You’ve used Cisco’s products in the past, even if you don’t realize that fact. Cisco makes a number of computer accessories and peripherals, many of which are used in the world of business. You might have used a Cisco modem or router in the past, for example, a product chosen more for its quality than for a flashy logo. Nevertheless, the Cisco logo has become emblematic of a certain type of design aesthetic. It’s subtle, but it works wonders. Studying this logo’s history is actually a great way to learn more about the company itself.
Cisco Logo Design Elements
Cisco’s logo is simple, yet elegant. The basic shape is a series of alternating lines in a waveform, or perhaps in the shape of a bridge. It’s a clear nod to the company’s origins, of course, but it’s more than that – it’s a symbol that screams high-tech without actually having to get in the consumer’s face. Situated above the company name, the shape makes it very easy to determine what the company is about and what it aims to do.
The colors and font are likewise simple but useful. The color scheme is easy on the eyes but stands out, a red and blue that work together to both bring in the customer and stand out on devices. The font is simple and lower-case, helping the company’s logo to stand out in a crowd that has been known to use booming, block letters in order to attract more customers.
Changes and Evolution
Cisco’s original logo debuted in 1985, and in that logo you can already see the core of the current logo. In the original, the bridge was much less stylized – it was a clear Golden Gate bridge, the icon of a city that gave the company both its logo and its name. By 1990, the company moved to a more stylized logo, one that was closer to the current waveform and that included the Cisco Systems name. The logo would change only a bit in 1996 before reaching its current state in 2006, one where branding in the consumer electronics market had become much more important.
The 1985 Cisco logo is all red, clearly mimicking the Golden Gate Bridge. By 1990, though, the company would switch to the blue and red it has today. While the former logo was definitely one that worked for a small San Fransisco-based company, the new colors were more appealing to consumers and worked much better in an international marketplace. Even so, Cisco has managed to keep the same shade of red as a part of its logo since the beginning.
Cisco’s original logo didn’t include a font at all – just the bridge emblem. In 1990, the font appeared, with a much larger S to help indicate the company’s status in the computer world. By 1995, though, the S would lose its prominence as such logos lost prominence in the overall market. Today’s Cisco logo uses a font that’s in line with other component and electronics manufacturers in the industry.
Cisco’s current logo is definitely one that is a trend-follower rather than a trend-setter. It’s the same kind of logo that you see from companies as varied as Brother and Compaq. These logos all have the same vaguely-friendly, vaguely-techy sort of font and shape, showing users exactly what the company is about without getting too aggressive. The move away from the bridge actually helped the company with its identity, though, establishing it firmly alongside other major players in the same market.
If there’s a company that took inspiration from Cisco, it’s probably CSIRO. The logos are incredibly similar, even if the courts don’t agree. Beyond that, though, it’s not likely that many other companies directly copied Cisco. Instead, many companies in the same industry began to converge on the same types of logos at around the same time.
- Cisco is short for San Francisco – and that’s why the company traditionally spelled its name without capital letters.
- Cisco is the creator of StadiumVision.
- Cisco has bought over 170 companies since it was founded.
- Cisco’s founders sold their shares of the company in 1990 for about $170 million.
- Cisco has sites in around 170 countries.
Cisco’s logo sits somewhere between the unique and the generic. It has just enough personality to stand out, but not enough that it looks out of place on store shelves. It’s an example of how moving towards the middle can help to preserve a brand identity, even if most of the nods towards being unique are subtle. While you may not always be drawn towards Cisco’s products, you’ll always be able to identify the company’s logo.