February 26, 2021

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Great Ideas of Logo Design – IBM

Logo design of IBM

Logo design of IBM

Looking for ideas for a logo design to inspire you for your next logo? See how the biggies are doing it.

IBM stands for International Business Machines and is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation with a very interesting logo.

How IBM was Born?

It started in 1889, with a company called International Time Recording Company (ITR). The company manufactured mechanical time recorders, patented by Willard L. Bundy in 1888. Below is the logo design from 1888 of ITR.

Great Ideas of Logo Design – IBM

In 1891, Two entrepreneurs Edward Canby and Orange O. Ozias purchased the patent for the newly invented computing scales. Thus, started producing commercial scales from the Computing Scale Company(CSC). Below is the logo design from 1891 for CSC.

Great Ideas of Logo Design – IBM

The year 1911 saw the merger of the three companies, International Time Recording Company and the Computing Scale Company as well as the Tabulating Machine Company which led to the birth of Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR). This merger was directed by Charle R. Flint.

Thomas J. Watson was appointed as the General Manager of CTR. He stressed putting the company focus on research and engineering. The famous motto of the company “Think” was also suggested first by Thomas.

Below is the logo design from 1911 for CTR.

Great Ideas of Logo Design – IBM

In 1924, Thomas J. Watson changed the name of the company to International Business Machines.

Letters in contemporary sans-serif were chosen by Watson versus the ornate, rococo letters which formed the previous “C-T-R” logo.

The First IBM Impression

The words “Business Machines” were meant to suggest a globe, girdled by the word “International.” Below is the logo design idea from 1924 to IBM.

Great Ideas of Logo Design – IBM

The Next 22 years were difficult for IBM, as the company was transitioning from punched-card tabulating business to computers. The new logo first appeared in the January 1, 1947 issue of Business Machines. The familiar globe was gone! And the new logo was representing the simple letters “IBM” in a typeface called Beton Bold. Below is the logo design from 1947 for IBM.

Great Ideas of Logo Design – IBM

Soon after the demise of Thomas J. Watson Sr., as presided by father, Thomas Watson Jr. became the IBM’s chief executive. Watson Jr. quickly suggested a desire to signify a new change as per the era. The first visible expression was a shift in the company’s logotype. In 1956, the new logo was introduced which replaced the former Beton Bold typeface with City Medium, and the letters “IBM” took on a more solid, grounded and balanced appearance. Do Note the square counters of the “B,” designed to aid in visual recall

The new logo design was Designed by famous graphic designer Paul Rand.

The Introduction of BARS

In 1972, when the company was looking for a new logotype, Paul Rand suggested two versions 13 – bar version & 8 – bar version of the new logotype. Horizontal stripes now replaced the solid letters to suggest “speed and dynamism.”

The 13-bar version, pictured here, was suggested for formal documents, such as legal contracts and certificates. But due to Variables such as printing presses, requirements for embossing, die-cutting and engraving,  the 8-bar logo was preferred.

Hence the famous idea of the logo design “8-bar logo” was introduced & has since remained one of the most recognized, widely imitated marks in the world.

“I got the idea for the [stripes] by projecting the notion of a document that you signed that uses a series of thin parallel lines to protect the signature against counterfeiting. And I thought, ‘Well, if that’s the symbol of that kind of authority, then why don’t I make the letters into stripes or into a series of lines.’”

Paul Rand
Creator of the IBM logo

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