What’s the oldest logo you can think of right now? Most of you are probably thinking of logos for Coca-Cola, MGM, or Twinings of London (if you read my first post last week). Indeed, those are all rather old logos. But when did we humans start making logos?
According to Dr. David Wengrow, we began branding products as early as 5,000 years ago. Dr. Wengrow is a professor of Archeology at the University College, London. He theorizes that as civilization began to urbanize in Mesopotamia (the modern day Middle East), people began interacting more and more with travelers and strangers. They began consuming and utilizing more products which they did not make themselves. Sealed caps and marked bottle stoppers became the signs of the origins and quality of a product. These logos essentially served the same function that logos serve for us today. They allowed the consumer to identify trusted goods.
Many stoppers have been found in what is now the city of Uruk, Iraq. Five thousand years ago, that was home to around twenty thousand people. The logo on these stoppers was formed by pushing a stone symbol into wet clay. Dr. Wengrow identifies these as the first images in human history to mass produced in “urban temple-factories.”
If you want to learn more about David Wengrow and his research, you can find him here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/people/staff/wengrow