Birth of the Macintosh
Apple was founded in 1976 and its first revolutionary product came out in 1984. Along with a USD $1.5 million television commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, the first "Mac" featured a personal computer with a graphical user interface and required almost no knowledge of computers or programming.
Apple's brand identity centred around how computers, then viewed as behemoths only used by large corporations, could be personal and approachable. The logo was colourful and attractive yet denoted a sense of professionalism and simplicity. The vibrancy of it's brand also went well with its first significant user base - the graphic design and desktop publishing market.
The return of Steve Jobs
After a legendary power struggle, Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Inc. in 1997. Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy and was being battered by the rise of lower cost "IBM-compatible" PCs. Steve Jobs led the creation and design of the iMac, an all-in-one Macintosh that featured fruit-like colours and an irresistible computing experience that stood in opposition to the beige-box PC market. The iPod, iPhone and iPad followed the release of the iMac and shot Apple back into the limelight in the space of a decade. Despite a relatively slow start Apple also completed widespread integration of online services and cloud-based systems across its offerings.
Apple's brand identity was gradually overhauled from a 80's and 90's-style company to an "ecosystem" of digital products and services focusing on simplicity, elegance and style for all ages. Official apple retail stores were launched around the world where customers could see and touch a variety of Apple products without any explicit obligation to purchase them. Apple products were seen as trendy, forward-looking, family-oriented and the brand identity was carefully managed to match those themes.
A global household name
Fast forward to 2015 and Apple is now a massive company known worldwide for its phones, tablets and computers - and a newly launched smart watch. Apple's focus now shifts from mere products and services to a lifestyle or ethos. Today, Apple's brand identity emphasises a seamless, almost dream-like experience of colour, adventure, interest and enjoyment for anyone seeking to stand out from the crowd - or escape it altogether. It remains to be seen how well Apple will fare without Steve Jobs at the helm but it still continues to be one of the ultimate purveyors of digital avant-garde for a global audience.
Is your brand stuck in the past?
Clearly Apple's brand identity has been carefully groomed to match its business plan as well as cater to the ever-changing tastes of its audience. Your brand is never static and requires design expertise to present it in the best light possible. Speak to Team Wired today and eclipse your competitors.