3M Logo

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3M, a global innovation powerhouse, operates in diverse markets like healthcare, safety, electronics, and consumer goods. Known for Post-it Notes and Scotch tape, it continuously pioneers in various fields. Owned by public shareholders, 3M thrives on creativity and science, addressing myriad needs worldwide

Meaning and history

3M Logo history

The odyssey of 3M, an embodiment of resilience and inventive spirit, commenced in 1902 in the small town of Two Harbors, Minnesota. Originally established as a mining operation, the company, under the guidance of visionaries Henry S. Bryan, Herman W. Cable, John Dwan, William A. McGonagle, and Dr. J. Danley Budd, swiftly transitioned to producing sandpaper. This strategic move marked the beginning of 3M’s foray into industrial manufacturing.

The roaring twenties heralded a significant transformation for 3M, with Richard Drew’s serendipitous creation of masking tape, a momentous and unexpected advancement. This led to the development of the renowned Scotch tape, solidifying 3M’s standing in the adhesive industry. Subsequently, the company broadened its horizon, venturing into diverse domains such as healthcare, electronics, and consumer products.

Following the Second World War, 3M embraced further diversification and placed innovation at the forefront of its operations, epitomized by the launch of Post-it Notes in the late 1970s. The company’s leadership also underwent changes, with figures like William L. McKnight and later Mike Roman, fostering a culture that melded creativity with the pragmatic application of scientific principles.

Presently, 3M is recognized as a multifaceted technological enterprise, continually evolving and introducing novel ideas. Although its ownership and primary areas of production have varied over the decades, the core of 3M has consistently been its ability to transform challenges into opportunities. This philosophy has been the guiding light of the company, steering it through more than a hundred years of growth and success.

What is 3M?
3M is a multinational conglomerate corporation known for its wide range of products and emphasis on innovation. It operates in various sectors, including healthcare, consumer goods, and industrial markets, offering more than 60,000 products. The company’s success is built on its ability to combine scientific knowledge with diverse technologies to meet everyday needs. 3M is synonymous with innovation, constantly evolving to address global challenges and improve lives.

1906 – 1910

3M Logo 1906

The logo is a monochromatic, vintage emblem representing the early branding of 3M. It features a circular border containing the full company name at the time, “Minnesota Mining and Mfg. Co. Duluth, Minn.” The text is arranged to follow the curve of the circle, emphasizing the company’s origins and location. At the center of this border is a diamond-shaped figure with the numbers “3” and “M” prominently displayed on separate lines, declaring the company’s abbreviated name, “3M Co.” The design conveys a classic industrial era aesthetic, hinting at the company’s long-standing history and its foundation in the mining sector. The stark black and white contrast imparts a sense of formality and solidity, traits desirable in a company that prides itself on reliability and innovation.

1910 – 1938

3M Logo 1910

This logo depicts the stylized text “THREE M.” in a bold, black font with a distinct, slightly irregular hand-drawn quality. The characters are arranged in a somewhat staggered fashion, with the “THREE” on top and the “M” centrally below it, followed by a period. The lettering has thick strokes and the serifs on the letters are pronounced and angular.

This design has transitioned from a circular emblem with a graphic and text to a straightforward textual representation. The detailed “Minnesota Mining and Mfg. Co.” along with the “Duluth Minn” text and the diamond shape with “3M Co.” are omitted, favoring a more simplified and direct brand identity. The period after “M” is retained, suggesting continuity with the earlier design’s abbreviation of the company name.

1937 – 1942

3M Logo 1937

This logo presents a bold, modern design with the numeral “3” and a hyphen, followed by an uppercase “M.” The “3” is stylized with a flowing curve, and the “M” is sharply angular. Compared to the previous logo, this design is more abstract and minimalistic. The text “THREE M” has been replaced by the numeral and letter, which symbolizes the company name “3M” more succinctly. The characters are larger and the design departs from a hand-drawn feel to a cleaner, more geometric appearance, indicative of a modernizing brand identity.

