The Logo History of Apple
If anyone from this generation were to picture the word “apple”, they’d probably start thinking of iPhones and Macbooks
One of the ways Apple managed to do that is through design. It starts with its iconic logo that has become one of the most recognizable logos today. The brand has managed to make the symbol theirs by branding smart and showcasing design expertise.
The brand’s unique and unprecedented approach to branding is admired by consumers and designers of different disciplines. It comes as no surprise to anyone that Apple is one of the world’s leading technology companies.
So, what’s the story behind this legendary logo? We’ve got a lot to cover and unpack. Take a look at this brief overview of the logo history of Apple:
- Meet the designers
- Meanings and theories
- The timeline
If you’re an Apple fan, a young designer looking for inspiration, or a general information whiz, you are in for an informative ride.
Meet the designers
Learning more about the minds that conceived the logos in Apple’s repertoire is valuable. This will help us have a better understanding of the brand’s story.
For this multinational technology company, its logo has been through the hands of two designers. It all began with Ronald Wayne who was the chief designer and co-founder of the brand.
Wayne was one of the guys that worked to bring the trillion-dollar company to life. Now, not a lot of people know about Apple’s third co-founder when the world has heard plenty about Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. This is because Wayne sold his 10% stake of the company for $800 on the 12th day of collaborating with the other founders.
The explanation behind his departure from the humble startup? Wayne feared that the debt would fall on his shoulders if the company were to fail. He was, after all, the eldest in the team.
Don’t worry. Wayne says he doesn’t regret that move.
The designer Rob Janoff has worked with big brands such as IBM, SC Johnson, Citibank, John Deere, and other established companies. He is a well-known figure in the US advertising industry.
Janoff’s branding work for this tech company is just one of the biggest bullet points in his portfolio. He designed the logo we see today at the back of iPhones, Macbooks, advertisements, and more.
He first met Jobs in 1977 to discuss the development of Apple’s brand identity. This was during the time of Apple II’s debut. In an interview, Janoff said that Job’s only design brief was “Don’t make it cute.” The designer studied the cross-section of apples to inspire his design. The whole process lasted for two weeks before completion.
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Meanings and theories
People always buzz about the logos of big brands and the meaning behind it. It’s usually full of conspiracy theories that can either range from believable to outright ridiculous.
In this section, we’re going to tackle all the noteworthy speculations and truths surrounding this bitten symbol. You’ll finally learn why the Apple logo is half-bitten.
But first, we’re going to cover the basics.
Let’s talk about the story behind the brand name first Founder Steve Jobs is a known fruitarian or an individual whose diet depends on fruit alone. Jobs went on a trip to an apple farm and loved the name of the fruit.
According to his biography, the word apple was “fun, spirited, and not intimidating.” He deemed it fit to be his brand’s name. It was a good call. The name did embody the brand’s personality and mission.
Now that we’ve discovered the story behind the company name, we’re all set to discuss interesting theories about the logo.
People say that the logo is a religious reference to Adam and Eve.
The couple resides in the Garden of Eden and were instructed not to eat the forbidden fruit. However, the two were swayed by a snake to try the fruit despite the orders given to them. In this piece of literature, the apple is a symbol of knowledge and temptation.
An ode to Alan Turing
Theories suggest that this is an ode to Alan Turing who is one of the brilliant minds that changed computing systems. Turing died of suicide that involved eating an apple. For being queer, he was pressured by society and was threatened of incrimination.
The English mathematician was a cryptanalyst during World War II. Winston Churchill said that Turing’s contribution to modern computing shortened the onslaught by two years.
The truth according to Janoff
Janoff once shared in an interview that this detail was added so no one would mistake the illustration for other fruits like a cherry.
The bite silhouette helped scale the drawing and lessen room for misinterpretation. The designer was also thrilled to learn about the computer term “byte” or a unit of data comprised of eight binary numbers.
A brand needs to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing needs of the market. It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup or a tech giant like Apple. The path to improvement is a never-ending road.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at how the brand has bettered itself through the years.
The first logo wasn’t adaptive at all. As beautiful as it was, this design contained too many details to be applied to different brand collaterals.
It features Isaac Newton, the physicist who discovered gravity. The illustration depicts Newton sitting under an apple tree. This is a famous story of his discovery. It was under the tree where a falling apple hit him on his head.
This occurrence triggered his big eureka moment. You will also see a line from the poem of the English writer William Wordsworth inscribed on the frame. It reads “Newton… a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought.”
This logo was changed a year later but remained a valuable contribution of Ronald Wayne to the company’s story.
A huge shift in the design was made with the aid of Rob Janoff.
The monochrome was changed into a rainbow color scheme.
This bold step was done to symbolize the Apple II’s capacity to display color in its screen. It may not be special today, but it was a technological feat worth taking pride in back then.
From an extremely detailed and intricate design, the new logo was also much simpler. You will see no shading or poetic excerpts on it.
Janoff, in a Forbes interview, explained the step he took towards simplicity, “People can’t remember complicated things. They can remember simple things. That’s also what makes the logo stand out.”
Since the brand’s collaboration with Rob Janoff, the logo did not see many changes. All that ever changed about the design concept is color.
The world bid farewell to the rainbow color scheme as the brand transitioned into a blue illustration. This change was made when the century was nearing its end. You’ll notice the translucent finish which gives the symbol some depth to it.
The logo also saw a secondary version with a flat, all-black symbol. Flat designs have a special advantage when displayed on screens which seems fitting for the tech company. This design provides a clearer and more distinct visual hierarchy.
For the third change, the brand went for an Aqua inspired shade. It has an eye-catching quality that looked appropriate during its era.
The chrome version of the Apple logo we see today embodies the brand’s affinity for technology and simplicity. It is a powerful tool used by the company to carry out its mission. Below is the flat rendition of their logo.
Designers of different disciplines see the brand as a huge influence. Not only because they have stuck to a simple style, but how the brand manages to do that with sophistication and never missing what is essential.