Corporate Logos – The Early Years

Everyone is familiar with these iconic corporate logos.

But did you know the first corporate branding logo was created over 400 years ago, when Queen Elizabeth I gave her permission to the the East India Company to use a series of marks to identify its products?  Called Merchant’s Marks, they were branded on to wooden crates containing the merchandise the company was selling.  They could be easily recognized on a trading floor or from the dock.  The marks came to not only identify the company but the quality of the merchandise, kind of like Good Housekeeping seal.

Logoo or Merchant Mark of the East India Company

The East India Company used a simple mark beginning in the 1700s of a heart with the letters EIC and a sail.  Within the company, the mark was called a chop, which comes from the Hindi word for stamp, chap.  The EIC is the first registered trademark on record and at the first global logo, because of the company’s world wide trade routes.  The seal was a common sight in Boston Harbor on the night of December 16, 1773.

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