You could ask anyone in the world to name the most recognizable logos, and almost always, the Apple logo would end up being toward the top of their list. Rob Janoff is responsible for designing the iconic original Apple logo.
Rob Janoff was born in Culver City, California. He attended San Jose State University, where he majored in Industrial Design. After realizing he didn’t particularly care for that, he changed his focus to graphic design. He grew up surrounded by the technical innovations that were happening in California, and those surroundings would determine the path his career would follow.
After college, Janoff worked at small agencies in Silicon Valley, where he gained experience designing for high-tech clients. In 1977, he started working at Regis Mkenna, in Palo Alto, California. It was there that he was chosen to design the corporate identity for their new client, Apple Computer. He was chosen because of his background with technology companies, and his ability to visualize abstract concepts.
Steve Jobs explained that the new product was going to be an in-home computer and was going to transform life. The idea of having a computer in a home, and allowing kids to use it, was an overwhelming, scary idea. Janoff wanted the logo to be friendly and inviting to everyone. The apple, with a bite out of it, was exactly what they were looking for. When asked how he felt about the logo, that has now become a cultural icon, he explained that he feels proud every time he sees it in public. He was able to create something in America, and people all over the world, are able to relate it to their own lives.
Rob Janoff is currently working in his own agency. He is always looking for something that the world doesn’t already have a lot of. He also wants to have fun working on it. He always asks new clients, “If your logo was a celebrity, who would that be? What would the personality be?” He believes that personality changes a logo from being just a piece of art, to something that people want to invest in.
Janoff recently wrote a book, titled, "Taking a Bite Out of the Apple", where he discusses what it was like to be part of the computer revolution.
He enjoys teaching and inspiring current students and new designers. He encourages people to not jump to technology too quickly. He believes that, “…tech can be an idea killer.” He goes on to say, “I think that the bigger picture only comes when you’re free and you’re just drawing and pouring stuff out of your brain.”
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