One of the most instantly recognizable logos in the entire world, the UPS logo, began its long-running existence in 1916 after the company successfully merged with one of their local competitors. Since then, the United Parcel Service of America has become the number one package delivery service in the world. During this time, the UPS logo has undergone a few transformations.
In the following sections, we will be looking at the UPS logo history, its design elements and color scheme, to see how the UPS logo has evolved throughout the century.
UPS Logo Design Elements
The most recognizable design element of the UPS logo is the shield and the gold and brown color scheme. The UPS logo also contains the brand name, UPS, written in a simple, sans-serifs font. Throughout its history, certain design elemenets were added and then dropped. The first logo featured a parcel, much like the 1961 redesign. However, the current logo and the 1937 version did not feature this element.
Changes and Evolution
The only element that has stayed with the UPS logo throughout its history is the shield element. The first UPS logo features an eagle carrying a small parcel. In 1937, the UPS brand name was added to the logo. The logo also featured the text “The delivery system for vendors of quality” and “Since 1907”, the year the UPS company was founded.
The 1961 version of the UPS logo was perhaps the most radically different. The gold and brown color scheme that had been a part of the UPS logo design from the very beginning was dropped. The shield design element was retained, as well as the brand name. The 1961 logo was created by Paul Rand. He would be the one to work on the 2003 logo redesign as well.
The latest UPS logo returned to the gold and brown color scheme. However, the logo itself was simplified thoroughly. From 2003 to 2014, the UPS logo had a glimmer that created a 3D effect. The glimmer was dropped in 2014 in favor of a flat, clean design.
The most recognizable element of the UPS logo is its shape. The UPS shield has been part of the design since 1916 and hasn’t changed all that much throughout the various redesign moments. The earliest UPS shield was slightly thinner than the later versions. It also featured three points at the top. The 1937 redesign had a flat stop, which stayed with the logo to this day. The current UPS logo maintains the proportion of the 1961 version. However, the parcel element that had been a part of the 1961 logo shape was removed.
The current UPS logo maintains the proportion of the 1961 version. However, the parcel element that had been a part of the 1961 logo shape was removed. The current shape of the logo is bulkier than the earlier one, closer to a square shape, rather than an elongated rectangle.
Apart from the 1961 version, the UPS logo colors have always been brown and gold. The initial brown shade had a bronze tint, but as the logo was simplified throughout the years, the bronze tint was removed as well. The 1961 version featured no colors whatsoever, opting instead for a simple black contour on a white background.
The current UPS logo maintains the tradition of the previous UPS logos and features the name of the brand in gold, on a brown background. The brown shield element is placed on a larger shield shape in the same gold color as the font.
Very elegant in nature, the UPS logo font is very simple, yet expressive. It holds a number of unique qualities, which have helped the emblem’s owners become as successful as they are today. The golden letters are meant to evoke the company’s reliability, as well as its proud nature and long history.
Another very interesting thing about the current UPS logo font is that it still keeps the font personally created by hand by the famous designer Paul Rand. It perfectly represents the company, its values, and everything it stands for. It’s no surprise that the UPS logo had such huge success given that the legendary Paul Rand worked on it.
Inspiration and Trivia
Known for designing some of the most successful company logos of all time, including IBM’s, ABC’s, Morningstar’s, Enron’s, and that of Yale University Press, Paul Rand was a much-beloved American graphic designer, one that logo designers working today admire and respect as a role model. He started gaining international acclaim in his twenties and has only gotten more and more appreciated as his career moved forward.
In fact, László Moholy-Nagy, a famous Hungarian painter, photographer, and professor, had this to say about a young up-and-coming Rand:
“Among these young Americans, it seems to be that Paul Rand is one of the best and most capable [. . .] He is a painter, lecturer, industrial designer, [and] advertising artist who draws his knowledge and creativeness from the resources of this country. He is an idealist and a realist, using the language of the poet and business man. He thinks in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problems but his fantasy is boundless.”
The artist managed to help create a huge number of corporate identities for companies and organizations. This was happening while many of them were fighting over him, as Rand was one of the most requested American graphic designer of all time.
In its more than one hundred years of professionalism, UPS has become synonymous with reliability, trustworthiness, and excellence through quality delivery. The UPS logo is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable logos in the world, and the company itself is the number one global parcel delivery service. And it’s all thanks to an inspired design and a nigh-impeccable business practice.