1938 – 1944

3M Logo 1938

The logo is encased within a circular border with the inscription “MINNESOTA MINING & MFG CO.” along the top and “ST. PAUL, MINN” at the bottom. At the center is a diamond-shaped figure containing the “3M Co.” logo, with the numeral “3” above the “M Co.” The diamond is bisected horizontally by a band reading “B-A” and the phrase “SINCE 1828” below it, indicating the company’s founding year.

This design returns to the more detailed and emblematic style, reintroducing the company’s full name and location, which were absent in the more minimalist prior version. It incorporates both text and graphical elements to convey its corporate identity, blending traditional and modern aesthetics.

1942 – 1944

3M Logo 1942

The strong, dark numeral accompanied by a character was encircled by a slender, pale border, appearing vivid and distinctly masculine. This figure, set against its backdrop, exuded a sense of strength and clarity. The contrast between the deep black of the digit and the crisp white of its outline was striking, creating a visually impactful statement. The design of the numeral and letter combination was meticulously crafted, showcasing an aesthetic that was both modern and robust. The overall appearance of the digit was enhanced by its bold color scheme and the precision of its outline, making it stand out prominently. This combination of elements conveyed a sense of power and confidence, with the masculine undertones being subtly yet effectively highlighted. The choice of colors and the finesse in the outlining process contributed to a design that was both elegant and commanding, capturing attention with its simplicity and effectiveness.

1944 – 1948

3M Logo 1944

The logo consists of a large, bold numeral “3” followed by a hyphen. The hyphen is shorter in length than the width of the strokes composing the “3” and “M.” Following the hyphen is a capital “M,” stylized with sharp, angular lines. Both characters are in a solid black hue, and the “M” has a distinctive peak at the center, giving it a mountainous appearance. The overall design is bold and simple, with a focus on clarity and impact. The characters appear to be of the same thickness, suggesting unity and strength in the design. The use of negative space around the characters accentuates their form and makes the logo easily identifiable.

1948 – 1950

3M Logo 1948

The logo displayed is a graphical representation of the numeral “3” followed by the letter “M.” Both the “3” and “M” are depicted in a bold, black font with a solid fill. The “3” has a curved design, while the “M” is composed of straight lines with a pointed vertex at the top center, resembling a mountain peak. The characters are of equal stroke width, suggesting a balanced and strong branding image.

Comparing this logo to the previous one, the most notable change is the absence of the hyphen. The removal of the hyphen simplifies the design further, making it cleaner and more streamlined. The “3” and the “M” are now in direct sequence, which may suggest a more direct and connected branding message. The alignment and proportion of the characters seem consistent, maintaining the logo’s symmetry and visual impact.

1950 – 1951

3M Logo 1950

This logo features the “3M” prominently centered within a black-bordered circle. The “3M” is bold and black, with the “3” stylized with flowing curves and the “M” characterized by straight lines and pointed vertices. Below the “3M,” the word “COMPANY” is written in capital letters, following the curve of the circle. The overall design is encased within the circular border, providing a contained and complete look.

This logo has undergone significant evolution. It now includes the word “COMPANY,” which was absent before, adding a formal and corporate feel. The circular border is a new addition, giving the logo a seal-like appearance that could imply trustworthiness and establishment. The design has transitioned from a simple typographic style to a more emblematic form, which may indicate a shift in brand positioning or a milestone in the company’s history.

1951 – 1954

3M Logo 1951

The logo features a bold, black “3M” with the “3” designed with a curly tail, and the “M” having sharp angles and flat lines. The style is reminiscent of a stencil with bridges, likely to give the letters an industrial or mechanical look.

The circular border and the word “COMPANY” are removed, bringing a return to simplicity with just the “3M” mark. This design shift could suggest a focus on brand name recognition, with a stark, strong typeface. The stencil-like cutouts in the “M” are a new addition, potentially reflecting a modern, utilitarian approach aligning with the company’s innovative ethos. The overall design is robust and simplified, emphasizing the letters without additional graphics or text.


3M Logo 1952

The logo is a simple, bold black “3M” with the “3” having a rounded, flowing form and the “M” presenting with straight, angular lines. The design is stark and devoid of any embellishments or additional text, conveying a strong and clear brand identity.

