Apple logo explained

The apple logo is one of the big mysteries to many designers and non-designers as well. This is one of the most famous logos in the world. I conclude that you probably wonder why an apple and why with a bite out of it? First of all let’s start by reminding ourself about the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Furthermore we will consider other probable theories. And finally your eyes will open and see the truth of the matter and the meaning behind Apple logo.

Adam, Eve and an apple

Most of us know the biblical story. Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan to taste the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. Eve gives into satan’s temptation and takes a bite out of it. They both had a taste of knowledge and they eyes were open. They realized they were naked and they were ashamed.

The apple logo story

Are there any other stories with an apple? I think that there are at least two other theories out there to consider as well. An apple is:

  • a symbol of lust and knowledge as in the biblical story of Adam and Eve;
  • a reference to the falling fruit that led Sir Isaac Newton to the concept of gravity;
  • a tribute to Alan Turing, the man who laid the foundations for the modern computer, committed suicide by biting an apple laced with cyanide.

These two additional stories might seem probable as well. But, Rob Janoff – the Apple’s logo designer, ultimately dismissed them all. But the really funny thing was the only direction he got from Steve Jobs is to not make it cute. So there was no specific brief. He also said that he didn’t intend any explicit meaning when designing the Apple logo back in 1977. He admitted consequently:

The bite was simply introduced so it couldn’t be confused with a cherry.

Apple logo explained

So the reason for the bite is crystal clear: it’s there for scale. It was also sort of an iconic treatment, that would ensure the logo burns into people’s mind and becomes memorable. The logo is timeless. Otherwise, how would you explain the fact that the logo hasn’t been changed for over 30 years? It’s beautiful in its simplicity. Hence, I don’t think there is a reason for change in a foreseeable future.

I have another anecdote for you. It may surprise you or not. But this is Rob Janoff’s response to how he designed the Apple logo:

Of course at the time computers couldn’t really do that for me. So I designed the logo by using pencil and paper, glue and cut paper, pens and all that stuff.

Interview with Rob Janoff, designer of the Apple logo.