The logo from A to Z

Apr 16, 2018

There’s no denying that Amazon is a true business giant. First and foremost an online retailer, they’ve grown to become so much more – a technology pioneer in their creation of Alexa, Kindle and Firestick; a grocer through their acquisition of Whole Foods; and now a physical retailer thanks to the introduction of Amazon Go stores. But through all these ventures, one thing remains. Read on as we explore the brilliant simplicity and enduring iconicity of their smiling logo.

It’s the year 2000, and Jeff Bezo’s Amazon is just a simple online bookseller – with big ideas. He wanted to expand into an internet company that would sell everything (a radical move in the early days of e-commerce), and in line with this change in direction, approached visual identity experts Turner Duckworth to create a brand new logo for a big new brand. The brief was twofold: illustrate the business’ ability to sell anything a consumer would ever need, and showcase their intention to be the most consumer-friendly brand on the internet. After many hours of brainstorming, research and design, the company devised the renowned icon we can’t fail to recognise today – the arrow connecting the A and Z clearly indicating their vast array of items, and its gentle curve mimicking the smile they inspire on the face of the consumer.

From Firesticks to Kindles, websites to apps, this logo is seen across everything touched by this mighty superbrand – particularly in their packaging. Every day, thousands of brown boxes of all shapes and sizes are delivered to homes and offices the world over, each one graced with a smile. Printed more than 100 billion times on boxes alone, the icon’s placement in this key channel really reinforces their ability to deliver the smile into people’s hands. Despite being only 18 years old (a youngster compared to the 40-year-old bitten Apple, or the almost five decade strong Nike swoosh), this design has become one of the world’s most important logos due to its sheer scale and fame. And aside from slight tweaks for the Prime and Video iterations (which both still incorporate the distinctive smile) it’s remained relatively unchanged since its inception – unlike those of Google, Facebook and Instagram, which have undergone several complete redesigns.

But while it’s only gone from strength-to-strength so far, the widening of Amazon’s remit could perhaps diminish the logo’s power. As an indicator of an online retailer, it clearly ticks every box – but does it effectively represent their innovative technologies, AI capabilities or pioneering cashierless stores? And most remarkably for a company that set the bar in smart speakers, they’ve remained wholeheartedly silent in the world of audio branding. Given their stature, it’s clearly a purposeful choice for them to remain so tight-lipped. But if they’re looking to inject the same feeling of warmth in their tech as they do with their smiling logo, an exclusive track or sonic logo would be the perfect way to achieve this.

As one of the world’s most powerful brands, there’s no stopping Amazon from expanding into yet more exciting, innovative and life-changing new ventures. But will their iconic logo continue to endure? Or will it evolve into something with a little more volume? Only time will tell…