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What does Amazon’s logo signify? A brief history

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Amazon started as an online e-commerce company that sold books, which eventually expanded to other areas, including cloud computing, space exploration, among others. It has become the second company after Apple Inc., to cross one trillion dollars in value.

Amazon has also patented an Airborne Fulfilment Centre (AFC) and the use of crewless ariel vehicles to deliver items from the fulfilment centre to the customers.

In this article, we will trace the history of the Amazon logo and simultaneously dwell on its past a bit.

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Humble beginnings (1994-1996)

Amazon started as Cadabra, founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994. The company focused on books delivery and was housed in Bezos’s garage in Washington. However, he changed the company’s name to Amazon soon after, as the name Cadabra resembles Cadaver, which means a corpse.

Amazon’s first gateway page

The company’s logo at that time, as you can see from the image above, resembled a capital A, with a tagline of Earth’s biggest bookstore.

This tagline, however, got the company into legal trouble with another bookstore — Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble claimed that the tagline Earth’s biggest bookstore is false. However, the two companies decided to settle the dispute which was, as some reports have claimed, a victory for Amazon.

Victory or no victory, Amazon has never looked back again while Barnes and Noble’s fortunes have continued to dwindle.

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Locking horns with giants (1997-2000)

With the most prominent book company of USA, Barnes and Nobles, at their heels and gearing to enter the world of internet — posing a threat to a significantly smaller operation at Amazon — Bezos took a different turn, and the company began expanding its operation to a variety of different segments. This expansion reflected in its logo and tagline. Form Earth’s biggest bookstore, Amazon’s tagline changed to Books, Music and More. The company’s logo also changed, and a somewhat inverted yellow line appeared below
Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos

It was in this phase that the company went public, with an initial offering of $18, which increased to $24 the same day. The company continued to add products and services in its basket. This resulted in Jeff Bezos becoming the Time’s Magazine Person of the Year in 1999, earning a nickname King of Ecommerce.

After its IPO listing, Amazon never looked back and is currently one of the biggest tech companies in the world with operations in scores of countries as well as several of their consumer products, which includes hardware as well as software.

The significance of Amazon’s logo (2000-present)

The logo was also changed following the IPO — the yellow line, which was earlier inverted, now resembled a smile. The tagline Books, Music and More was removed and the logo just comprised of the words ‘amazon’ with the yellow line pointing from A to Z. Get it? Amazon’s new logo signified that the company is not limited to books and music but has expanded to every aspect of human life — A to Z. This also began a new chapter in Amazon’s life, rife with success.

Turner Duckworth designed the new Amazon logo, which is now recognised by millions of us. The logo appears on the millions of boxes ready to ship by Amazon. This ‘smile’ is also present on other subsidiary companies owned by Amazon such as A9 and on several of its products including Prime, AWS, Echo, Fire TV, Kindle and Music, among others.

I hope this article has thrown some light on one of the most amazing logos ever created. So, Keep Smiling!

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Featured image by Christian Wiediger

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here:

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