The Real People Behind 5 Iconic Company Logos

©Columbia Pictures ©Public Domain

There are images you’ve seen over and over throughout your life, but you probably haven’t given them any thought, right? The Gerber baby. The person on the POW/MIA flag.

These are all based on real people, so let’s meet the people behind the icons.

1. The Gerber baby


For a long time, nobody knew the identity of the Gerber baby. It turned out that the adorable little face belongs to Ann Turner Cook, a mystery novelist who is now 92 years old. Cook’s neighbor was artist Dorothy Hope Smith, who sketched her for Gerber.

2. POW/MIA flags


You’ve no doubt seen this flag countless times. Artist Newt Heisley used his son Jeffrey, who was 24 years old at the time, as his model. Jeffrey was home on leave from the Marine Corps officer candidate program and was suffering from hepatitis at the time. His father thought that with his close haircut and gaunt look he would make a good model for the iconic flag.

3. Columbia Pictures logo

In 1992, Columbia hired Michael Deas to paint the company’s famous logo. Deas interviewed all kinds of models but couldn’t settle on one that he liked. A friend suggested Jenny Joseph, who wasn’t a model, but who instead worked as a graphic artist at The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. Deas found his muse, and it was the first and last time that Jenny Joseph ever modeled.

4. The NBA logo


Who could it be? My first guess was John Stockton, for some reason. But no, it’s actually Jerry West, known as “Mr. Clutch”, who played in the NBA for the Lakers from 1960-1974.

5. KFC


That lovable Colonel Sanders that we all recognize was actually a real person. Colonel Harland David Sanders (1890-1980) sold fried chicken out of his roadside restaurant in Kentucky during the Great Depression. He opened the first KFC franchise in Utah in 1952, and I think you know the rest of the story.