We’ve all heard of the oil and gas tycoon Shell, or as it is officially called today – Royal Dutch Shell. As the name suggests, its headquarters is in The Hague, Netherlands, and was founded by a progressive man called Marcus Samuel. And whilst most of the people may think this is a random name chosen, there is actually a story behind the company’s brand name origin.

It begins in 1833, when the founder’s father, named the same way, started a business selling seashells to collectors from London. While bringing his son on a boat trip for seashell collecting in the Caspian and Black Sea, the young Samuel realised the potential of oil trading. In 1897 Shell was founded by the name of Shell Transport and Trading Company Ltd. The name was chosen as a tribute to the previous occupation of the family – the seashell trading business. As for the famous shell-shaped logo, familiar to people from all over the world, it is part of this seashell brand identity. It represents a pecten – a genus of scallops. The naming identity is also reflected in the name of the first tanker M. Samuels commissioned, which he called the Murex – the Latin word for a genus of sea snails.

shell logo name origin

The Royal Dutch Shell Group that exists today is based on a merging between Shell Transport and Trading and the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company back in 1907. And although the logo and company’s official name have been changed a bit throughout the years, the concept about the seashell, which inspired Samuels many years ago, is still present today.

If you got interested in the company’s story, check the more detailed history on their official website.