Amazon is, by all accounts, one of the biggest successes of the online economy. It’s become synonymous with online shopping and has made its founder the richest man in the world. If you want to buy something, there’s a very good chance that Amazon will be the first place you look. While the company’s name is certainly the most important part of its identity, the logo has managed to penetrate the public consciousness as well. Taking a look at how the Amazon logo has evolved says a lot about how the company’s public perception has changed since its founding.
Amazon Logo Design Elements
The current Amazon ‘smile’ logo is actually very clever. The logo is simply the name of the business with a curve underneath. The curve itself can represent a few different things – a smile, movement, and continuity. In fact, it subtly connects the letters a and z, showing that the company has everything under one roof. It’s a nice bit of design that doesn’t overwhelm customers with its cleverness but that does bring a smile to the face of those who figure it out.
The color choice is simple – by using black and gold, the company is able to draw the eye towards the logo without making it look too busy. There’s nothing particularly fancy about the font choice, which means it can be used in the text to link to the site – one of the necessities of a good web logo. In fact, everything about this logo looks like it was designed to sit in the corner of a web-page. It’s a subtle yet useful logo that has become ubiquitous over the last decade.
Changes and Evolution
The shape of today’s Amazon logo has come a very long way from the original logo. The original, briefly-used logo really played up the Amazon river imagery with a river flowing through a stylized letter A. This would be dropped fairly quickly in favor of a text-based logo, albeit one that used a large yellow ‘O’ in the center of the name. As the company outgrew its dot-com bubble roots, it would eventually switch to the more professional-looking, more modern logo that it uses today.
Color has never been a strong suit for Amazon. It’s early color choices are puzzling, to say the least. It began with blue, again as a reference to water and the Amazon river. Early logo redesign attempts used everything from zebra stripes to flames, none of which worked. Fortunately, Amazon would strike gold when it moved to the yellow circle in the middle of its name, a color choice that has stuck through the present day.
Amazon’s font evolution is really the evolution of e-commerce fonts. The original was a stock font, usually rendered in blue that actively clashed with the logo. By the time it was first redesigned in early 1998, the font would change to an all-lower case black font. From there, the font choice would go to an all-caps, professional-style font. The company would eventually decide to stick with a bold version of the early-98 font when it moved to its current logo.
Amazon’s early logo was definitely influenced by other dot-com companies. The color, the stab at a memorable logo, and even the font scream ‘early internet’. The more modern logo is definitely something cribbed from companies like UPS and FedEx, combining a very professional-looking main element with an easter-egg secondary element. It’s a clean look that’s very logical to imitate if you’re dealing with consumers around the world.
Amazon’s lower-case style has copied by dozens of online companies. It’s easier to name those that haven’t followed in Amazon’s footsteps than those who have. In fact, Amazon’s 2000 reboot is probably the earliest inkling of a Web 2.0 logo revolution.
- Amazon started life as an online bookstore.
- The original name of Amazon was Cadabra
- Amazon started in Jeff Bezos’ garage.
- During the early days of Amazon, a bell would ring every time the site made a sale.
- Amazon actually holds the patent on one-click purchases.
- CEO Jeff Bezos spends two days a year working at the customer service desk.
- The founders of Hulu and Quora both got their start at Amazon.
The Amazon logo re-design in 2000 is a great example of being ahead of the curve. At the time, it flew in the face of the dot-com revolution, but today it’s a prefect example of everything that’s good about online logo design. There’s nothing flashy about the logo, but it definitely stands out even to new customers. If you’re looking for an example of how to make a perfect online logo, this is the place to start.