Apple Logo History

The original Apple logo featuring Isaac Newton under the fabled apple tree.

 The rainbow Apple logo, used from late 1976 to early 1999.

The rainbow Apple logo, used from late 1976 to early 1999.

As the company prepared for the display at the First West Coast Faire, it was decided to create a new corporate logo. The original one, used in sales of the Apple-1, was a picture of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree, with a phrase from Wordsworth: "Newton...'A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought...Alone.'" Jobs had been concerned that the logo had part of the slow sales of the Apple-1, and the Regis McKenna Agency was hired to help in the design of a new one.

Rob Janov [sic][14], a young art director, was assigned to the Apple account and set about designing a corporate logo. Armed with the idea that the computers would be sold to consumers and that their machine was one of the few to offer color, Janov set about drawing still lifes from a bowl of apples ... He gouged a rounded chunk from one side of the Apple, seeing this as a playful comment on the world of bits and bytes but also as a novel design. To Janov the missing portion "prevented the apple from looking like a cherry tomato." He ran six colorful stripes across the Apple, starting with a jaunty sprig of green, and the mixture had a slightly psychedelic tint. The overall result was enticing and warm ...

[Steve] Jobs was meticulous about the style and appearance of the logo ... When Janov suggested that the six colors be separated by thin strips to make the reproduction easier, Jobs refused.

For the Faire, Markkula had ordered a smoky, backlit, illuminated plexiglas sign with the new logo. Although Apple had a smaller booth than other companies displaying their products at the Faire, and some of the other microcomputer makers (Processor Technology, IMSAI, and Cromemco) had been in business longer, Apple's booth looked far more professional, thanks to Markkula's sign. Some of the other participants, companies larger than Apple, had done no more than use card tables with signs written in black markers.

Because they had been one of the first to commit themselves to displaying at the Faire, Apple's booth was near the entrance and was visible to everybody entering the convention center. They demonstrated a kaleidoscopic video graphics program (possibly an early version of "BRIAN'S THEME") on a huge Advent display monitor, catching everybody's attention. But, after the Faire its organizer Jim Warren (Homebrew club member and editor of Dr. Dobb's Journal) didn't think that Apple was a strong exhibitor. Byte magazine, in their report of the show, failed to even mention Apple. Despite these early opinions by influential people, over the next few months Apple received about three hundred orders for the Apple II, over a hundred more than the total number of Apple-1's sold.

Ron Wayne’s original Apple logo featured an apple and Isaac Newton; it was truly a thing of beauty. For all of its beauty, however, the logo was complex and Steve Jobs rightly worried that the logo was too complicated to be reproducible in a myriad sizes. To rectify the situation, Steve turned to Regis McKenna Advertising.

The duty of designing the actual logo fell to Rob Janoff. After trying several different designs, without the aid of a Mac it must be noted, Mr. Janoff settled on the familiar rainbow colored logo with the missing bite. The “byte"/"bite" pun was not lost on Mr. Janoff but he maintains the bite was there so the logo would be identifiable as an Apple and not some less interesting apple-shaped fruit.

All good things must end and the multihued, much loved Apple logo, which was called “the most expensive bloody logo ever designed” by Apple President Mike Scott, began to be phased out this week in 1998 in favor of the spare white logo used on currently shipped product.

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