The company that Steve Jobs founded has basically had three logos throughout its history – isotypes would be the more accurate technical name.
And almost always -but not always- it has been a silhouette of a bitten apple. Children all over the world have learned the English word ‘apple’ probably earlier thanks to the company’s logo than in school English classes.
The details regarding this iconic logo are stories in which reality and legend intermingle without their origin being really clear.
Many cases are known in which the creators ‘rewrite’ the story to their liking to give it a more epic touch. But in the case of Apple, there is enough material and interviews to make its evolution difficult to discuss.
There has always been a lot of debate about the name ‘Apple Computer’ itself: some say that Steve Jobs proposed it because he simply liked apples, others because it could be a tribute to The Beatles’ company Apple Records.
Some point out that it came from the fact that at that time Jobs worked in a hippie orchard of some friends growing apples and even for more mundane reasons such as that, alphabetically, ‘Apple’ comes before ‘Atari’, the company in which Jobs worked before founding his own company.
The fact is that, once the name of Apple Computer was decided, it had to be endowed with an image. And Steve Jobs took a very active part in those designs.
Apple has basically had three logos throughout its history, which have been these:
Steve Jobs and Newton’s apple
The first logo was designed by Ronald Wayne in 1976, shortly after the company was founded. Wayne is a perfect stranger in the style of the ‘fifth Beatle’, whom Jobs and Wozniak invited to participate in Apple.
On the day of the foundation, he was assigned 10% of the company in exchange for $800. Two weeks later, he would leave the project, recovering $1,200 for his contribution. A good investment in the short term, terrible view decades later: today that 10% would be worth 35,000 million dollars.
Wayne’s logo is an elaborate old-fashioned design that could easily adorn a carafe of oil or a bottle of Anís del mono.
The rainbow apple of Steve Jobs
Jobs entrusted the Regis McKenna agency with the job of taking care of Apple’s image, and there worked Rob Janoff, one of the designers who has created some of the most recognizable corporate identities in the industry, such as those of IBM, Intel, and others such as FedEx, Volkswagen or CNBC.
After receiving the assignment, Janoff went to the supermarket and bought all kinds of apples for inspiration. After long thought and cutting apples this way, he presented Jobs with a monochrome design depicting an apple with a side bite.
Jobs was fine with it, but… he told him that it had to be made more colorful to ‘humanize the company. So Janoff added the famous six-colored bands.
“There are a large number of legends that circulate around the history of the apple logo.“
The monochrome apple
After Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the mid-90s, the company underwent many changes and one of them was again in its logo.
The rainbow design had gone a bit outdated and experts soon realized that it was the shape of the Apple logo that was most recognizable. So they started using black-and-white variants or shades of gray to replace it.
Products with the new look had a more serious and professional look. And, after years of ‘suffering’, it was easy to add an Apple logo to any object or design without the problem of correctly reproducing six colors in beautiful shades.
“The new era logo began to be used in 1998“
The new age logo began to be used in 1998 and has undergone minor variations in the last decade: the silhouette remains the same, but there are three main versions.