Apple has a graphic representation of recycling that I think it is relevant. When it appeared, there was no official presentation. Nobody commented it. Now still, it goes unnoticed.
Apple uses their logos in an unusual way. Products, services, and technologies do not have a distinctive graphic, or it is discrete. The apple fruit must always be the central focus.
It is extraordinary that Recycling has a graphic of its own. It is refreshing and uncommon in this environment.
The visuals reveal a lot of things with few elements:
- It has the apple that expresses where it comes from
- The arrow communicates action. That is so important in recycling; the user has to send their old phones back to Apple. On the other side, the company has specific procedures to recycle them.
- The arrow and the apple are the same. As a concept, it is powerful; as a graphic, it is so clean and pure. With one line, the company communicates a lot.
- The green leaf gives the context of what this movement is all about: the environment. It's fun, and it plays with the logo. It seems as if the graphic winks an eye to the user. As a design, it adds freshness and vividness.
It is beautiful, and it works! It communicates the general Apple style and the particular role of the recycling section.
The recycling of phones and other technological devices has increasing importance for consumers. Apple is answering to it. They have a section on the internet just dedicated to explaining what they do in that field. They also detail their plans for the future. The site makes it possible to send in used products, and it manages the entire process.
We should relate the Renew logo with Liam and Daisy, the robots that automate the recycling of iPhones.
The other departments
We can compare Recycling with other sections of the website: supplier-responsibility, diversity. (I do not provide the links here because Apple changes that pages names and content quite frequently.)
They do not have a logo. That makes Renew so different: it's an exception in its context.
The origins of the logo Renew Apple
The first time I saw that graphic was in the video of Liam, the recycling robot. At first, I thought it was confusing. Why did they change the Apple logo? Is it a new logo to represent recycling in Apple? Why did they show it for the first time a few seconds before the end of a video?
I thought it was just a detail. Someone wanted to add something funny at the end of the video and changed the color of the leaf. It was nothing with any profound significance.
But, some days later, the same graphic appeared on top of the environment page of the website. That was in mid-April 2016. I suppose that now, it represents that space and that department in the company.
Change the Apple logo
The Apple logo has no color because it has all the colors. It has to live on top of different materials and colors. White, black, dark gray, aluminum, gold, and many others. It adapts to any context, and it is always the same. We can recognize it at first sight. It is stable because it is flexible.
The Renew graphic takes the Apple logo and makes a lot of changes. That is uncommon.
On the other side, the environment logo introduces only a small change: the color of the leaf.
Logos cannot change. That is what makes them strong. Any logo aims is to promote instant recognition. That is why they have style rules that study all the boundaries. That protects them from unexpected changes.
The Environment and Recycle graphics make subtle and elegant changes to the general logo. They make it flexible and capable of adapting.
Environment and Recycle add qualities to the general logo without changing it. They make it greener.
But still, with the change of logos, they have created new brands changing the general one. That could be confusing. An unusual and risky move.
Consistency of the Renew Apple logo
The logo has appeared and desappeared in different sections of the website. I have seen at least three different versions of the same concept. It was not an evolution. Sometimes they live together at the same time but in different parts of the site. In other cases, one of the versions disappears. As far as I know, I am unable to appreciate a clear rule.
Initially, it seems that the logo with the arrow represents Renew. The ones without the arrow represent Environment. They are two different graphics for two concepts that are very close to each other. That is quite confusing. The colors have also changed.
Probably they just do not take that too seriously. They are trying different things. That's all.
Some Apple technologies have a name, but not a logo. Retina Display, Touch ID, Force Touch, and 3D Touch are some examples.
The names of technologies summarize and communicate complex ideas. The consumer can recognize and remember what Apple does. That names work as a brand but do not have a graphic representation to distinguish them.
Renew has a more elaborated visual presence than any tech brand in Apple.
Apple products and their brand
The treatment of the product names is peculiar in Apple. I refer to names like iMac, MacBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and others. Apple represents them in the same way, but their appearance is discrete, close to plain text. Some could discuss if we could consider them logos.
It is clear that Renew is different from any other product name graphic in Apple. It has a strong presence. It plays with symbolic values. It has color and can even suggest movement.
Learn and apply
In other posts, I comment that it is useful to follow big brands. We can learn from them and then apply things to other small cases that are closer to us.
I think that I can learn a lot from my mistakes but, on the other side, I do not learn much from other people mistakes. That is why, with this blog, I focus on companies, brands, and people that I admire. I want to concentrate on fantastic marketing strategies and brilliant art directions. Here is where I can learn more.
Many times, I talk about big firms. They seem distant and difficult to relate to our current professional life. That is true. But they are also a reference, at least for me. A point to follow that make me improve in what I love: marketing.
In this post, I talk about one of the largest companies in the world. At the same time, I fix my attention in one of its small, insignificant projects. A humble, beautiful graphic almost lost in a small section of their site.
It is not perfect, but it has so many things I like. I can learn from the small elements that Apple could improve. I can learn even more, from all the great achievements.
A brand, a logo, a graphic
I will not enter into academic distinctions between these three concepts. How to classify this case makes no difference.
What is relevant is that "Renew" is a compelling visual representation of complex ideas.
Perhaps it was not born with the intention to symbolize nor summarize anything. Maybe it is just a graphic to illustrate a concept, and it will have no continuity. I do not know.
In any case, it is clean, fresh, and elegant. With few elements, it can communicate many things. It has some weaknesses, but a lot of strengths.
It is one of those small things that makes me love marketing, communications, and brands.