Friday, October 19, 2018

Apple Logo History: Why a Bite? 

During my Apple talk about what makes Apple different in terms of design and marketing, I'm frequently asked why there's a bite in the Apple logo. Now, I incorporate the following answer into my talk.


It's been said that the bite in the Apple logo comes from the Bible story of Adam and Eve. In the Garden of Eden, Eve took a bite out of an apple and gained additional knowledge. Therefore, if you bought an Apple computer, you too could have additional knowledge. It's a colorful tale, but it's not true.

Apple II?

It's also been said that the Apple logo has a bite out of it since the first Apple II had an Apple logo with a lower case "a" slightly overlapping the logo, taking a bite out of it. This seems like a more practical story, but it's also not true.

The Real Reason

The real reason that the Apple logo has a bite out of is because the original graphic designer, Rob Janoff, needed to show scale. Without the bite, people could mistaken it for a cherry or tomato. Since no one would take a bite out of either of those two, it wouldn't be confused with any other type of fruit.

After Janoff came up with the Apple logo, it was immediately noticed that the bite was also a play on words with "byte" which reinforced its memorability. 

Are Logos Important?

While I don't attribute a business's success to its logo, it's always better to have a simple, memorable logo. And, even though what a logo looks like isn't critical, how a logo is used for branding and marketing-communications is of paramount importance. Today, at Apple, you'd never see what we saw with the Apple II; today we'd never see the Apple logo next to the word "Apple" because that's redundant (Apple = Apple Apple).

Why a Multi Colored Apple Logo?

The reason there are six different colors in the Apple logo is because, in 1977, when the first three modern personal computers were introduced, only the Apple II had a color display. The TRS-80 Model I had gray/white characters on a black screen and the Commodore PET has the traditional phosphorescent green characters, like an oscilloscope, on a black screen.

Out with "i" – in with 

We will probably see the Apple logo appearing in more product names since Apple can't trademark the letter "i." Apple TV is now branded as TV and iBooks was rebranded, this past June, as Books. This will avoid the branding confusion we saw with the iHome product line. The iHome was one for the first combination iPod docking speakers and alarm clock, all in one. Many consumers mistook the iHome for an Apple made product, especially since it was sold in Apple retail stores. Preventing brand dilution is key. 

PS: On macOS, you can generate the "" character simply by pressing option-shift-K at the same time.

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