The stencil-like gaps in the “M” have been eliminated, resulting in a cleaner and more continuous line design. This change suggests a move towards a more classic and timeless aesthetic. The overall design remains minimalistic, but the cleaner lines may signify a desire for a more seamless and universally recognizable brand representation.

1952 – 1954

3M Logo 19521

The logo is encased within a black circular background and features the “3M” mark in bold white letters. The “3” is styled with a decorative curl, while the “M” has straight lines with a blocky structure. Beneath the “3M,” the word “BRAND” is written in white capital letters, following the lower curve of the circle.

This one reintroduces a circular motif, but in reverse coloration, with the “3M” and “BRAND” in white against a black background for a striking contrast. The earlier minimalism is retained in the typeface but is now complemented by the addition of the word “BRAND,” which emphasizes the company’s identity. This design suggests a focus on branding and a stronger visual presence. The circular element gives a sense of completeness and universality.

1953 – 1954

3M Logo 1953

The logo is encircled by a black outline and features the “3M” mark in a bold, stylized font with a curl on the “3” and the “M” presented in a blocky, straightforward design. Below the “3M,” there is a decorative, intertwined rope design spelling out “Line,” followed by the word “BRAND” in a simple, sans-serif font.

The new element “& Co” introduces a visual complexity with its rope-like illustration, suggesting a more traditional or heritage look. This, coupled with the word “BRAND,” which remains from the prior version, could indicate a fusion of the company’s legacy and its brand identity. The decorative rope detail adds a tactile, crafted feel, possibly to emphasize the company’s attention to detail and craftsmanship in its products.

1954 – 1955

3M Logo 1954

This logo features the “3M” mark prominently in the center, with “3” styled in a curly font and “M” in a blocky, sans-serif type. Below “3M,” the word “COMPANY” is displayed in a smaller, straightforward font. Surrounding the logo is a laurel wreath, which forms a circular border. The entire logo is set against a black circular backdrop, creating a strong contrast with the white lettering and laurel design.

The rope-like “& Co” has been replaced with “COMPANY,” indicating a shift back to a more formal corporate identity. The introduction of the laurel wreath adds a classical element, often associated with victory and honor, which could suggest the company’s pride in its achievements or status. The black background remains, continuing the use of stark contrast to make the logo stand out.

1954 – 1957

3M Logo 19541

The logo consists of a bold, stylized “3M” with a curled “3” and an angular “M,” followed by “COMPANY” in capital letters, all set within a black circular background. This design eschews additional ornamentation for a clean, focused brand representation.

The laurel wreath has been removed, simplifying the design and placing greater emphasis on the company name itself. This reduction to essential elements reflects a modernist design approach, focusing on legibility and brand recognition. The continued use of the black circle suggests a commitment to a strong visual identity, with the white-on-black contrast ensuring the logo’s prominence.

1955 – 1957

3M Logo 1955

The logo features the bold, stylized numeral “3” and letter “M” at its center, with the words “PRODUCT OF” and “RESEARCH” framing it above and below. The typeface is consistent throughout, with a solid, serif font that emphasizes stability and authority.

This design marks a departure from the previous logo’s circular motif, opting instead for a straightforward textual message that highlights the company’s focus on innovation and scientific advancement. The addition of “PRODUCT OF” and “RESEARCH” directly associates the 3M brand with its research and development efforts, suggesting a brand identity deeply rooted in technological progress and quality. The stark black and white contrast remains, ensuring the logo’s visibility and impact.

1955 – 1958

3M Logo 19552

The logo displays the “3M” mark in bold, stylized characters with a curled “3” and an angular “M,” and “COMPANY” in a simpler font below. This is all framed within a black circular background, overlaid with a laurel wreath border.

Comparing this to the previous logo, the laurel wreath has returned, reintroducing a classic symbol of achievement and excellence. The phrase “PRODUCT OF RESEARCH” has been replaced with “COMPANY,” which may signify a return to a broader corporate identity rather than the specific focus on the company’s research aspect. The continuity of the black and white color scheme ensures the logo’s visual impact and recognition.

