17. Pirelli (1908)



From the school of idiosyncratic design comes the Pirelli logo that first appeared in 1908. According to Pirelli, the logo came about after the company’s US representative requested a symbol that he could use on advertising. Its overstretched P almost makes a ‘varoom’ sound as it accelerates across the page, forming a roof over the other letters in the tyre brand’s name.

Early versions of the Pirelli logo were more flowery, reflecting the calligraphic trends of the day but, after 1945, a standardised version was adopted which is still used today and went on to appear on some of Italy’s best-known advertising, especially the work of Armando Testa.

The Pirelli logo in use

We can only imagine the online outrage such a treatment would be greeted with today but its character earns it a place on our list.

The Pirelli logo in use

More on our Top 20 logos here