Logo Crisp Blog

The Evolution of the Apple Logo

In 1981, there was a question made to Steve Jobs about why he chose the name Apple, to which he replied “I love Apples and like to eat them. But the main idea behind Apple is bringing simplicity to the public with the most sophisticated way”.
Despite the name, their first logo did not match the physical shape of an apple.

First apple logo
Image 1 - First Apple Logo

This first logo depicts the imagery of Isaac Newton sitting under the tree. The logo included a quote from William Wordsworth:  “Newton… a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought alone”, which is written on the frame of the logo. This logo was illustrated by Ronald Wayne, one of the co-founders of Apple.

Image 2 - Ronald Wayne

However, at this time Steve Jobs wanted something that could be reproduced in a small size and also include a modern aesthetic.
This was when Jobs decided to hire a graphic designer by the name of Rob Janoff, who then created the now classic and eternal logo of the bitten apple. Apple’s logo was fully established by the end of the company’s first year.

Image 3 - First official logo (1977-98)

The initial identity development was to coincide with the introduction of the Apple’’s first personal computer, the Apple II.

The entire design process with the upstart client only took about two weeks. After the agency’s initial meeting, Rob Janoff went to work developing the Apple icon based on his examination of physical cross-sections of real apples. In fact, when asked how he approached designing the Apple logo Rob Janoff replied “It was very simple really. I just bought a bunch of apples, put them in a bowl, and drew them for a week or so to simplify the shape.”

A single design illustration was then created of a "rainbow-striped" apple. Janoff’s original apple logo contained a rainbow spectrum, a nod towards Apple’s computer Apple II which was the world’s first computer with colour display. The logo debuted a little before the computer’s launch. Janoff has said that there was no rhyme or reason behind the placement of the colours themselves, noting that Jobs wanted to have green at the top "because that’s where the leaf was." According to Janoff, the "bite" in the Apple logo was originally implemented so that people would know that it represented an apple, and not a cherry tomato. It also lent itself to a nerdy play on words (bite and byte), a fitting reference for a tech company.

Monochrome Apple Logo: 1998 - Present

The current apple logo, the one everyone today knows, wasn’t made simply because Steve Jobs was always looking to spice things up. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he realised that Apple could use to their advantage.

If the shape of the Apple logo was universally recognizable, why not put it where people could see it?

When Apple released their first ever iMac, the logo was changed and its rainbow colours disregarded.  The logo then took a metallic look with embossing, which was applied to many of their products.

Image 4 - Apple third logo (1998-03)

Today, the company uses a more modernised flat ‘Minimal’ Apple logo. The logo comes mainly in 3 colours: silver, white and black.

Janoff assesses colour changes on the Apple logo looks good from time to time. Every colour and line meets the objectives and in accordance with the current conditions. He believes Steve Jobs was aware of the design, and Apple has a graphic design team as well as strong industrial design.

“Apple shape changed slightly from my original design in the early 1980s. Landor & Associates a branding firm based in San Francisco made the changes in the late 1990’s. They were bright colours, they made the shape more symmetrical, much more geometric, ” said Janoff

The slight makeover by Landor & Associates was because Landor used Macs running Adobe software, tools that Janoff did not have in 1977, to refine the logo making it more geometric, more symmetrical.

Image 5 - Current logo (since 2003)

Apple has an inspiring journey. Their logo has become one of the most widely-recognised logos in the world. Apple always brings out the best from every design, we look forward to the future logo and hope it will represent each step of the company as previous logos did.

One of the finest examples of how proud they are about their logo was the October 2018 iPad launch which included 300+ illustrated versions of their logo which you can see below.

Image 5 - “There’s More in the Making’ Event” in NYC (October 30th 2018)

Apple made 370 different versions of its own logo as part of a media event. If you ever imagined recreating their logo, here you have some illustrations which are pure gold! These examples just show how versatile this logo really is.

Today, the Apple logo is a symbol of innovation and trust. We hope you get inspired to create something as original and unique as the Apple logo design.

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