Taking a Bite Out of Apple The Evolution of One of The World’s Most Recognised Logos The Birth of a Cultural Icon They’re everywhere – on car mirrors, book bags, notebooks, and of course, on computers, iPads, and iPhones – a simple logo created over…
Taking a Bite Out of Apple
The Evolution of One of The World’s Most Recognised Logos
The Birth of a Cultural Icon
They’re everywhere – on car mirrors, book bags, notebooks, and of course, on computers, iPads, and iPhones – a simple logo created over 43 years ago and recognised today as a symbol of determined innovation all over the world.
Loyal Apple fans rave about the stunning hardware design of its products. However, Apple is not only inventive and creative with its product design, but it also features a rich, fascinating history regarding its simple, yet very idealistic logo design.
The year was 1976. Jimmy Carter had just won the Presidency of the United States. NASA unveiled its first space shuttle, the Enterprise. The cost of gas was only 59 cents per gallon. And, it was also the year that Apple Computer Company was born.
In April 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (only 21-years-old at the time) created their first company, Apple Computers, while working from a garage in Jobs’ parents’ home in sunny California. Their initial intention was to create small, user-friendly computers that could be used in homes or offices. They put a heavy emphasis and primary focus on eye-catching graphics, portability, and a simple user interface. However, they needed a logo that would properly encapsulate and match their forward-thinking vision for their newly found company as well.
The Newton Crest: 1976
Ronald Wayne sometimes referred to as the third co-founder of Apple, stepped in and designed the very first Apple logo. His goal was to depict the famous story of Isaac Newton discovering gravity – a perfect metaphor for Apple Computer’s goals for their future.
The initial logo showed Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, with a single (and even slightly illuminated) apple dangling over his head. The words “APPLE COMPUTER CO.” loosely printed on a banner, wrapped around the entire image. Outside the border read, “Newton…A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought…Alone.”
It was a good start, but it didn’t last long. Steve Jobs wanted something different, something that was much simpler. He wanted something that perfectly captured the heart of his computer business but in a much more accurate and minimalistic way.
The Rainbow Logo: 1976-1998
The following year in 1977, while still labouring away in the garage, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak began brainstorming a new concept for their company logo.
Jobs and Wozniak decided to engage ad agency Regis McKenna – and hired Rob Janoff, a newly graduated design student, for more help and ideas. They told Janoff that they wanted the logo to be an apple, “and don’t make it cute,” Jobs added.
Why an apple? No clear answers exist for why Jobs chose an apple. Even Janoff said he didn’t even know for sure other than “Steve thought an apple was the perfect food.” The logo concept that was created was not just that of a typical round, juicy looking apple, but one with a perfectly eclipsed bite taken out of the right side. Why the bite?
“I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple, not a cherry,” Janoff said.
Over the years, many have speculated, and even deeply analyzed, the underlying reasoning behind the bitten apple logo. Some associate the bite with the tale of Alan Turing’s death. Supposedly, he died after eating an apple that was considered to be laced with cyanide. Others point to the Biblical account of the Garden of Eden, where Eve took a bite of the forbidden apple.
While interpretations on the meaning are fascinating to read, the real answer may not be nearly as exciting as one might hope:
Here’s what Janoff had to say regarding this matter:
“I was going for the silhouette of an apple, but to make it look more like an apple and not some other round fruit, I did what one does with an apple, I took a bite out of it.”
Janoff designed the logo – minimal, flat, yet boldly colourful – and named it the “rainbow apple.” The word “apple” was set in bold with a modern font and appeared to the right of the icon. He showed it to Jobs, to which Jobs quickly replied, “That’s nice.” Jobs didn’t jump up and down with unbridled enthusiasm or raise his hands in the air with glee. But that’s how Jobs rolled. With that being said, he loved the logo.
As far as the colourful stripes went, Steve Jobs was rumoured to have wanted the colours to “humanize” the company. However, Janoff said there was no particular reason why they decided on the colours, other than they wanted the top colour to be green since that’s where the leaf was. The colours were also an instant reminder to the public that the Apple II had a colour monitor.
People over the years have tried (maybe even a bit too hard) to decipher any hidden meaning behind the lined cascade of colours in this era of the Apple logo. Again, although the variation in theories is interesting, according to Janoff, there is no hidden or secret meaning. However, Janoff did say the colours made the logo happy and gave it personality – especially when considering that other companies weren’t designing colourful logos at that time.
The Monochrome Logo: 1998-Present
The multi-coloured Apple logo lasted for 22 long years before Steve Jobs, in 1997, decided that Apple needed a fresh new approach and look to its popular brand.
Besides, the computer’s hardware design was now using metallic casing, and Jobs thought the colourful icon clashed with the sleek new appearance.
A modern, monochrome look (touched with smooth embossing) replaced the colourful stripes of the previous logo design. The “glass” themed logo stuck, and the entire logo’s personality changed from playful and fun, to sleek and sophisticated. Silver and chrome were the two colour versions. The silver logo is now used on Apple’s hardware products, and the chrome version is now featured on Apple’s software products.
The logo’s shape hasn’t changed much at all since the very beginning. Although, it has come in a variety of sizes and colours over the years, including translucent blue, aqua blue, and solid black. The company now uses a flat “Millennial” Apple logo in three colours: white, black, and silver.
Looking back over the lifespan of Apple, it’s incredible how far the company has come since its very humble beginnings 43 years ago starting in that one single garage in California. Today, the Apple logo is a symbol of innovation and reliability, and the logo has created quite the fan base, as the logo is among the most widely recognised in the entire world.
Who would’ve known back in 1976 that Apple would not only become the billion-dollar company that it is today but that the logo alone would become one of the most well-known logos ever, even topping cultural icons Google and Coca-Cola?
One thing is for sure, Apple and its logo will continue as a symbol of innovation, determination, and practicality for many years to come.
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I love this story. It is basically about a graphic design student who created one of the most iconic logos in the world. However, that was not how it was initially conceived. The story revolves around two main people, the student and an assistant professor who had both met at Portland State University in 1969.