Meet Rob Janoff, the designer of the iconoclastic Apple logo. Created as a pro bono project while working at PR firm Regis McKenna back in 1997, the Apple logo has become a fave of designers world wide…

So You Think You Know LogosWe often use the Apple corporate identity as an example of a great logo and corresponding brand. Truth to tell, the Apple logo has always been one of my faves (tho’ as a dedicated Mac head I may be biased) and I’m not alone. The logo is almost always at the top of “best logo” lists and used regularly as an example of how a mark is supposed to work. It’s among the most heavily protected brands in the world (and correspondingly the most valuable) and it’s safe to say it’s one of the most famous of all time. Anyhoo, while jetting around the web a few days ago, I found the following great (if a tad dated) story on the Sync (America’s Gadget Guide) web site. As part of the mag’s I Invented… series, they take a look at Rob Janoff, the dude who came up with the Apple logo while working at Palo Alto based public relations agency Regis McKenna back in 1977.

The famous apple that almost wasn’t..

According to Janoff, the Apple icon was not looked upon too kindly in those days:

“There were many people who said Apple would go bankrupt if they went ahead with the logo.”

His inspiration? Why, apples of course – straight from the grocery store;

“For inspiration, the first thing I did was go to the supermarket, buy a bag of apples and slice them up. I just stared at the wedges for hours.”

rob-janoff-apple-logo-designerApparently, Janoff originally designed the mark as a simple monochromatic apple (his boss figured the one-color logo would save on printing costs), but Apple co-founder Steve Jobs disagreed. Sez Janoff:

“Jobs was resolute, arguing that color was the key to humanizing the company, so I just put colors where I thought they should be, not even thinking about a prism.”

What riches were piled on the young designer for designing one of the world’s most popular and favorite icons?

Nada. Zilch. Zippo.

According to Sync, the project was handled as pro-bono.