The Apple logo history, meaning and evolution

Apple Logo History

Whether you’re a technology enthusiast or not, you’re probably familiar with the Apple logo. This simple, minimalistic emblem is now one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. However, if we look back through Apple logo history, we can see the streamlined design wasn’t always as modern as it appears today.

The Apple symbol might seem straightforward at a glance, but it’s one of the more evocative, interesting emblems in the technology world. After all, the apple isn’t just a type of fruit, it’s a symbol of knowledge, nutrition, and growth. 

If you’ve ever wondered where Apple’s incredible logo began, or how it evolved over the years, you’re in the right place. Here’s your complete guide to the transformation of the Apple brand. 

What is the story behind the Apple logo?

Before we dive into Apple logo history, it’s worth taking a look at the company, and where the unforgettable emblem began. Apple, as most people know, is the world’s largest technology company by revenue.

It was founded in 1976, by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak, and originally focused on selling computers, before moving into different forms of technology. 

Today, Apple is one of the most innovative companies worldwide, responsible for changing the way we think about everything from telecommunications to music sharing.

The company isn’t just one of the most valuable brands in the world, it’s also the company with perhaps the best level of brand loyalty and equity in the technology industry. 

So, what is the story behind the Apple logo?

The very first logo created by the company was designed by one of the co-founders, Ronald Wayne, who wanted to draw attention to the law of gravity, and Isaac Newton.

The original, somewhat complex logo didn’t last for long. Steve Jobs decided he wanted to create a more simplistic Apple Symbol, after being inspired by Apples at a fruit farm. 

Rob Janoff, the graphic designer working with the team at the time, suggested the image of an apple with a “bite” taken out of it, to ensure it wasn’t confused with other fruits.  

Apple logo history: The Apple logo evolution 

Despite several decades in the technology space, Apple has only made a handful of changes to its logo design. The first Apple emblem, introduced during the 1970s, is a world away from the world-famous Apple symbol most of us know today.

However, after the company moved away from its complex, detailed logo, the overall image of the brand remained quite consistent. 

Let’s take a closer look at Apple logo history. 

Apple Logo History

1976

One of the most old-fashioned logos ever used by a technology company, the original Apple logo was brimming with detail. It depicted Isaac Newton, the man famous for discovering gravity, sitting beneath an apple tree.

Ronald Wayne created this logo, believing it was important to draw attention to the inspirational individual associated with the company’s name. 

Around the picture of Isaac Newton, we see a traditional border, with a smooth ribbon, where the “Apple Computer Co” inscription appeared in a bold serif typeface. Soon after this logo was introduced, Steve Jobs decided it simply wasn’t modern enough for the innovative brand.

Apple Logo History

1977

After deciding to leverage the assistance of a professional graphic designer (Rob Janov), Apple switched its icon to something more simplistic, and memorable.

The Apple with a bite taken out of it was inspired in part by Steve Jobs’ fruitarian diet, and in part by the evocative nature of the Apple itself. Apples are often considered the “symbol of life” in many cultures. 

The bitten apple logo introduced in 1977 was clean and sophisticated, with a horizontal rainbow pattern, intended to showcase inclusion and creativity. The company retained the multi-colored palette for several years, before refining the image again in the 90s. 

Apple Logo History

1998

In 1998, the monochrome version of the Apple was introduced, alongside a variety of other styles, such as a logo intended to look a little like glass. The black bitten apple was used by the company for a number of years, but only became the true “official” logo for the brand after the iMac was released. 

Today, the relatively straightforward logo is a symbol of sophistication, professionalism, and innovation. It’s seen by many not just as the symbol of Apple, but as an icon referencing excellence and quality. 

Apple logo meaning: Why is the Apple logo half bitten?

The deep meaning behind the Apple logo is one of the reasons why it’s such a compelling symbol for the technology brand. As mentioned above, the Apple emblem was inspired by a number of factors, including Isaac Newton and his discovery of gravity, and the name of the company. 

The decision to add a “bite” element to the Apple symbol was originally suggested to distinguish the fruit from other forms of produce. However, it evokes other concepts too. For instance, many consumers are reminded of the story of Adam and Eve when looking at this logo. 

Famously, Eve took a bit from the “Apple of Knowledge”. This ties the Apple icon with the concept of the search for knowledge and truth. The “bite” has also been associated with a symbolic pun for the word “byte”, a name used for a unit of digital data. 

Today, the Apple logo symbolizes our quest for knowledge, the concept of innovation, as well as conveying ideas of growth and nourishment from the natural world. It was designed with great care and attention to detail. Rob Jan even cut a number of apples in half, just to get the shape right.

The Apple symbol: Fonts and colors

Looking back through Apple logo history, we can see how creative the founders of the company truly were. The Apple logo was inspired by a host of different factors, all connected to the key values of the brand, from the quest for knowledge, to the desire to help the technology world grow and flourish. 

Today, the Apple symbol appears on every product created by the company, as well as on every storefront throughout the world. It has appeared in a number of different colors and forms, all intended for different purposes.

However, the core shape and the meaning of the image has remained consistent for decades. 

You can find some great resources showcasing the Apple logo here:

What color is the Apple logo?

The Apple logo colors have changed a few times throughout the decades. Initially, the first emblem was depicted in greyscale, with a lot of different shades used to convey detail. When the first “Apple bite” logo was introduced, it appeared in a rainbow format, with horizontal lines in a range of colors. 

After the rainbow logo was shut down in 1998, Steve Jobs decided to switch to a more simplistic, monochromatic image.

The many-colored logo simply didn’t work well on Apple computers and devices, meaning the company needed to switch to a different palette. Interestingly, the Apple logo color palette has included a few different variations over time. 

An aqua-themed version of the logo appeared a few years in 1999, and there was even a design intended to look like a piece of glass. You can also see the logo in various metallic shades and colors on different devices. However, the official emblem has been black and white since 1988. 

What font does the Apple logo use?

Unlike many technology brands and other companies from across the globe, Apple has rarely used any kind of typography in its logo. The only emblem to include font was the very first, traditional design, which only stayed with the brand for a few months. 

Today, the Apple logo features no inscription at all. The biggest reason for this is that the name “Apple” really isn’t necessary in the logo design. The image is so iconic and recognizable around the world, that it makes a wordmark obsolete. 

Why did Apple change its first logo?

While Apple logo history started with a relatively complex logo, the company quickly changed direction, after only a few months. The first logo was evocative, but it was considered too complex and old-fashioned for a forward-thinking technology brand

When Steve Jobs took over the logo design process, he decided to work with an artist in the graphic world to create something more simplistic and refined. The Apple logo as it stands today is a variation of this new icon, intended to work easily across a range of platforms.

The Apple symbol as we know it today is one of the most recognizable, and evocative icons in the technology world. It’s perhaps one of the best examples of phenomenal logo design out there. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stephen Peate
Creative director
Stephen Peate
Creative director
As Fabrik’s creative director, Stephen oversees complex branding programmes. He advises our clients on their tone of voice, creates logos and visual identities and crafts names for companies, products and services. Writing for Brand Fabrik Stephen reflects his love for logo design and visual identity.

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