VMware logo history: The design process and inspiration

VMware Logo History

If you’re familiar with the rising landscape of cloud computing, you may recognize the VMware logo. But how much do you know about VMware logo history? In the search for the perfect visual identity, VMware has made a handful of changes to its symbol over the years.

Although the current VMware logo might seem relatively straightforward, it was designed to showcase the company’s professional and authoritative nature. The unique wordmark combines stability and strength, with an accessible, friendly typeface. 

Like many software and technology logos, the VMware symbol has been refined over the years, growing more simplistic and sophisticated. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the evolving VMware brand image, and its impact on consumers. 

The VMware symbol: Introducing the VMware brand

Before we discuss the changes throughout VMware logo history, let’s take a moment to define the VMware brand. First introduced in 1998 by a group of five founders, VMware is an American cloud computing company. It produces cloud and virtualization technologies for various buyers.

When the company first launched, it was incredibly small, operating with only 20 employees by the end of 1998. In its second year of life, VMware started to grow significantly, showcasing its products at industry events around the world. 

The first product introduced by the brand was the VMware Workstation, before the business branched into the server market in 2001 with the GSX and following ESX servers. In 2003, VMware launched a Virtual Center, Virtual SMP solution, and vMotion. 

Today, VMware is one of the best-known cloud computing and virtualization brands in the world. Its software runs on Linux, Windows (Microsoft), and VMware ESXi. 

In 2022, Broadcom, another major technology company, announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire VMware for a transaction valued at $61 billion. 

VMware logo history: The transformation of the symbol

Though VMware has existed in the computing space for a number of years now, the company hasn’t made too many changes to its logo. There have only been three major official changes to the symbol throughout VMware logo history. 

However, notably, the company has introduced a few temporary logo variations, intended for different marketing and promotional purposes. Let’s take a closer look at the official emblems used to represent VMware through the decades. 

VMware Logo History

1998

The original logo introduced for VMware is often forgotten in today’s landscape, in part because it’s so different from the visual identity of the brand today. The initial logo, like following iterations, featured the name of the brand. However, the “VM” and “Ware” elements were separated. 

The letters “VM” appeared in a combined set of red and black triangles, joined together to create a square shape with jutting edges. The icon featured gradients and shadowing, to give it a three dimensional appearance. The “Ware” appears to the left, in black, contrasting font.

The typeface used for this emblem was bold and geometric, with significant spacing between each letter, giving the company a sense of stability and strength. 

VMware Logo History

1999

Only a year after introducing their first logo, VMware changed its image drastically, opting for something more friendly, accessible, and modern. The font was switched from a bold geometric typeface to a simpler, sans-serif font, written all in lowercase. 

The letters “VM” in the design were still distinguished from the rest of the inscription, and made bolder by the design team. However, the two components of the company’s name were connected. 

VMware adopted a new color palette, in a shade of blue grey, intended to represent professionalism and sophistication. Perhaps the most interesting part of this logo was the symbol included on the left of the inscription, featuring three overlapping squares with rounded corners. 

VMware Logo History

2009

After ten years of using the previous logo, VMware simplified its design again, eliminating the overlapping squares, to focus exclusively on the wordmark. The typeface used in the design is similar to the previous iteration, though the word itself is a lot larger. 

Certain elements of the characters have been changed too, such as the shape of the “A”. The “Ware” component is also a lot thinner, and more refined, with distinct lines. 

VMware Logo History

In place of the blue-grey color palette, VMware switched to a more sophisticated, classic grey, demonstrating confidence, and seriousness. Notably, the company also created an icon for its brand, featuring just the letters “VM” in white, on a grey circular background.

What is the meaning of the VMware logo?

On the surface, the current VMware logo looks just like another simple wordmark. This is common in the technology industry, where brands often use simplified and straightforward “flat” logos to symbolize modernity. However, there are some distinctive elements.

For instance, the decision to connect the letters “VM” at the beginning of the wordmark shows the brand’s focus on unity and connectivity, crucial concepts in the cloud computing and virtualization space. These letters are also bolder than the rest of the inscription.

This draws attention to VMware’s primary focus on creating “virtual machines”, rather than standard operating systems and hardware. The grey color palette is significant too. 

Although many technology companies tend to use shades of blue in their emblems, VMware chose grey to symbolize its serious and professional personality. This helps to distinguish the brand from competitors in the cloud computing space. 

The VMware logo: Fonts and colors

The VMware logo today is a simple and effective wordmark, created to elevate the brand and earn the trust of a target audience comprising mainly of business consumers. The inscription is powerful and robust, while still maintaining a friendly edge, thanks to the use of lowercase characters.

VMware’s logo helps to align the brand with the wider technology industry, as its similar in many ways to the designs created by other software and computing brands. However, at the same time, the color palette and unique use of typography gives the brand its own distinct edge. 

You can see examples of the VMware logo in the resources below:

What color is the VMware logo?

VMware, like many companies, experimented with a variety of different shades through the decades. The initial logo introduced by the brand included shades of white, red, and black, symbolizing passion, excellence, and power. 

Eventually, the VMware logo colors moved into the grey spectrum, starting with a blue-grey logo in the early years, followed by a more sophisticated silver-grey. The official VMWare logo colors today are “dim grey” and black. In some cases, these shades are inverted.

You may encounter the VMWare inscription in white on a grey background or vice versa. There’s also a black and white version of the design available. 

What font does the VMware logo use?

The most significant change to the VMware logo font took place between 1998 and 1999, when the company switched from an uppercase geometric typeface to a lowercase sans-serif font. The characters have been altered slightly since then, with the letters in “Ware” growing thinner. 

The font is similar in some ways to certain well-known typefaces such as Calibri and Bahnscrift. However, there are some modifications worth mentioning. For instance, the “VM” section is bolder, and the two letters are connected by a curved line. 

The impactful VMware logo 

At a glance, the VMware logo might not seem particularly unique. However, throughout VMware logo history, we can see the brand has consistently refined and polished its image, with a focus on creating a highly sophisticated brand mark

The VMware official logo today is a simple, but engaging wordmark, with a handful of unique elements. The bold “VM” section, and the linked letters demonstrate the company’s commitment to the cloud connectivity space. 

Though straightforward, the VMware logo provides a useful insight into the values and visions of the computing company, and its strength in its industry. 

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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