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If you are reading this, then like us, you are probably bombarded with logos and icons every single day of your life. Some of these images are instantly recognizable while others are a little more ambiguous.

The recognizable ones, like your swooshes and half-finished apples, have become ingrained in our psyche only because millions of dollars have been pumped into its marketing and advertising.

There are teams dedicated to ensuring the correct representation of these logos to the public to ensure the overall survival of said brand. So it is understandable that we are well acquainted with these logos.

Then, there are the symbols that have become universal but do not belong to any corporate giants. Yet, many different brands and establishments adopt these icons as they bring value through association.

Here are the Top 3 icons that have successfully become universally renowned without the aid of marketing teams or branding experts.


The Wi-Fi Logo

Ah! The 21st Century’s newest place of worship: any vicinity that provides free Internet! This logo was originally meant to be placed on products that conform to certain trade standards pertaining to wireless Internet. Although belonging to the Wi-Fi Alliance established in 1999, this logo has become a godsend to weary travellers and Internet enthusiasts alike thus being adopted worldwide to represent the availability of Internet. The logo, a play on the Yin Yang symbol, was designed by Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance and was meant to denote interoperability.


The Halal Logo

There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and each one of them eats only one type of food – the halal type. This truth has brought our second logo on this list to the forefront of our visual world. Anywhere we go, we will somehow come across this symbol that declares an establishment’s subscription to the Islamic laws of food preparation. It also helps that this prescribed method is also in line with what the Jewish community deems kosher. Add 6 million to that staggering 1.6 billion and you have yourself a world-famous logo. No one designer is attributed to this iconic design, yet it has entered almost our lives, aiding Muslims in making the right choice.


The Recycle Logo

In the 70s, worldwide attention to environmental issues culminated in the first Earth Day.  In support, a large producer of recycled paperboard sponsored a contest for art and design students at high schools and colleges across the United States to raise awareness on environmental issues. The competition was won by Gary Anderson, a 23-year-old college student at the University of Southern California. His design is composed of three mutually chasing arrows that form a Mobius strip. This internationally recognized symbol used to designate recyclable materials has been called one of America’s “most important design icons”.  We may have a long way to go to the rights the wrongs we’ve done to Mother Nature, but nothing urges solidarity more than a powerful symbol.

Logos and icons play a large part in all our lives. It is a quick and easy way to make a statement without having to say it outright.

Designers spend hours to make logos communicate a succinct message, and marketing teams spend millions to make these logos famous. But once in a while, a design takes a life of its own and we are fortunate enough to the witness the birth of an icon without the contriving hands of branding and advertising agencies.

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