Prior to 1998, many of Unilever's ice cream companies used a logo with five vertical red bars with the company name written in with a script font in a white oval in the middle. It can be traced back to the 1960s when it was used by Langnese in Germany, Eskimo in Austria, Olá in Portugal and Trollhätteglass in Sweden. As Unilever have expanded their ice cream business, new versions of this design have been introduced.
This design was however not mandatory, and there were several companies which had an independent logo design, even though they were subsidiaries of Unilever at the time (with Selecta being the most notable exception because it was then owned by the Arce family, and then in the 1990s, by RFM Corporation before Unilever acquired it in 1998):
- Wall's in the United Kingdom
- Miko in France
- GB Glace in Sweden
- Frisko in Denmark
- Bresler in Chile
- Selecta in the Philippines
In 1998, Unilever started introducing a new symbol for their various ice cream companies around the world. The new logo replaced the previous design in most countries, but the local names (such as Good Humor, Wall's, Langnese, Frigo, Algida, GB Glace) were carried on. The new identity was designed by Carter Wong & Partners. Within that time, the 11 companies that were using the awning logo used the first Heartbrand logo as their second logo under Unilever ownership, while 12 other companies (including Selecta from the Philippines which was welcomed into the Heartbrand umbrella the same year that the new logo was unveiled) started using it as their first logo under ownership by Unilever.
In India, Kwality Wall's was born in 1998 (the same year that the new symbol was revealed), and used the Heartbrand symbol, but was different from what the other Heartbrand companies were using, because the two hearts were not connected to each other.
In late 2003, Unilever started updating the Heartbrand. The symbol itself was simplified by removing the yellow shades in the background. The blue script lettering for the local names was abandoned in favour of a simpler all-caps sans-serif font.
The new version usually has one colour, which eliminated the need for the white background ovals that were previously included when the logo was seen on a coloured surface. When on a white surface, the logo usually has red colour. The 11 companies that were using the first heartbrand logo start using the new logo as a second logo under ownership by Unilever, while the 12 other companies started using it as their third logo (a few of them used it as their fourth logo, while GB Glace used it as their seventh logo).
When the new logo was launched, it also brought a redesign of most of the companies lead product brands such as Magnum and Solero. When the 1998 heart logo was introduced, the heart logo simply replaced the local logo without any major changes in packaging. This time the packaging was more thoroughly overhauled. Kees van der Graaf, European president of Unilever ice cream said at the launch "Yesterday our branded items simply carried the heartbrand as an add-on – from today, the heart becomes an integral part of the total design."
The refreshed brand came with a Europe-wide marketing campaign, 90 branded ice cream bars and a cooperation with MTV.
However in despite the unveiling of the new logo, several other companies are no longer using the logo (or were not using the logo in its proper appearance after it was unveiled), namely Good Humor (which replaced the Heartbrand symbol with an ice cream truck in 2009), Strauss (which used a quadrilateral shape with the word "Strauss"), and Kwality Walls (which retained its improper Heartbrand symbol).
Selecta has two versions of the logo: one that featured the new Heartbrand symbol and the retained blue script Selecta text (used from late 2002 to early 2003), and the present Heartbrand logo: featuring the new Heartbrand logo and the new all-capitalized Selecta text.