14. Apple (1977)

Rob Janoff/Apple

1977 logo by Rob Janoff/Regis McKenna

The Apple logo came top of our online reader poll but, we wondered, how much was that to do with the logo and how much with our readers’ affection for all things Apple? Apple’s original logo was very different – Ronald Wayne’s hippyish 1976 drawing depicts Isaac Newton sitting under his famous apple tree.

1977 software cassette (pic: Ethan Hein)

A year later, Apple engaged ad agency Regis McKenna to give it a more businesslike image. There, art director Rob Janoff came up with the rainbow-striped logo that ran from 1977 until 1998. “I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple, not a cherry,” Janoff has said. “The only direction we got from Steve Jobs was ‘don’t make it cute’.” The stripes were a reminder that the Apple II had a colour monitor. After 1998, Apple took its design in-house. The stripes were dropped after the decision to make the logos larger on products, requiring a less obtrusive colour-way.

1977 apple logo by Rob Janoff/Regis McKenna
1977 logo by Rob Janoff/Regis McKenna
Ronald Wayne’s original 1976 logo
the original apple logo

More articles on Creative Review’s Top 20 logos

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  • nathanhornby 15/04/2011 at 12:23 pm

    I hate not having an edit button; means my quick commenting makes me come across like an illiterate buffoon :p

  • nathanhornby 15/04/2011 at 12:22 pm

    I don’t like to be too provocative; but isn’t this kind of a given?

    The success of branding has nothing to do with a logo in isolation (it then just becomes a piece of iconography, not a logo). Logos that people consider ‘great’, are going to generally involve other factors, such as brand affinity, logo context, marketing, customer service etc.

    That’s kind of the point of a ‘brand’. A logo, on its own, is nothing but a basic drawing.