Refreshing the Logo, Part 1

Oct 23, 2008

Part 1: Looking back for lessons

After some time and some very constructive feedback. I have decided, to borrow developer terminology, the current logo and colours are legacy. To clarify and avoid the danger is that as soon as something is complete that it becomes legacy, is not what I mean. I am talking about the usefulness of a logo in relationship to current fashions and colours, bluntly the logo has outlived its usefulness as a marketing tool.

In doing some research, I came across these interesting changes in Apple, Inc. logo. The logo has been refreshed as the company and technology have advanced. For those unaware of the history of logos, please see below as published in the wikipedia Apple article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc.#Logos.

Starting with the logo on the far left, the image of the apple hanging in the tree over Newton’s head, this is a great idea, but the complexity of the image didn’t lend itself to an easily identifiable eye-catching symbol. However hope was not lost and their initial idea did not need to be abandoned, Apple took the idea of Newton’s Apple and simplified it into the current shape.

We need to be careful to disregard our current fashion sense at this stage, because Apple progressed the logo by simplifying its shape and then applying colouring in step with technological dreams and fashion. The logo reflected at the time the current mood and selling points. Part of Apple’s marketing drive was the idea of the company’s products bringing colour and interest to your life. Hence the colourful logo was a key component to their strategy. Later, they moved on to the slick silhouette and polished modern design to represent the technological ambitions and qualities that Apple currently carries with its brand; ease of use, beautiful interfaces and unobtrusive interactions.
The changes to the Apple logo represent some good practices:

  1. The design needs to be accessible to the desired end market.
  2. A logo is a tool for assisting the public in identifying the ideas and culture of a company.
  3. It is acceptable for the logo to not convey the attitudes and skills of the company.
  4. A logo should be simple and eye catching.
  5. It should also scale well and look good in colour or grayscale
  6. Colour is only important, as part of the overall brand identity, but not integral.
  7. A logo should have a life of its own, meaning it should stand on its own without any other representation.
  8. And most importantly, a logo is the key means by which a company is identified at a quick glance.

There are many decisions involved in the creation and implementation of a logo, I will continue to look at good logo design in following posts, as well demonstrating how to refresh a logo.

More reading at:
http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/marketing/a/brandingks.htm
Apple, Inc Logos and trademarks belong to Apple, Inc.

Posted by Thomas Cowell

Tags: branding, design, logo