No. The Symantec logo didn’t cost $1,280,000,000.
If you hover around branding design circles for any length of time, you’ll almost certainly encounter articles titled things such as “Worlds most expensive logos” or “You’ll never guess how much these companies logos cost!”.
Sitting at one end is usually Coca-Cola, that technically cost £0 when it was hand drawn by Frank Mason Robinson, the bookkeeper of company founder John Pemberton. It’s an example of Spencarian Script, it was considered the American de facto standard writing style for business correspondence prior to the widespread adoption of the typewriter.
A casual reader may be left thinking anything over £0 is too much for a logo. After all the Coca-Cola design is so valuable, and it was essentially free. It takes no account of development through the years, it’s evolution and investment into the wider application.
The way the Coca-Cola cost is calculated is the complete opposite to another logo, one that usually makes it towards the top of the list. BP. When they rebranded in 2000, the update cost a rather significant £4.8 (by firm Landor), which I’ll assume includes the way it will be applied. However, add in the rollout, which with 28,000 petrol forecourts plus other applications, cost an estimated £132 million. The forecourt updates included updating the pump hardware and refits of the stores and not just a rebadging.
Often we see the cheapest logo specifying the logo only with no application or development, but the most expensive logos including all the application and more.
It’s internet fact bending to the max.
Back to Symantec. Even versus BP’s £132m (about $211m), $1.28bn is quite a leap. How can a logo cost over one billion dollars? Symantec is big, but physical properties wise, it’s no way BP big, it is after all a company built on software. So it’s application and roll out can’t have cost more than BP can it? Certainly not a billion plus dollars more?
How do these logo jocks get to a one billion dollar logo then?
In 2010 Symantec purchased VeriSign. That buy out cost $1.28 billion. One of the more valuable aspects of the buy out was the VeriSign check mark. A little tick that authenticated the security certificates (SSL) on web sites, particularly shopping sites. Verisign SSL’s were more trusted than others and made oodles of money for the company.
Symantec then took the VeriSign tick and wisely due to its recognition appropriated it as their logo.
So no, the Symantec logo did not cost $1.2bn, unless you’re happy to bend the definition of a logo design so far, it becomes a joke.