Apple premiered a new ad spot this week promoting it’s commitment to privacy. It’s a great advert, both funny and a great representation of how easily we give away our information.

Another thing it features is a fun little logo animation at the end where the Apple logo eschews the leaf on the top for a padlock-like loop.

It’s something that Apple has frequently been using in the last two years, and it got me wondering - how many different versions of the Apple logo have there been?

Image showing the full evolution of the Apple logo since it’s inception
the full evolution of the Apple logo since it’s inception

Of course, Apple’s logo has been through several evolutions over the years; starting with a super-complicated version, moving into the classic colour-striped version to a more and more simplified version before finally resting on the current silhouette. It seems unlikely Apple will ever change this. It’s now iconic, like the Nike swoosh.

An image of the 371 interpretations of the Apple logo from October 2018
371 interpretations of the Apple logo from October 2018

Now let’s be clear here: when I say logo versions, I do not mean the many, many interpretations of the logo that Apple does. It seems every year for WWDC and other events they do different artistic variants of the logo, going so far as commissioning 371 fantastic versions for an event in October 2018.

What I’m talking about is where the apple itself has changed in its basic form.

Animation of Apple Privacy logo

Introduced in early 2019 the privacy version came with a great little animation of the padlock loop swinging shut and pressing down to show it locking. It’s ingenious; the whole thing providing a brilliant connection between Apple, its commitment to privacy and the fact that all your data within your Apple device is locked in.

So what about other variants? Well, if you were expecting a long list I’m sorry to disappoint: there is only one other!

Image of Apple Renew program logo
Apple Renew program logo

They have made several specific interpretations of the logo to represent announcements on education and new stores. However, these are only used once. It seems the only prominent other version they’ve done of the current silhouette is the one they did for their Renew Plan.

Introduced in 2016, it involved an outline for the main part of the apple, broken on the left side with an arrow, signifying the reusability/recyclability of the iPhone. That was then finished off with a green leaf to represent the environmental factor.

Like the privacy logo, it’s a simple change but communicates the three key aims of the Reuse Plan.

Having them communicates a message clearly and simply.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t use this logo anymore (though it still frequently uses a version with a green leaf) which I think is a real shame. While creating lots of different versions of a company’s logo is a bad idea, these two variants are for values that Apple is pushing hardest. Having them communicates a message clearly and simply.

I’m not sure where else Apple could use a variant logo, the only other key area Apple pushes in a significant way is education. However, they don’t really have a clear message or goal for this area; they’re just operating heavily in that field.

Though another area Apple is putting resources in to is in teaching coding to kids, I’m not sure what that logo would need to communicate.

Alternate versions of a logo should only be used if they have real benefits. The clear messages the privacy and reuse logos communicate(d) were very beneficial. Apple already has a lot of clear uses for colours and logo usage, allowing them to share messages effectively. In the end, I’m not sure there is much more need for more alternate Apple logos versions.

Do you know of another Apple logo version they have used consistently for something? Let me know on Twitter.