The HP logo history and evolution
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The HP logo history and evolution

HP Logo

You’re probably familiar with the HP logo already. One of the most popular technology companies in the world, Hewlett Packard has a powerful image across the globe. 

Although there have been a few changes to the HP logos over the years, the heart of the image has stayed largely the same since 1939. 

HP uses a monogram as its logo, making it extremely easy to remember. The decision to reduce the name from Hewlett Packard to simply “HP” for graphical purposes helps with memorability. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at how the Hewlett Packard Inc logo has evolved over the years.

Let’s get started. 

What does HP stand for? HP logo meaning

Let’s start with the perhaps the easiest question to answer about the HP logo history. What does HP stand for? 

HP is a monogram used to refer to the originally name of the Company, Hewlett Packard. 

The HP monogram has been a part of the Company’s brand identity since the organization first emerged in 1939. However, since then, the emblem has been simplified and updated for a modern age. 

The name Hewlett Packard, or Hewlett-Packard (as it’s often written) came from the names of the founders for the brand. 

In 1939, David Packard and Bill Hewlett created a line of measurement and electronic testing equipment, within California. The Company achieved its first huge contract in 1938, when it was asked to create instruments for the Walt Disney film, Fantasia

In the initial days, the HP logo was often surrounded by the words “Hewlett” and “Packard”, perhaps to help with building brand recognition. 

When did HP change its logo? The old HP logo

The old Hewlett Packard logo used during the 1930s and 40s is remarkably similar to the one most people are familiar with today. The emblem still showed the HP symbol within a circle, just like the new icon today. 

The biggest difference between the old HP logo and the modern version is the coloring. The previous logo was just black and white.

HP Logo

The original black and white HP emblem depicted a set of lowercase letters (italicized) on a sold black circle, with the tales of the letters seeming to elongate from the circle itself. The names “Hewlett” and “Packard” appeared on each side of the Hewlett Packard symbol. 

HP Logo

The HP icon in 1954 – 1974

In 1954, HP changed its logo for the first time. The Hewlett Packard symbol maintained a similar design, but instead of a solid black circle, the company used a simple ring which seemed to cut through the italicized lowercase letters of the “HP”. 

The tails of the letters now seemed more connected as they extended out of the ring. 

The 1954 redesign of the Hewlett Packard icon helped the image to appear a lot cleaner. This image stayed with the business until 1974. 

HP Logo

The HP icon in 1974-81

In 1974, HP changed its emblem again, this time removing the extended letters reaching beyond the circle. The circular badge was placed inside of a vertical rectangle in black and blue, with blue lines at the top of the rectangle, and solid black at the bottom. 

The name Hewlett Packard appeared again on this logo, in an all-caps Serif typeface. 

The modern HP logos: HP logo history

The first example of the modern HP logo appeared in 1979 and stayed with the Company all the way to 2008. This image is remarkably similar in style to the logo we have now. The color changed to a deep blue, white and black. 

The HP lettering was set on a white circle and surrounded by a blue rectangle with curved corners. The Hewlett Packard inscription changed to a sans-serif font

HP Logo

In 1999, Hewlett Packard removed its name from the logo, and simply focused on the HP emblem instead. The iconic HP lettering remained on the white background, with the softened blue rectangle behind the circle. 

HP Logo

In 2008, the HP team made another change to their logo. The blue and white coloring became the most important component of the HP logo, alongside the iconic monogram. The white circular background changed to blue in 2008, and the font became white for contrast. 

The elongated tails of the letters were once again hidden, and the rectangle disappeared. 

In 2009, the Company changed the logo only slightly, adding a tiny amount of extra space between the letters. However, the alteration is so subtle here, most people wouldn’t have noticed it. 

HP Logo

In 2012, HP updated its logo a final time, changing the coloring of the blue only slightly, to make it fresher, friendlier, and brighter. The deep blue is now a lighter, sky blue, which seems more welcoming in the transformative age of technology. 

HP logo fonts and other elements

HP offers a handy guide to its logo and other branding elements online, for anyone who might need to use it. Fortunately, this symbol is quite a simple one, and it’s very easy to replicate with a little guidance. With just the emblem of the Company written on a blue circle, it’s hard to go wrong. 

The features of the Hewlett Packard icon include:

Hewlett Packard symbol

HP’s icon is just the letters of each of the founder’s surnames, H and P, written in italic in a sans-serif font, on a light blue circular background. The extensions from the letters seem to disappear outside of the circle. 

HP logo colors

The HP logo color has changed a little over the years, starting with black and white, and eventually moving into a deep blue. The most recent change to the logo included changing the blue to a softer shade, somewhere around Pantone PMS 2925 C. The color for the font is white. 

HP logo font

The HP logo font is similar to the Laural Hardy Narrow Italic type – although the likeness isn’t exact. This is a unique logo created specifically for the business, so you won’t find it replicated often online. 

You can find recreations of the HP logo on the Seeklogo website, which also includes some references to the older HP emblems too. Alternatively, the HP website has guidance on how you should use all versions of the logo, including the black and white alternative. 

Celebrating the HP logo

The HP logo, like many iconic emblems throughout the years, has captured the minds of a whole generation of IT consumers. Though this icon might seem simple, it’s actually carefully structured to have a direct emotional impact on the viewer. 

The italic letters don’t just remind you of the name of the Company, they also demonstrate the fast-moving speed of the brand and it’s commitment to innovation. The letters slanting forwards help to showcase the motion of the company. 

HP’s decision to have the letters extending outside of the circular background is also a deliberate choice. 

By extending the letters beyond the circular background, HP shows its willing to color outside of the lines and think outside of the box. This is an important identifier in the tech world. 

It might be simple, but HP’s logo is unforgettable too. 

For more guidance into some of the best logos, visit our blog page. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

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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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