IBM has one of the world’s most recognizable logos. It is simple yet very appealing and a prefect visual representation of the brand/multinational. The 8-bar blue IBM logo is more than just a signature to the Company’s ads or an image to embrace its products and service packs. For customers, the IBM logo is a promise that symbolizes trust, value, quality and advanced technology. In a world of integrated IT systems, the IBM logo is uniquely reassuring, conveying authenticity, reliability and quality of the brand and its mechanics.
The Company was incorporated in New York on June 15, 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (C-T-R). The lock autograph recorder, the first complete school time control system, and the Electric Accounting Machine were all introduced in 1920. The Carroll Rotary Press was developed in 1924 to produce cards at high speed, thereby increasing the punched card capacity. The expansion of C-T-R's activities made the Company’s old name too restricted, and thus, on February 14, 1924, C-T-R's name was formally changed to International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, adapting the globe version of the IBM logo.
In the 96 years of the Company's existence, the IBM logo has been changed and improved many times. Over the years, the Company has used a series of IBM logos on products, stationery, vehicles, service packs, flags etc. to promote immediate recognition of the brand throughout the world. Hence we trace the graphic evolution of IBM logos.
The first IBM logo was created in year 1924, when the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation. As part of their transformation, the creators of the company decided to the replace the previous ornate, rococo letters of the “CTR” logo into more modern wording of “Business Machines” in sans-serif font. The 1924 IBM logo was given a globe shape girded by the word “International” to suggest the company’s worldwide expansion.
The globe shape IBM logo failed to accomplish the friendly and caring image of the company as it was faceless, bureaucratic, and cold. Hence, the firm’s solution to the image problem was to come up with something effective, yet reinforcing the user-friendly attribute of the company. Thus, the company changed its IBM logo to the newly adapted logotype. Surprisingly, that kind of change was the first in the company’s 22 years of business profile. The previously designed globe was altered to the simple lettering of “IBM” in a typeface called Beton Bold.
In May 1956, Tom Watson Jr. took over the company as the new Chief Executive after his father passed away. In steps to exemplify the new management and technological era, the company endured subtle changes in its IBM logo. Hired by Tom Watson Jr. himself, the new IBM logo was created by the famous graphic designer, Paul Rand. That IBM logo was replaced by another typeface, known as City Medium, from the earlier Beton Bold typography, boasting a more solid, grounded and balanced look.
In 1972, a new version of IBM logo was introduced, again designed by Paul Rand. The solid letters were replaced by horizontal stripes, suggesting speed and dynamism. The graphic evolution of IBM logo shows that the IBM logo is an excellent example of a company that uses capitalized block lettering to establish authority without alienating its audience. The IBM logo stands so absolute it looks like it was made by machine, instead of by hand.
IBM is recognized as the powerhouse of high-quality computer products and services. The IBM logo is an image of expertise, innovation, service and trust, thereby reinforcing the strength of IBM in the industry. If observed closely, the IBM logo, also known as "Big Blue", generates a message of "Equality". The Big Blue IBM logo, with its lower right parallel lines, highlights in the shape of an "equals" sign. Furthermore, the term "BIG" in the Big Blue IBM logo refers to the company’s size in the market share, whereas, the "BLUE" is the official color of the eight-bar IBM logo.
The evolution of IBM logo depicts the company’s promise of commitment to its principles. The IBM logo continues to define the company’s management behavior and its adherence to it, while providing the IBM logo a competitive advantage in the marketplace.