Back in time to 1986. It was the year that Steve Jobs met Paul Rand, the genius responsible for the branding of IBM, UPS, and Westinghouse. Jobs, who had just been fired from Apple at the time, asked Rand to design a logo for his new company, Next Inc. Rand took the job. That's it, and over the next few months and years, Jobs will learn a lot from Rand, a man who lived through a completely different era of startups. These lessons include not only how to build brand power for a startup, but also what a logo can bring to a business. Jobs spoke about this experience in a 1993 interview.
In 1981, Rand designed a variant of IBM's iconic eight-striped logo, which Jobs thought was impactful, intuitive, sensual, and beautiful.
Jobs recalled that he didn't know much about Rand himself, but was impressed with his work, especially his "highly impactful and emotionally charged" Eye-Bee-M logo. Because of this, Jobs said, when thinking about branding the new company, he didn't consider any other designers and just wanted Rand to be in charge.
But he also knew that the legendary modernist designer had no precedent for working for a start-up, and that Rand had always worked for a big-name company like IBM or Ford. Jobs knew it wasn't about money, and Rand's $100,000 salary was easily affordable for him at the time, which is about $250,000 now. The problem lies in Rand's first design principle, Rand believes: "A logo derives its meaning from the qualities of the object it symbolizes, not the symbolic object that derives its meaning from the logo." In other words, Rand believes that no matter how good a logo is, Also just because the company it represents is good. The company logo is actually like the name of the band, and if the Rolling Stones were bad, we would all laugh at the Rolling Stones for being a stupid name, but because the Rolling Stones are so good, its name and its iconic tongue symbol make it so. People feel great.
Even so, Rand accepted Jobs' invitation, perhaps because of the "reality distortion field" that Jobs presented—the ability to convince you to accept his ideas and to believe in what he wanted to achieve. "Rand said he'd love to (accept my offer)," Jobs said in an interview at the time. After that, Rand went to Next Inc.'s offices several times, where former Apple employees followed them. Beloved Captains (they call themselves pirates) have left Apple's Macintosh division to embark on this new adventure.
Rand quickly understood what they wanted and what they needed, Jobs said. Next didn't just need a logo like other companies, they also wanted a symbol, which the designer would call a logo. In the end, Rand handed over a satisfactory answer to Jobs, and Jobs also learned some very important brand knowledge in the process, which had a great influence on his later achievements.
Avoiding the "Ten Years and $100 Million" Problem
The problem with logos is that it costs a lot of money to get consumers to associate a logo symbol with a brand name. Jobs said that you have to "invest ten years and a hundred million dollars" to associate the symbol with the company name in the minds b2b data of consumers. Like seeing the Swoosh hook mark, you can think of Nike.
Perhaps Jobs and his team were so obsessed with a symbol that could make a big impact because of their past experiences at Apple. Apple's logo symbol is very recognizable and influential, symbolizing what they have achieved, reflecting a sense of pride. Jobs said that Apple's logo just corresponds to the company name, so that the public can easily establish a connection between the two without having to spend too much time and money on this connection. Apple's logo designer Rob Janoff also affirmed Jobs' statement, saying that Jobs did not provide him with any other information about the company other than his name at the time. Janoff designed the shape of Apple's logo with a bite-out notch to reflect its actual size, so as not to be mistaken for a cherry.