or even a face. It can also be used to denote zero, if used strategically. It’s a solid sphere or an empty circle – anything that your mind can imagine.
The History and Symbolic Significance of the Letter “O”
The letter “O” appeared simultaneously as “M” and “N”, in Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was named ayin by the Semites, which was pronounced more like the sound ch. Later on, the Phoenicians turned it into “O” as everyone pronounces it today. When this letter is used in a person’s name or even a brand name, it indicates the advent of new opportunities that can help with their personal/professional journey and open new paths to success. Those who see it experience eternal power and will within him or her. They can’t be easily defeated, while their talents will be revealed to the entire world. “O” is the letter of empowerment, of giving to both yourself and others.
An Indian multinational ridesharing company, Ola Cabs extended their first overseas market to Australia and New Zealand in September 2018. The name ‘Ola’ is derived from the Spanish word ‘Hola’, which means ‘Hello’. This probably indicates that OLA’s cab rental services are as clear-cut and friendly as the word ‘hello’. Ola’s logo is as simple and relatable as its name, and features an “O” that depicts a tyre.
John D. Hertz founded the Yellow Cab Company in 1915 as a medium to provide transportation services at a modest price. Since taxis needed to stand out, he chose the color yellow to make the cabs more attractive and accessible. These two colors have also been used in OLA’s logo for the same obvious reasons.
Oracle Corporation is a global American computer technology firm, famous for its computer hardware systems and enterprise software products like database management systems. One of the most renowned software companies in the world, the company employs more than 113,644 people globally with total assets of US$ 78.3 billion. A prime example of a technically attractive and futuristic wordmark, the Oracle logo uses typographic elements from the brand’s name. The logotype features a simple and clean style while using a fresh primary color, i.e. red. Although the main emblem doesn’t signify anything specific, the logo has an icon that looks like an oval rectangle with a bright red border. This closed geometric icon stands for their range of software, hardware products, and digital services.
Founded in 1967, Oriflame is a Sweden based multi level network marketing company, primarily focused on beauty and personal care products. The initial logo was composed of a capitalized serif inscription with the tagline “International” written in smaller letters. An elegant emblem was placed above the lettering, which featured an oval letter “O” with two intersecting “J”s, standing for the entrepreneur brothers’ nickname – Jochnick. After undergoing a few subsequent modifications, the iconic lowercase lettering in the logo was changed to the uppercase emphasizing the Letter “O”, which made it look more modern and progressive. The tagline below was now replaced with “SWEDEN”, with two long horizontal lines on its sides.
Launched in 1912, Oreo is one of the world’s most renowned cookie brands and the best-selling one in the USA. There have been more than ten different versions of the Oreo logo, and most of them were entirely different from each other. Their first logo was launched in 1912 and it remained intact for almost a decade. It was a classy and ornate black inscription in capitals with the first “O” a little enlarged. After undergoing a few more changes in the subsequent years, the brand finally redesigned its tricolor logo in 2001. This redesign was done after the brand’s possession by Kraft Foods, retaining the legacy and uniqueness of the label.
Introduced in 1862 in Germany, Opel is one of the most recognized European car brands with offices in more than 60 countries worldwide. With over 25 logo redesigns since its inception, Opel still kept bringing in new variations of design and colors. The most recent logo redesign was held in 2009, and it was a simple black “blitz” or lightning, embedded into a silver and black “O” with the brand’s name at the top. The simplicity of the Opel logo and its blitz symbol shows the brand as innovative and progressive, the one that values legacy yet aims to develop in new directions.
Oral-B is an American company that specializes in oral hygiene products. Their wide range of products includes mouth rinses, toothpaste, and regular & electrical toothbrushes. Although Oral-B has existed independently since 1950, it became a part of the Procter & Gamble corporation in 2006. The founder of the company, Dr. Robert W. Hutson created a unique product and called it “Oral B 60”. While the letter B represents the word “brush”, the number 60 stands for the number of tufts of bristles. After undergoing multiple changes in the preceding years, the current logo has a 3D effect and light highlights on the top and bottom edges.
The white and blue color combination of the Oral B logo perfectly signifies the purpose of the brand and its expertise in mouth-care products, evoking a sense of oral freshness and protection. The color palette also makes the brand look more professional and trustworthy, making customers feel at the center of the brand’s value system.
Originated in 1952 in South Africa, Olay is an American skin care brand, currently owned by Procter & Gamble. The first Olay logo looked like a shield in an elaborate roundel emblem with the original name of the product, “Oil of Ulay.” Gradually, the logo became simpler, with the word “Olay” now dominating the design. However, until 2010, it had a miniature icon of a woman’s face drawn with the outline technique. The current version was revised in 2017 and consists of the brand name with an underscore. The round emblem disappeared with a horizontal bar below.
8. Old Spice
Introduced in 1937 by William Lightfoot Schultz, Old Spice is a renowned soap and toiletries company. Initially, it only dealt in fragrances, but then it extended its business to purely masculine products, ranging from deodorants to shower gels.
Centuries ago, spices were extremely rare and expensive, and were exclusively available for the rich. This was because they were sent via ships that sailed to distant places. This colonial nautical theme, which was in line with the spicy scent of the brand’s products, became their important trademark. In due course of time, the company decided to do away with the colonial nautical theme and swap the ship for a yacht. Eventually, the brand returned to its original theme and the current logo contains the image of a sailing ship with three tall masts and a waving flag. The ship is positioned at the junction of the two words “Old” & “Spice”, as a symbol of class and opulence.
9. ORCA International
Orca International is a Japan based importer and trader of fine wines, specializing in wine from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Initially, the logo consisted of an image of a killer whale – a traditional symbol of travelers. This sea animal is often associated with friendship, cheerfulness, intelligence, prosperity, abundance, and the willpower to achieve goals. Eventually, the company dropped the whale and opted for a wordmark in simple fonts, with emphasis on the word “ORCA”.
Letter based logos are a simple and certain way to leave a mark on your audience’s mind. While you can play around with different letters, colors and fonts, these famous letter “O” logos are worth a thousand words. Take clues from these famous logos and create one for your business. If you’re still short of ideas, consider working with an experienced custom logo design company.
Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.