Last Updated on November 23, 2022
Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company probably best known for its giant online retail marketplace by the same name. However, the company offers several other services, including e-commerce, digital streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
Amazon was established by Jeff Bezos on July 5, 1994, in Bellevue, Washington. The company makes up the Big Five, which is a list of the top five most successful American information technology companies. Other members in this prestigious list include Alphabet, Meta, Apple, and Microsoft.
Amazon Logo Appearance
Amazon has one of the most simplistic logos of all renowned technology giants. The logo has only two basic features – the company’s name written in small letters and an orange arrow set underneath the brand name.
The word “amazon” is written in a bold black color. The implementation of extra boldness improves the logo’s legibility.
The orange arrow doesn’t stretch throughout the company’s word mark. Instead, it starts at the first letter “a” and stops at the letter “z.” When combined with the rest of the letters on top of it, i.e. “m” and the second letter “a,” the design resembles a smile. And when combined with the entire word mark, the iconic arrow looks more like a human face.
Another noteworthy feature about the Amazon logo is the font used. The Amazon logo is set in a typeface known as Officina Sans Bold. This is the font that appears on the company’s word mark set above the yellow arrow and curves.
Officina Sans Bold is a sans-serif typeface designed by Erik Spiekermann in collaboration with Ole Schäfer. The font is published by the ITC and is available in a couple of styles and designs. It comes in UPPERCASE and lowercase letters, as well as basic punctuations, roman numerals, and special symbols like currency signs.
Note that Officina Sans Bold is simply the font that the Amazon logotype is set in. This font is different from the main typefaces the company uses on its websites, product labeling, and other branding materials. The main font used on Amazon’s products and services is known as Amazon Ember.
Symbolism of the Amazon Logo
Meaning of the “amazon” Word Mark
The obvious purpose served by the “amazon” word mark is representing the brand’s name. But the logotype could have additional meaning considering the manner in which it’s set.
First, the utilization of small letters makes the logo look less formal. It’s part of Amazon’s ambitious strategies to boost its brand’s image to its customers and would-be clients.
The lettering also appears in a bold black color. As we’ve already indicated, that helps to improve its legibility.
Black is also associated with power, influence, and prestige. It’s no doubt that Amazon is one of the world’s most powerful brands with a global influence.
The Orange Arrow
The orange arrow on the Amazon logo begins from the first letter “a” and ends at the letter “z.” This design element was intended to portray Amazon as a retailer dealing in everything.
Simply put, the brand offers everything ‘from A to Z,’ ranging from electronics and electrical appliances to heavy machinery, technological solutions, books and audiobooks, to mention but a few.
It’s important to note that Amazon adopted this design at a time when the company had moved from being known primarily as a bookstore and was already offering a wide variety of products and services.
However, the arrow design serves other crucial purposes besides pitching Amazon as a brand that can fulfill all retail needs.
When viewed up-close, the arrow creates the image of a smile with the rest of the letters over it. And when you combine it with the whole logotype, the design looks more like a human face.
The smiley face was simply Amazon’s way of restating its mission of putting a smile on every customer’s face. A smile also conveys that the brand is friendly, trustworthy, and approachable.
Besides, numerous studies have shown that not only do humans possess incredible facial recognition. They also tend to be more trusting of a smiling face. So, Amazon probably reckoned that implementing a smiley face would help the brand strike an immediate rapport with its would-be clients.
Arrows have also been used from time immemorial to signify forward progress and speed. Therefore, the orange arrow speaks to Amazon’s growth and progressiveness. The brand doesn’t just focus on ramping up its annual revenues.
It also delights in continually offering its clients premium-quality products and services, constantly improving its offerings in line with emerging consumer trends and tastes.
Lastly, the use of the orange color was also by design. Orange is the color of friendliness, joy, and warmth. The color stimulates ‘feel-good’ reactions and was likely incorporated to complement the smiley face design.
Amazon Logo: Origin and History
The original Amazon logo was developed in 1995 by Turner Duckworth. The logo’s defining element was the stylized black bold letter “A” against a blue background. The letter featured smooth vertical lines and was designed to mimic the contours of a river inside, which resembled the Amazon River.
Another notable element was the “amazon.com” word mark which was set in lowercase and placed underneath the emblem. The word mark was in black and designed in a sans-serif typeface. There was also the caption “Earth’s biggest bookstore.”
Since the original Amazon logo was designed around the dawn of the digital era, the emblem was less than ideal. Many critics took issue with its legibility, with some terming the inclusion of the river symbol as too cliché. These were part of the reason Amazon would embark on several logo upgrades over the years.
The first modification to the original Amazon logo happened in 1997. The new logo featured white horizontal lines stretching out of the river symbol. It looked a bit like a river and a bit like a tree.
Plus, there were elements of the zebra pattern which made it more stunning. The word mark became bolder and more elegant. Amazon used this logo for a year and then embarked on yet another upgrade.
1998 is arguably the most important year in Amazon’s visual identity, as the company experimented with three different logos.
The first of these logos was a simple word mark “amazon.com” set in a serif typeface and the tagline “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore” written in ALL-CAPS and set in a sans-serif font. The color palette was black and white.
After a couple of months, Amazon designed the next version using black and yellow colors. All letters in the new word mark were CAPITALIZED and a giant yellow ring for the letter “O” was introduced. Besides, the “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore” tagline was removed.
At the end of the year, Amazon replaced its logo with a new design that would later become the basis of the brand’s logo as we know it today.
In 2000, Amazon redesigned its logo and abandoned the UPPERCASE approach for lowercase letters. This made the brand look friendlier. The new version included the name “amazon.com” underlined by an orange line that curved downwards.
The orange line would later be redesigned into the signature ‘smiley’ face we know today. Amazon has not conducted any major upgrades to its logo since 2012.
Find out more information about the company by checking out their official website.