Many tech companies these days redesign their logos. IBM logo is 43 years old and in this context it’s an ancient scripture among them. But this iconic 8-bar logo is an example of awakening to the power of design in 1950. IBM well known logotype can be seen all around the World, but do you know that the abbreviation really stands for? And why the logo consist of 8 bars?

IBM logo designed in Brooklyn

Current IBM logo was designed in 1972 by an iconic American graphic designer Paul Rand. He understood that a distinguishing mark was essential to a company’s success. Distinctive company logotype is the principal mean of distinguishing one product from that of another he observed. IBM logo is eminent all over the world because of it’s simplicity. The name is rather generic though: International Business Machines.

The word-mark is set in a capital bold typeface and it demonstrate authority in a fashionable way. Blue color was selected, as you may conslude, because it projects strength and dominance of the company. Blue is rather widely used for corporate logos because it is a very “professional” color.

Why 8 horizontal bars?

As there are reasons behind the color selection and the font used, there is also a reason behind the shape and the bars. It’s not just a “differentiator” as you may conclude.

ibm logo

Paul Rand was experimenting with variations of the logo for over a decade. He once said:

I felt there was a problem with the sequence, going from narrow to wide without any pause, without any rhythmic possibility.

Finally in 1972 Rand introduced stripes to establish a better sense of unity in the monogram and suggest a sense of movement. If you look at the logo closely you can also notice that two lower right parallel lines form a sign of “Equality”. Eight horizontal stripes suggest speed and dynamism. The stripes in IBM logo also enhance the beauty and give a distinctive quality to the logo.

And the rest was history as they say. The IBM logo has remained unchanged since then.

Find more about the logo and it’s history on official IBM website.