Apple Logo Design – History, Meaning and Evolution

Apple logo design process

Logo is a graphic image used by commercial organizations to attract customers’ attention. Any company tries to create its unique sign, but, unfortunately, not all of them do it successfully. The famous half-eaten apple, logo of the world’s largest producer of computers, phones and software, is in the top 5 most recognizable emblems in the world. The history of Apple logo shows how many changes it has undergone.

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Apple Logo history

April 1, 1976, is the official date when Apple was established. There were three founders: Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak. These three friends who managed to build a PC with MOS Technology 6502 processor and sell several prototypes got funding and registered their firm.

The first Apple logo was designed by Ronald Wayne in 1976.

In the beginning was Newton and apple

apple first logo
Ronald Wayne

Ronald Wayne was the author of the new firm’s logo. He left the company after two weeks of its establishment selling his 10% stake for $800. Having decided that the friends’ venture was a failure he lost billions. If we assume that Apple stock price will triple, Wayne’s possible profit could reach $100 billion.

The logo designed by Ronald didn’t look like the world-famous Apple logo. The image that Wayne created was more of miniature artwork. It depicted Isaac Newton sitting under a giant tree with an apple falling down from it. As you zoom in, you can see a phrase on the edge “Newton… A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought … Alone”. It’s a quote from The Prelude, a poem by William Wordsworth.

Apple Logo Evolution – How “half-eaten apple” logo was born

Apple logo has been altered twice over its history of the four decades and it was a significant design change – mostly in color.

apple second logo
Rob Janoff

Even though the emblem created by Ronald was unique and carried meaning, it wasn’t suitable for commercial purposes. The company used Wayne’s image as its logo for almost a year. Then Steve Jobs decided to use the services of a professional. The choice fell on Rob Janoff.

Jobs imposed the following requirements on the future company logo. It should be:

  • Simple
  • Modern
  • Recognizable

In a week the designer presented the finished project to the client: a multi-colored apple with a bite. In the process of developing the logo, Janoff bought apples in a nearby store, put them on a plate at home, and made multiple sketches trying to get rid of unnecessary details. He decided to design the apple with a bite for a scale so that people got that it was an apple, not another fruit or berry.

Rumors and speculations

Apple’s colored logo gave rise to rumors and speculations that the company supported members of sexual minorities. Generally supporting the LGBT community the firm didn’t intend to demonstrate it with the logo. If homosexuals chose the rainbow as their sign, it had nothing to do with the multi-colored Apple logo. Rob had created the icon long before these events.

Those who like discerning hidden meanings in everything claimed that the rainbow-striped apple is a tribute to an Englishman Alan Turing, famous mathematician and cryptologist.

Alan tried to fight fascism using his knowledge and skills, breaking the codes of secret organizations. When World War II was over Turing became involved in the research of artificial intelligence. But his scientific work didn’t save Alan from a criminal conviction for homosexuality. The scientist had to make a tough choice: two years in prison or hormone therapy. In addition to that Alan was prevented from doing cryptography. In the end, Turing adopted a very reclusive way of life. At the age of 41, he committed suicide by biting a poisoned apple.

The logo has been altered twice over its history of the four decades and it was a significant design change.

Apple Logo Meaning

colored apple computers

The Apple logo designer invites not to look for hidden meanings in the logo color scheme. Rob claims that the logo he developed reflected the sphere of the company’s activities. Apple produced PC with color monitors, that is why the apple was colored. A display of that time could generate six colors. The comparison of the apple logo and rainbow is irrelevant as the rainbow consists of seven colors, not six. Green was the main color for Janoff, he meant it to be in the first place. The arrangement of the other colors was random.

The apple symbol, the Apple company logo has a deep meaning – symbolizes knowledge. This symbol is one of the oldest and most important in Western mythology. In the Bible, Adam and Eve were tempted and took a bite of an apple it was their first taste of knowledge. After that they were ashamed. And as a result this first taste represents the fall of man.

From colored to monochrome

apple logo

The colored apple attracted customers to Apple products for 22 years. The company underwent a series of changes during that time.

Problems began in the 1980s. First, the failure of the Apple III project, then the plane crash in which Wozniak was injured. Having hard times leading the company all by himself Jobs asked John Sculley to join. But there were more and more frictions between the two CEOs. Steve was extremely anxious about the problems with the firm. Although in 1985 Jobs and Wozniak got medals for the contribution to technological progress, Steve decided to leave the company. Which he did in the same 1985. He came back only 13 years later. At that time the company was in a miserable state. Financial problems were so serious that competitors repeatedly advised it to declare bankruptcy.

Only a miracle could save the company. The design of the iMac G3 was a miracle. Johnathan Ive was the author of this design. The computer case he created made personal computers look like lollipops. With this invention, the industrial designer saved the firm from financial ruin. A series of new all-in-one personal computers formed the basis for developing a consumer desktop line. This compact desktop computer had all the necessary specifications for uninterrupted work. The iMac featured a web-camera and the option of wireless networking. In order to use it one needed to connect the keyboard and mouse included in the basic package. The computer came with remote control for operating multimedia files.

The new computer was more and more popular among users. Unusually designed PCs became an integral attribute of characters in movies and TV shows. iMac 3 that combined a beautiful design and technical capacity became worldly known. The amount of attention the new product attracted made the company managers decide to replace the colored logo that looked odd on the colored computer. In 1998 the decision was made to use the monochrome version of the apple instead of the multi-colored one. This change adds originality to the Apple logo.

What does the monochrome apple tell us? The evolution of the Apple logo shows that the company has matured. It went through hard times and managed to move on. Apple continues to develop and make its fans happy by creating new products.

Appreciation for the logo’s success

It is worth mentioning that Apple didn’t really recognize Rob Janoff’s contribution. Thanks to his job Apple products are recognized all over the world. But Jobs forgot the person who created the ‘face’ of his baby. Having a huge annual income he could distinguish the designer in the same way as, for example, Phillip Knight, the founder of Nike, did. The firm thanked its logo designer by making her a shareholder and giving her a diamond ring.

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