1956 – 1957

3M Logo 19561

The logo presented is a minimalistic design featuring the “3M” mark in bold, black sans-serif font. The “3” is stylized with a curve on its tail, and the “M” stands with straight, angular lines.

In comparison to the previous logo, all decorative elements such as the laurel wreath and the black circular background have been removed. This represents a significant shift towards a more modern and simplified design ethos. The focus is purely on the brand’s initials, emphasizing a clean and uncluttered approach to the visual identity. This change could reflect a strategic move to highlight the brand’s name in the most straightforward and memorable way possible.

1957 – 1958

3M Logo 1957

The logo consists of a stylized “3M” with a curly “3” and a straight-lined “M” above the word “BRAND,” all set within a white circle enclosed by a thicker black border.

The previous logo’s simplicity is retained in the character design, but the addition of “BRAND” beneath “3M” and the encompassing circular border present a more defined and enclosed logo. This reintroduction of a border, albeit without previous laurel wreath or circular background embellishments, gives the logo a badge-like quality, which may suggest authenticity and reliability. The focus on “BRAND” emphasizes the company’s identity in the marketplace.

1958 – 1960

3M Logo 1958

The logo features the “3M” initials in bold serif font, with the letter “M” directly connected to the numeral “3”. Below the initials, “BRAND” is spelled out in a smaller font. The entire logo is encompassed within an elliptical shape, which is then framed by two mirrored laurel branches forming an oval wreath.

Compared to the previous design, the round shape was stretched into an oval, and the laurel appeared again, creating a border around the ellipse. This alteration gives the logo a more traditional and ceremonial look, possibly to evoke a sense of heritage and honor. The word “COMPANY” has been replaced with “BRAND”, signifying a potential shift in focus towards branding efforts.


3M Logo 1960

The logo features the “3M” initials in a large, bold serif font, centered within an oval shape. Below the initials, the word “COMPANY” is spelled out in capital letters. Surrounding the oval is a laurel wreath, completing the design.

Word “BRAND” has been replaced with “COMPANY”, shifting the emphasis from branding to the corporate entity itself. The overall structure of the logo remains consistent with the elliptical form and laurel wreath, maintaining the classical and prestigious connotations associated with such imagery. The logo’s focus on the “3M” initials remains clear and prominent.

1960 – 1961

3M Logo 19601

The logo features the “3M” mark in a large, bold serif font. The numeral “3” has a distinctive curl at the bottom, and the “M” has a classic, straight appearance. There are no additional design elements, decorations, or text, giving the logo a clean and strong visual presence.

This version has omitted the oval laurel wreath frame and the word “COMPANY.” This simplification strips the logo back to its most basic elements: the company’s well-known initials. The removal of the additional decorative elements suggests a modern, minimalist approach, focusing solely on brand recognition through the iconic “3M” initials.

1961 – 1978

3M Logo 1961

The logo is a stark black and white design featuring the “3M” initials in a bold, blocky, sans-serif font. The characters are tightly spaced, with the “3” and “M” sharing a common vertical alignment on the right side, giving the impression of interconnectedness. Unique to this design, the “M” features horizontal lines through its legs.

The primary change is the addition of horizontal lines on the “M,” which could be interpreted as an abstract representation of the company’s diversified lines of business or its foundational stability. The design retains the minimalist approach, focusing on the iconic “3M” initials without any additional graphical elements, suggesting a modern and direct brand identity.

1978 – Today

3M Logo

The logo features the “3M” initials in a vibrant red color, with a bold, sans-serif font. The “3” has a curved design, while the “M” is angular with straight lines.

The transition from the previous black and white logo to this one is marked by the introduction of color—a striking red that is often associated with energy, passion, and strength. This change could signify a renewed focus on dynamism and visibility in the brand’s identity. The removal of the horizontal lines in the “M” simplifies the design, making it cleaner and more adaptable to various contexts while maintaining the strong and recognizable “3M” initials.