Apple logo, an icon ruined by a trendy cookie-cutter design effect.

Published on Sunday, December 13th, 2009 (1) Comment

Even the biggest brands are not immune to always changing trends.
apple logo
The capability of printing complex designs on different surfaces and displaying them with more accuracy in various applications including computer screens is slowly changing the classic laws of logo design. A growing number of world’s leading brands are starting to apply trendy design effects into their well-established icons.

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

Among many other factors ‘Apple’ owes its superior brand recognition to Rob Janoff ‘s brilliant logo mark, designed over 30 years ago and better known as the “rainbow apple”. The original logo was created as a flat, one-dimensional and multicolored icon with a bite taken out of it. It was designed to commemorate the discoveries of gravity (the falling apple) and the separation of light (the colors) done by Isaac Newton and possibly to tribute the ‘fruit of the Tree of Knowledge’ (the bite) in Adam and Eve’s story. Some believe that the ‘rainbow colored’ Apple logo was used to advertise the color capability of the Apple II computer or others like Sadie Plant, consider the Apple logo as homage to Alan Turning, the father of modern computing, who committed suicide using a cyanide-laced apple. No matter which is true, the underlying concept and its graphical execution resulted in a brilliant and unmistakably original icon.

When ‘Apple’ decided to refresh its brand mark, a trendy 3D effect was applied to the icon creating an illusion of depth, fluidity and transparency. Whether or not this modification brought an improvement to Apple’s icon is highly speculative. In my opinion the new 3D Apple logo looks a lot more like an icon from an on-line clip art collection. What’s even worse is that this transformation process will certainly not stop here and the Apple’s icon will keep transforming ever so slightly, affected by continually changing fashion trends.

The danger associated with adding trendy effects to a well designed icon is that these trends come and go fairly fast. A trendy looking logo by today’s standards can leave an identity looking dated before it is rolled out. Moreover, the idea of a trendy brand mark contradicts the very notion of longevity and originality, and that is what t the “rainbow apple” brand was known for.

One response to “Apple logo, an icon ruined by a trendy cookie-cutter design effect.”

  1. Marek says:

    I agree that, many companies fight to improve their logo, which is unquestionably a very very difficult thing to do effectively. When it comes to the Apple logo, I believe that it has been around for so long, and is so globally recognizable, that a change nowadays was a good idea for the company, Wether or not, the silver looking 3D Apple ball logo is the right choice is irrelevent. As many people will say it was a positive change, as many will say its ruining Apple’s traditional legacy. In my opinion, because Apple is successfull enough to balance their risks when it comes to logo change, even when trends change, and this new “cool” apple will be out-dated and out of style, they can always go back to their classic rainbow apple design, and no one will penalize them for it. On the contrary, it may bring even more positive response, but for the moment, I do not believe the “new” metallic apple is causing them any bigger trouble.

    Keep the interesting articles coming, good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *