International Business Machines Corporation, commonly known as IBM, is a world-renowned American technology and consulting headquartered in Armonk, N.Y. It was founded in June 1911 by Charles Ranlett Flint. IBM is one of the largest firms in the world, with total assets of US$ 119.21 billion as of 2012. The company employs 435,000 people across the world.
IBM has one of the most powerful brands in the world and is perhaps the most innovative company in the technology marketplace.
DESIGN ELEMENTS, HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF IBM LOGO
Shape and Colors of the IBM Logo
The IBM logo is widely considered as one of the greatest and most influential logos ever created in history. It is very simple, yet incredibly powerful and visually appealing. The “8-bar” logo of IBM is uniquely reassuring, portraying reliability, trust, authenticity and impeccable quality of the brand and its tradition.
The IBM logo has undergone various modifications throughout the years. Its earliest known version was introduced in 1924, when the “Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company” became “International Business Machines Corporation”.
As part of the name change, the previous ornate, rococo letters of the “CTR” logo, were altered into a more contemporary design that featured “Business Machines” in a sans-serif typeface. The 1924 IBM logo comprises of a globe shape girded by the word “International”, so as to entail the company’s global presence. This version was harshly criticized for being faceless, bureaucratic and cold.
As a result, in a desperate attempt to accentuate the user-friendly nature of the company, IBM changed its corporate logo to the newly adapted wordmark. The redesign incorporated a simple lettering of the company’s name in a typeface known as “Beton Bold”.
When Tom Watson Jr. was appointed the company’s new CEO in May 1956, the IBM logo endured subtle changes. This time the assignment was given to Paul Rand, one of the greatest graphic designers in history. He came up with another logotype, which incorporated “City Medium” (a German typeface which originated in the 1930s), sporting a more solid, consistent, grounded and balanced overall feel.
Rand was hired once again in 1972 when he famously replaced the solid letters with horizontal stripes, symbolizing speed, dynamism, energy and modernity. The basic elements of the IBM logo were retained, but the visual treatment was enhanced through repetition and color variation. An alternative version of the logo playfully substituted an “eye” and a “bee”, in place of the “I” and “B” letters.
Font of the IBM Logo
The current IBM logo features a custom, handwritten typeface.