Saturday, June 18, 2016

Logoistic - IBM || Sharad Srinivasan || IIM Shillong || January 2016 edition

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International Business Machines Corporation, usually known as IBM, is a widely acclaimed American innovation and consulting firm headquartered in Armonk, New York. It was established in June 1911 by Charles Ranlett Flint. IBM is one of the oldest and most powerful brands in the world and amongst the most innovative companies in the technology space today. IBM’s logo is considered to be one of the most influential logos of all time, and its transition through the ages is very interesting to study. The present “8-bar” logo of IBM, written in blue, symbolizes reliability, trust, authenticity and the impeccable quality of the brand. But the present logo was preceded by 4 others between 1911-1972, as the company tried to perfect the representation of the business that it was involved in and the ideals that it stood for.


Image result for IBM logo 1911

In 1911, the company came in being by the name of Computing                                                   Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) through consolidation of the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Company and the Tabulating Machine Company. The logo of the company was historically inspired, and is reminiscent of the Rococo style. In those days, revival of the arts and crafts were seen as respect for skill and expertise. Keeping in line with this idea, the logo was also shaped as a stamp, to signify a trademark of quality.

Image result for IBM logo 1911


In 1924, The Computing Tabulating Recording Company was renamed as the International Business Machines Corporation. The new name was brought in to emphasize upon new aspirations of the company. They were on the lookout for new, profitable business opportunities which could be replicated across the globe. The new logo was an embodiment of their newly adopted ideals. It was shaped as a globe wearing a belt that stated ‘international’.The previous Rococo features of the “CTR” logo, were replaced by a more contemporary design that featured “Business Machines” in a sans-serif font.


In 1947, IBM went through a period of change during which new business areas were explored and along with it new ideals were adopted. The transition from the punched-card tabulating business to computers began with a change of the company logo. On 1st January 1947, the new logo appeared on the masthead of Business Machines. The widely recognized “globe” was replaced with the letters “IBM” in a simplistic typeface, Beton Bold.

In 1956, Thomas J. Watson, Sr was replaced by his son, Thomas J. Watson, Jr as the Chief Executive of IBM. With this change, a new period in the lifecycle of the company began and in order to make a statement, the company decided to subtly modify its existing logo. Noted graphic designer Paul Rand changed the logo typeface to City Medium from Beton Bold. This was done to project a more solid and stable appearance whilst maintaining a continuity in its look.


The lBM logo, as we all know it was introduced in the year 1972. Once again Paul Rand was hired for the job. He retained the former typeface but replaced the solid letters with horizontal stripes, symbolizing speed, energy, dynamism and modernity. Till today, the basic design has remained constant and the logo has become one of the most widely recognized and influential logotypes across the world.

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