The Apple Logo: History, Meaning, Design Influences, and Evolution

 

Apple logo

Apple is one of the world’s most influential companies.

The brand has gained a strong and loyal customer base by creating and selling high-quality products based on innovative design principles.

But Apple wasn’t always a success. The company went through its struggles and failures before becoming the renowned brand it is today.

Apple’s strong branding is spearheaded by its iconic logo design.

What’s the story behind Apple’s famous logo?

When was Apple established?

Apple Inc. was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Two weeks after the company was formed, Wayne sold his interest in the company for $800.

The company was established during a time when technology was still in its infancy and computers were bulky and troublesome to use. Apple’s wanted to make computers more user-friendly by making them more portable.

How did Apple get its name?

There are many theories regarding Apple’s brand name and its origins. Some of these theories include:

  • The brand name was inspired by Eve’s bite out of the apple.
  • The story of Nymphus gaining immortality by eating a golden apple.
  • Alan Turing, the father of modern computing, died after eating a poisoned apple.
  • From the famous saying: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
  • Some claim that the three founders wanted a more casual name.
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak wanted the Apple brand name to appear before Atari in phone books.

But in reality, Steve Jobs named the company Apple because he liked the fruit. Steve Jobs followed a fruitarian diet and suggested the name Apple to Wozniak after Jobs visited an apple orchard.

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How did Apple develop its original brand identity?

Apple’s first logo design illustrated Isaac Newton reading under an apple tree. It was designed by the third co-founder, Ronald Wayne, in 1976.

The Evolution of the Apple logo

Apple’s logo has evolved over the years. We look at the most critical years of evolution below, and the following video is an excellent summary of the evolution of the apple logo.

1976

Isaac Newton under a tree Apple Computer Co. first logo

The original Apple logo, designed by Ronald Wayne, shows an image of Isaac Newton reading a book under a tree. It captures the moment right before an apple fell on his head. The design includes the company name in a ribbon wrapping around the image.

Despite its uniqueness and art, the logo doesn’t wholly represent what the company stands for and quickly became outdated.

1977

Apple 2 logo in the year 1977

Steve Jobs thought the original logo was too old-fashioned and difficult to print on a smaller scale. He hired Rob Janoff, an experienced logo designer, to rebrand the company.

Jobs wanted a logo that would represent modern computer design’s importance and blend in with the brand name “Apple.” The result was an image of a two-dimensional apple colored with a spectrum of rainbow colors. That new design underscored the company’s Apple II computer – the world’s first colored-display computer.

The bitten Apple logo was intentionally designed to distinguish it from a cherry since apples and cherries often look alike.

1984

Apple rainbow logo in the year 1984

The logo underwent minimal changes until 1984, but the most distinct difference happened during the Macintosh launch. Landor Associates removed the name “Apple” from the company logo and made it the logo we are familiar with today.

1998

solid black Apple logo in the year 1998

Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1986 due to a conflict with company executives. But he returned in 1997 as the company was close to going bankrupt.

One of the biggest challenges that Jobs faced was to revamp the company’s image, starting from its logo. He changed the previous rainbow logo into translucent sky blue to fit the first iMac. But eventually switched to solid black in 1998 to complement their new silver computer models and to successfully paint Apple as a luxury brand.

The change to the logo also reflected Jobs’ love of skeuomorphism. In this design style, items mimic a real-world object so users can easily understand and adopt a new interface.

For instance, a 3-D image replicating a trashcan is easy for everyone to recognize, even if they don’t speak a particular language and can’t read the text.

2001-2007

Transparent aqua Apple logo in the year 2001

Apple released Cheetah, a MacOS 10.1, in 2001 with the aqua Apple logo, along with popular products such as the iPod, iTunes, and more. It was a revolutionary year for the brand as many of its products were popular and helped Apple to earn record profits.

In 2007, Apple changed the logo to a chrome-textured design to go with its upcoming aluminum-based products.

2007-2015

Silver laptop with shiny metallic bitten apple logo in the center

Apple veered away from its glass-themed logo and went with a simple and flat design, keeping the design straightforward while complementing its products.

The logo since then has been the Apple logo popularly recognized today. The flat design perfectly complements Apple’s low-carbon aluminum devices, helping them appear luxurious and easy on the eyes.

Why is the Apple logo effective?

The Apple logo is now synonymous with a modern, reliable, and stylish brand. The logo continues to evolve alongside Apple’s products – a perfect representation of innovation.

The logo works because it’s simple and easy to understand, and even non-Apple users recognize the brand. The perfect pairing of the logo and its brand name has helped people quickly identify the brand.

And while the logo remains to be an effective and robust depiction of luxury and credibility, Apple continues to deliver high-quality products that are user-friendly and portable. 

7 Interesting Apple facts you probably didn’t know

There is more to the beloved Apple brand than meets the eyes. Here are some interesting facts about Apple that you probably didn’t know:

  1. Apple has more cash on hand than the government. The world’s most influential brand sometimes has twice the amount of cash as the US government.
  2. Apple had a clothing line in 1986. In 1986, Apple launched a clothing line called “The Apple Collection.” The designs were far from the minimalistic Apple we know today. Their clothing line included shirts, accessories, and other items that sported the rainbow logo.
  3. Almost all of the Apple devices in ads are set to 9:41. The time was initially set to 9:42, when the first iPhone was launched in 2007 by Steve Jobs. But it was later changed to 9:41 in 2010 during the first iPad launch.
  4. Apple had over 140,000 employees worldwide in 2020. 
  5. Apple sold 657,000 iPhones each day in 2021. 
  6. Apple iPad doesn’t have a built-in calculator. There’s a rumor that Steve Jobs didn’t like the original calculator design for the tablet in 2010. And to this day, the Apple iPad still doesn’t have a calculator built in to use.

Apple continues to be one of the world’s most successful and influential brands. As the company changed and evolved, Apple evolved its branding too.

How has your company changed and evolved? Is this the right time for you to consider a rebrand?

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