The graphic representation of the products in Apple is uncommon. I am referring to iMac, MacBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad. They are some of the most powerful brands in the world, but their graphic is "soft." They do not have color; they do not have a strong personality, they are close to plain text.
Product names in Apple. Names and graphics
The names of the products in Apple are distinctive. When they appeared, they were different from any other brand in the sector. Years later, the public recognizes and distinguishes them.
The visual representation does not seem logos. In the website, the name of the products uses almost the same type of letter than the body of the text. That was "Myriad Set Pro." Now, it is San Francisco type font. They seem a title, like any other title of any other text.
The design has a primary role in Apple. Products are the most valuable brands, just below the Apple. Their simplicity, even extreme austerity makes them such an exceptional case.
Product graphics in Apple. Are they logos?
I said that they did not seem logos. I should explain that and be more precise:
- They always use the same type of letter. That gives personality: makes it different from any other reproduction of that name. It provides continuity. That makes it recognized and not confused.
- It has no color. Perhaps, it would be better to say that it has all the colors. That is because it changes depending on the context. They are black and sometimes white in some dark surfaces.
- The letter "i." It is so strong as a brand. In lower case, in front of a name has become the synonym of an Apple product.
- The "s" and "se." That letters are after the word iPhone and always inside a rounded square. That has created a code that the user recognizes fast. By now, the "s" means the second iteration of hardware. "se" means a special edition, an update from older hardware.
- Space around. Those names always appear with white space around. That simple thing avoids confusion and gives notoriety.
- Context. The situation of the name provides more information about its importance. It also helps to establish the relationship with the rest of the elements of the brand. They appear on the website, videos, packaging, and ads. The Apple logo is not far but never near. Rarely, besides. In packaging, they usually are on different faces of the box. If it's a video, first we see the apple and later, the name of the product. Always in a different shot.
As you can see, the name of the products does not seem logos. The graphic representation is discrete, close to plain text. However, combined with all little details commented, they have personality and distinction. They are logos and brands.
Logos and brands in Apple
A logo is "a graphic mark, emblem or symbol to aid and promote instant public recognition."
(According to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo)
A brand is "a name, term, design, symbol or other feature that distinguishes one seller's product from those of others."
I think Apple products visual representation convey "instant public recognition." So, we can consider them logos.
That graphic, the name, the sound, and other features distinguish those products from others. We can consider them brands.
Apple logos have things that make them singular. They need all the elements I described in the previous section. Not only one. In other cases, we recognize and make a connection with the product only with the design. Shapes and colors are enough to establish the relation. In Apple, graphics make a more subtle association.
Only the Apple
The question is why? iMac, MacBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad are strong brands. Consumers and competitors recognize and appreciate them. However,their graphic representation is "soft."
I think one reason is to give more importance to the Apple logo. The logos of the product are a complement that reinforces the real star: the apple. That is evident on the products: the beaten fruit is quite small, but always so present. No one else, not even the logo of the product can compete, not even project any shade to it.
The products come and go, but what remains is the company. The competition is always present between Apple brands: The iPhone killed the iPod. Now, it is fading away. The iPad Pro competes with the MacBook. They have always said that they are ok with that. They even promote it. They want to create that before any brand outside Apple could.
Yes, the graphic representation of the products is soft. That is intentional.
Learn and apply
To have a great brand you do not need many elements. Apple products brands are an excellent example of economy and strength. What is relevant is not the design isolated but a global marketing strategy.
Apple has created some of the most successful brands with almost plain text. Even more, they become attractive logos.