I'm writing a paper on logos, iconography and different forms of identifications for trade activities. The paper starts with history of logos, which is pretty easy and known. However, I'm wondering: which is the oldest "brand logotype" ever?
To define a brand logotype, I use the following characteristics:
- It needs to have a name
- Preferably, it should have a purpose (activity) and/or icon or symbol
- It needs to be strictly related to trading or any economic PRIVATE activity
So, for example, a brand logotype is NOT an Egyptian Cartouche or the Ichthys, because they don't represent a commercial activity or brand.
So far, the oldest I could find is a bronze plate from Song Dinasty for Liu's Needle Shop , which is part of an advertisement commonly accepted as the oldest advertisement ever (just not necessarily the oldest BRAND). However, I'm not sure that's correct. I have seen advertisements in Pompeii, Herculanus and Ostia (sadly, I don't remember if there was a brand per se, the closest I can remember is a tavern in Ostia Antica that had some kind of sign at the entrance, which could have been merely decorative). And it seems to me ancient Egyptian, Roman or even Greek traders needed some kind of brand identification.
Anyways... is Liu's Needle Shop the oldest brand ever or is there an older one?