How 20 (mostly) tech companies' logos have evolved over the years

Some of today's biggest tech companies launched with logos that are now unrecognizable.

intro

Earliest logos

Corporate logos represent important parts of a company's brand and the image they'd like to project to consumers. While many brand logos today are sleekly designed and easy to identify, some of the early logos of some of the most powerful tech companies may surprise you.

1 logos

Apple

The original Apple logo looks like nothing like it does today. Originally designed by co-founder Ron Wayne, the original Apple Logo depicts Sir Isaac Newton, naturally, with an Apple poised to fall right on his head. Initially designed in 1975, Apple opted for its now-iconic rainbow logo in 1976. As for the Apple name itself, it was chosen after Steve Jobs visited an apple orchard in Oregon.

2 logos

Microsoft

Microsoft's first corporate logo was appropriate for its era, which is to say that it has a decidedly 1970s vibe to it. It was designed in 1975, but only lasted one year before being replaced.

3 logos

IBM

This logo dates all the way back to 1888, decades before the personal computing revolution began. Of course, back then, the company we now know as IBM was called The International Time Recording Company (ITR). Upon merging with the Copmuting-Tabulating-Recording-Company in 1911, IBM was born. And just for kicks, the logo you see on the right is what the IBM logo looked like in the 1920s.

4 logos

Adobe

On the top we have the original Adobe logo, and on the bottom we have what it currently looks like. The original logo was designed in 1982 by co-founder John Warnock's wife. Interestingly enough, the Adobe name is taken from a creek which ran behind the Warnock's house.

5 logos

Google

While the Google homepage has more or less remained the same, the logo gracing the world's most popular search engine has changed subtly but noticeably over the last 18 years or so. As you can tell, the original Google logo — pictured at the top — had a distinctly more childlike appearance to it, perhaps appropriate given what was then the young age of its co-founders. Famously, the Google name itself is derived from the mathematical term 'googol.'

6 logos

Kodak

Kodak today is essentially a shell of its former self. Indeed, the wave of smartphone photography all but kicked Kodak out of the photography business, forcing the company to sell many of its patents in order to see some much-needed cash flow. Anyhow, Kodak's original logo be seen on the upper left. Over the years, the brand has seen a number of design changes, though the logos from 1971 through 1987 are by far the most iconic.

7 logos

Ford

The original Ford logo from 1903 is markedly different from what it looks like today.

8 logos

PayPal

In mid-2014, PayPal came out with a completely new logo that wasn't entirely well received by the masses. The original logo is on the left with the more recent logo on the right. The most well-known incarnation of the logo is likely the one in the middle.

9 logos

Bing

In 2013, Microsoft rebranded a few of its products, including its Bing search engine. The original logo is visible on the top, while the more recent logo is on the bottom.

10 logos

Nokia

While the Nokia logo most people think of today is a simple blue spelling of the word, the original Nokia logo featured a fish.

11 logos

Sprint

For 20 years, the Sprint logo looked like the photo on the left. In 2005, it was given a modern rebranding with the logo on the right. More than just a new style change, Sprint's entire marketing and brand message took on a decidedly yellow theme. Sprint's new logo is based on the company's "pin drop" marketing message, as it purportedly resembles a pin in free fall. The Sprint name, interestingly, is a play on Southern Pacific Railroad International Network.

12 logos

Canon

The Canon name comes from "Kwanon," which was what the original incarnation of the company called its 35mm camera prototype back in 1934. The logo on the top is how things used to be before the more modern logo came to be.

13 logos

Firefox

Firefox's logo certainly has come a long way. The original logo, which is a Phoenix with wings, is pictured on the left. Mozilla was ultimately forced to change the name for legal reasons, and hence, Firefox was born, along with a new logo.

14 logos

Xerox

Before the company was called Xerox, it was called Haloid. Its logo, from 1938, was completely unremarkable. Just a generic torch of some sort.

15 logos

Facebook

Some of us may remember a time when the world's most popular social network still went by "The Facebook."

16 logos

LG

LG, which stands for Lucky GoldStar, is the result of a corporate merger between a cosmetics company called Lucky Chemical Industrial and a radio company called GoldStar. But before the merger became known as LG, Lucky Chemical Industrial had, of all things, a product dubbed "Lucky Cream" that became associated as the company's original logo, seen below.

17 logos

American Airlines

In 1934, this was American Airlines' logo. Certainly a more "busy" logo than some of the more modern and sleek logos we see today.

18 logos

Foursquare

In what many perceived to be a step backwards, Foursquare changed its original logo, seen on top, to a lone 'F' character in pink.

19 logos

Palm

Though once synonymous with high-tech personal consumer electronics, Palm was basically shut out of the market when Apple came along with the iPhone. Its original logo, from back in the early 90s, wasn't exactly inspiring.

20 logos

Volkswagen

The current Volkswagen logo is iconic yet still bears a slight resemblance to its first incarnation from the early 1900s.