Keeping up-to-date: technology logo evolution

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 25 years, you can’t have failed to witness the massive strides that the technology industry has taken in that time. With the technology itself evolving at a rapid rate, businesses within the industry must evolve too. Nowhere can this be better seen than in their logos.



(Instant Shift


In 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen created BASIC, the first computer language for a PC. Initially named Micro-Soft, the hyphen was soon dropped and the emphasis placed on the O, nicknamed the “Blibbet”. The Blibbet was retired in 1987 in favour of the” Pacman” O, named as such because of the mouth-like slash cut into the side.


With Microsoft becoming a household name around the world since the late Eighties, the logo became an instantly recognisable symbol of the brand, hence the lack of significant change over the last 25 years. The only noteworthy modification has been the addition of a tagline in 1994. This has changed numerous times over the years culminating in the current one, which was introduced in 2008.



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The phenomenally successful Apple was established in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. The first logo was an illustration of Isaac Newton under the apple tree where he thought out the theory of gravity. It was quickly decided that this was far too complicated, and designer Rob Janoff was brought in.


He created the rainbow apple design that the company used for over twenty years. Apparently he added the bite mark so that it wouldn’t be mistaken for a tomato. The rainbow represented the unique selling point of Apple’s colored graphics. Apple switched to a monochrome version of the apple in 1998, before changing to the current design with a silver gradient finish. This logo is all about the shape. Whatever color you put it in, it is still instantly recognisable.



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IBM started in 1888 as ITR, The International Time Recording Company, making and selling mechanical time recorders. ITR merged with CTR, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, in 1911 and both sets of initials were incorporated in the logo.


In 1924 the name was change to IBM, the International Business Machines Corporation, and the logo changed accordingly. Modernism had recently taken over the art world and the new logo reflected this, leaving behind the rococo swirls for a simpler font. The spherical shape banded by the word “International” shows the company’s global interests.


In 1947 IBM moved from punch-card machines to computers, and again the logo was changed to suit. The globe was dropped and the name was reduced to its initials. The font was subtly changed in 1956 to create a more solid look, but has remained the same ever since. The stripes were added in 1972 to create the impression of ‘speed and dynamism’.





Microsoft Windows is a graphical operating system for PCs first introduced in 1985. The initial logo included a blue “window” icon and the product name in a simple serif font. The multi-coloured wavy version was introduced in 1993. The undulating shape with the railing pixels gives the logo a sense of motion, with the window becoming a flag.


The flag motif remained in use until 2001 when, with the release of XP, a major redesign was introduced. The black frame and trailing pixels were excised, while the coloured panes were given a more three-dimensional look. This design was altered only slightly for Vista and 7, released in 2007 and 2009 respectively, with the font changing to Calibri.


With the heralding of Windows 8, set for release later in 2012, the logo has gone back to the beginning, echoing the Eighties design yet also bringing it up to date. Could this be a risky move when the multi-coloured flag has been so etched in consumer’s minds? Only time will tell.



(Robot Geek


Starting as a playing card company in 1889, Nintendo started branching into other areas of business in 1963. They entered the video game industry in 1974 and their first games console, the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) was launched in the mid-Eighties.


Over the years the Nintendo name has become a smaller and smaller part of the company’s product logos, and was finally abandoned with the release of the Wii in 2011. The vibrant colours of the earlier logos, which emphasised the coloured graphics of the consoles, have also been discarded.


Internet Explorer

(True Kolor


The graphical web browser Internet Explorer was introduced in 1995 with the logos for versions one and two utilising the Windows flag icon. It was version three that introduced the “e” icon that has remained to this day. The e is meant to represent a globe, while the orbiting circle is meant to represent speed and exploration. Helvetica font was chosen for its solidity and balance, and the blue colour for reliability.


With 2006’s IE7 the name was changed from Microsoft Windows Explorer to Windows Internet Explorer, and the orbiter was made yellow. The current logo has retained much of the previous design, however the “e” is now rendered in a custom font, the blue is lighter, and the orbiter has been made to give an even greater impression of speed.


So what does this mean for your business?

As you can see, the top companies from the technology industry are constantly re-inventing their logo as fast as they re-invent their products. And you can see why this is important, if you walked into a shop to buy a new laptop and you saw the 1980’s Microsoft logo on it you’d immediately think that the product was out-dated. Whatever industry you are in there is a lesson here for all business; keep your logo up to date just as you would do with your products and services.

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