What I’ve Got: the Heineken Company’s Logo

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Alfred Heineken started The Heineken company from a single brewery in Amsterdam nearly 150 years ago, and its earliest label, the company’s logo, dates to 1883. Historically, Heineken has adopted a green oval with a black band that cuts horizontally through its center. However, in the 1930s Heineken experimented with a new branding strategy, a large red star centered in an off-white rectangle (pictured above), in the Dutch market. This brand portrayal faced stark criticism in the post WWII era when the red star became associated with Communism in many nations, so the Heineken company was forced to adjust its logo to its original style. Interestingly, one subtle feature of the logo was maintained: the “smiling e”. During this period, Heineken adapted lowercase letters but slightly adjusted the silhouette of each “e” by giving it a backwards slant. The current logo (pictured above) displays this inconspicuous feature that is meant to associate an aura of happiness with each Heineken beer. In this way, the Heineken logo is particularly enticing because it not only represents the company but also serves to communicate subliminally with the company’s users. It is a culmination of the company’s historical and meticulous branding strategy.

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