The Man Who Invented The Apple Logo
Updated: May 13, 2019
When Rob Janoff was asked to design the logo for a little tech startup in California, he never could have imagined the impact this one assignment would have on the world. The year was 1977 and the startup was then known as Apple Computer Company.
He said that it was one of the easiest jobs of his career. Co-founder Steve Jobs gave him the simple instruction to not make the logo look "cute" and originally just wanted a stylized version of the company name.
He presented his first idea -- a bright rainbow apple with a bite taken out of the side -- and Steve immediately liked it. "It's the only time in my entire career where I presented only one solution," Rob told Forbes Magazine in an interview. Neither he nor Steve knew Apple would become the billion-dollar tech powerhouse that we know today, nor that Rob's humble design would surpass being a logo and transform into an icon.
He got his start in the early '70s in Silicon Valley as a designer at agencies working with those in the burgeoning hi-tech industry. That led him to his position at agency Regis McKenna and Apple was one of his first clients, thanks to his previous work with tech clients. Since then, Rob has become one of the most prominent logo and graphic design experts in the world. He has worked on branding campaigns for major accounts such as IBM, Intel, Kraft Foods, and more. He currently runs his own design agency with business partner Joel Bohm and last year, released a book, titled Taking a Bite out of the Apple: A graphic designer's tale.
His style is simple, elegant and memorable. For those creating logos, he advises that iconic, easily-understandable designs are best. He added that any good logo must have a dose of fun if possible. "Any time you can add personality to a brand it becomes more likable and memorable."
Though he's based in Chicago, Rob jet sets around the world, providing his expertise to clients in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, China, and the U.S. From time to time he and Joel take on new projects where they feel the opportunity is right to create a world-class outcome.
"I work on branding projects around the world," he says. "When I travel, it's with Executive Flights. [Executive Flights Founder] Yosef and the team treat me like I'm a king. I could not ask for more."
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