Origins of the Shell brand

There are many facets to our brand, but the Pecten is the physical embodiment of what we stand for, and of how our brand has evolved over time. When the ‘Royal Dutch Petroleum Company’ and ‘Shell Transport and Trading’ merged in 1907, the latter’s brand name and symbol (Shell and the Pecten) became the short-form name and emblem of the new Royal Dutch Shell Group, and has remained so ever since. The exact form of the Pecten, has gradually evolved over the years in line with trends in graphic design (amongst other reasons). Today’s Pecten was introduced in 1971, and on it still stands the test of time as one of the world’s most recognised logos!

Find out more about our beginnings

 

Brand evolution

Though it is at the heart of brand identity, a brand is more than just a logo. There are few brands with the depth, breadth, scale and range of brand touchpoints as Shell, built over many years of consistent brand expression. Like all major brands, Shell must invest time and energy to build and maintain a strong brand – it’s our largest, most valuable asset; engendering trust and loyalty amongst our customers. Our globally recognised logo, the Pecten, is seen alongside our distinctive yellow and red colours and represents our brand and values, whether at a petrol station, on a business card, or at one of our many events and experiences.

Built on the foundations of our heritage, our brand continues to evolve in the modern world. Since the early 20th century music has also played a key part in our visual and audio communications, including collaborations with singers Bing Crosby and Sammy Davis Jr. Working with British film and TV soundtrack composer Tom Howe, in 2015 we introduced the “Sound of Shell”, a sonic signature and brand music that captures the values and energy of Shell. Our brand goes beyond visual identity, The Sound of Shell give us the opportunity to tell our audiences who we are and what we stand for, through music. Delivering an impactful and more immersive experience of our brand.

Through memorable storytelling and meaningful action, Shell has played a part in changes in key moments throughout history, and telling great stories in memorable ways has kept the Shell brand connected to its customers in an ever-changing society.

 

Preserving our brand heritage

As our brand evolves, it is important to remember where we came from and how this has shaped where we are now and in the future. As part of our holistic brand management, we take steps to protect, preserve and celebrate our heritage. Some ways in which we are doing this is through our Shell Heritage Art Collection at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu and our sponsorship of the Museum of Brands in London.

The world famous National Motor Museum has one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world and has been home to the Shell Heritage Art Collection for 25 years. From early postcards and lorry bills of the 1920’s, through to the much-loved motoring guides from the 1930s, experience the unique way Shell used art, wit and charm to connect with its customers over the years.

April 2018 saw the launch of Shell’s dedicated exhibit at the Museum of Brands, the world’s only museum entirely dedicated to well-loved, memorable brands. In the exhibit you can, explore the Shell brand story, enjoy original campaigns, adverts and films which encapsulate the Shell brand, and see and hear how new areas of brand building are pioneered today.

We also have a Shell Heritage Archive, held and managed in The Hague, our headquarters. The archive is a temperature controlled environment, with specialist handling and storing protocols to preserve our important and more vulnerable heritage materials. The collection varies from old photobooks to ship bells, to games. The Shell historical archive is a closed archive, available for view at special request by contacting Askbrand@shell.com.

In this section

Shell at The Museum of Brands

The Museum of Brands celebrates how well-loved brands have evolved over 150 years. As a founding sponsor, the fascinating story of Shell will feature in a dedicated exhibit, including a game to create and share your own brand.

Shell Heritage Art Collection

The Shell Heritage Art Collection is an extraordinary collection of 20th century British commercial art, featuring Shell posters, press advertisements, paintings and illustrations, as well as early postcards, books and a unique collection of valentine cards.