Logo Changes: How John Deere Honors the Old While Embracing the New

A good logo holds the power to make a brand easily recognizable, but a great logo can affect your consumers’ emotions and communicate the qualities and values of your company and its products. But what if you have an existing logo that no longer matches business needs or consumers?

Updating an established logo has associated risks that require a strategic process. Sometimes, the answer to a visual rebrand can be far more subtle than dramatic. A subtler strategy does not necessarily minimize the impact and can maintain the brand’s existing equity and strength.

A noteworthy example of a rebrand that gives extraordinary attention to its existing equity is John Deere’s corporate identity evolution. This company went through several iterations of redesign, subtle enough to make the logo feel timeless and significant enough to keep the visual identity current – and in the process, built a truly iconic visual brand identity.

You can read more detail on the John Deere trademark history on their very own website. Dedicating a section of the site to its iconic corporate identity history is another unique way of illustrating the company’s respect for its brand.


Their first corporate logo was registered in 1876, three years after its initial launch. Depicting a deer (rumored to be a type that’s native to Africa, not the North American white-tailed variety it would later become) leaping over a log.



The second version of the logo was registered in 1912, which changed to show a more detailed version of the deer and the landscape over which it was vaulting. This design also implemented the slogan, “The Trade Mark of Quality Made Famous by Good Implements.”



To make the logo easier to stencil on products, this update saw some of the previous detail removed in favor of a simpler design and introduced the emblem to the company with the deer, name, and slogan fully enclosed and unified within a border.



Simplifying the emblem, the deer’s antlers see significant change, and the design around the logo is simplified with a new, simpler slogan to match: “Quality Farm Equipment.”



“A clean-cut, contemporary look” further stylized the deer design, as well as narrowing the overall logo and removing the slogan. This was the beginning of the iconic design we all know today.