Monday 5 September 2011

The Apple Logo

The Apple logo. Is there a more recognised logo worldwide? It must be up there in the top few. This logo is a real success story; it's been around for 34 years and, save colour/texture changes, has remained the same. Not many logos can say that.

Today I read an interview with Rob Janoff, the graphic designer behind the Apple logo. It's a pretty interesting insight into the mind of a designer who kicked things off for a brand that has ultimately been so successful, people get the logo tattooed on themselves. How many companies can say their brand is so strong, their customers want it permanently on their bodies? Not many.

I won't share the whole thing, just my favourite part. Before I read this, I presumed that Apple would have hired the cream of the crop and that the design process would have been a laboured, intensive process. If I was a graphic designer, I'd probably want to know this guy's secret. It's pretty eye-opening, and really refreshing to see that even Apple were a start-up too once - only giving a brief of "don't make it too cute".

"Well, I'm probably the least religious person, so Adam and Eve didn't have anything to do with it. The bite of knowledge sounds fabulous, but that's not it. And, there is a whole lot of other lure about it. Turing the famous supposed father of computer science who committed suicide in the early 50's was british and was accused of being homosexual, which he was. He was facing a jail sentence so he committed suicide to avoid all that. So, I heard one of the legends being that the colored logo was an homage to him. People think I did the colored stripes because of the gay flag. And, that was something really thought for a long time. The other really cool part was that apparently he killed himself with a cyanide laced apple. And, then I found out Alan Turing's favorite childhood story was Snow White where she falls asleep forever for eating a poisoned apple to be woken up by the handsome prince. Anyway, when I explain the real reason why I did the bite it's kind of a let down. But I'll tell you. I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple not a cherry. Also it was kind of iconic about taking a bite out of an apple. Something that everyone can experience. It goes across cultures. If anybody ever had an apple he probably bitten into it and that's what you get. It was after I designed it, that my creative director told me: "Well you know, there is a computer term called byte". And I was like: "You're kidding!" 

Part of me kind of wishes Steve Jobs had designed it, though. I still feel such a sense of "ownership" to my company... I contemplated hiring a graphic designer, but at the moment my company is ME and I wanted to retain, or at least be a part of, what defines it visually.