Exploring the Origins
"The choice of a shell as an emblem was not surprising, as it was the company name. Also, each of Samuel’s tankers carrying kerosene to the Far East had been named after a different seashell. But why specifically was the scallop or Pecten chosen as the company’s symbol in 1904? It was certainly not the simplest shape to reproduce in printed form.
There is some evidence that the Shell emblem was taken from his family coat of arms. The ‘St James’s Shell’ had been adopted by the Graham family after their ancestors made the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. Whatever its origins, the original design was a reasonably faithful reproduction of the Pecten or scallop shell.
The form of the Shell emblem has changed gradually over the years in line with trends in graphic design. The current emblem was created by the great designer Raymond Loewy and introduced in 1971. Thirty years on it stands the test of time as one of the world’s most recognised symbols."
Why red and yellow?
"The exact origins of the Shell red and yellow are hard to define. True, Samuel and Company first shipped kerosene to the Far East in tin containers painted red. But the link, once again, could be with Spain.
In 1915, when the Shell Company of California first built service stations, they had to compete against other companies. Bright colours were the solution, but colours that would not offend the Californians. Because of the state’s strong Spanish connections, the red and yellow of Spain were chosen.
As with the Pecten, the actual colours have been modified over the years, most notably in 1995 when a bright, fresh and very consumer friendly new Shell Red and Shell Yellow were introduced to launch Shell’s new retail visual identity. The Shell emblem - or Pecten - remains one of the greatest brand symbols in the 21st Century."