Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: On the possible return of the six-color Apple logo

There’s a (somewhat sketchy) rumor going around about a very specific detail about (possible) future Apple hardware. Here’s Joe Rossignol at MacRumors:

Apple may be planning to reintroduce its classic rainbow logo on some of its new products as early as this year, according to a well-connected MacRumors tipster, who in turn cites a corporate Apple employee in Cupertino.

When I said this one is a bit shaky, I wasn’t joking. Rossignol goes on:

To be clear, this rumor could very well be untrue. We have elected to share it since it comes from a tipster who has longstanding connections to both Apple and related industries, but no other sources have shared similar information that we know of. And, even if true, the plans could certainly change.

Even with all of that couching, I love this idea.

Of course, there’s the historic use of the six color logo when it comes to Apple hardware. The colorful logo graced just about every computer, keyboard and printer from Apple for more than 15 years, from the Apple II and original Macintosh until the return of Steve Jobs ushered in the Bondi Era.

It even showed up on the QuickTake line of cameras:

QuickTake 100

This logo has quite the history, as Jens Hofman Hansen writes:

It appears that Steve Jobs was in charge of a large part of the work, designing the apple logo. It is difficult to print a logo in several colors, placed close to each other. The four color print technique, that is done in several steps, brings the risk that the different layers may be displaced and thereby overlapping. [Rob Janoff, art director of the advertising company Regis McKenna Advertising] suggested that the colored stripes should be separated by thin black lines, that would solve the problem and make the printing of the logo cheaper. Steve Jobs didn’t care and decided firmly that the logo should be without the marring lines. For the same reason Michael M. Scott of Apple has called the logo “the most expensive bloody logo ever designed.”

Of course, even if the six color logo comes back in 2019 or 2020, most of that history won’t be known to the masses buying the next iPhone, but I think that’s okay. As the color has been drained from most of Apple’s products, they’ve become less whimsical and more utilitarian. The iPhone XS and iMac Pro are stunning products from an industrial design perspective, but they are far from fun. A dose of six colors could help change that in a very Apple-like way.

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]

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