Why is the Apple logo a half bitten apple and what’s the meaning of a “Tree of Knowledge”?
The bitten apple has its roots in Christian biblical tradition representing the fall of man to temptation.
Apple is arguably the most well known compnay in the world. In 2020 it became the first company to be worth more than $1 trillion. At the forefront of its brand is its slick presentation, machine-drilled accuracy, and global recognition. This is led by its logo, the apple with a bite taken out of it, that is as ubiquitous as the products themselves.
Theories surrounding the logo have swirled around the internet for years. Apples are pertinent images that evoke a number of ideas, from scientists to biblical stories. The first apple logo featured English scientist Isaac Newton underneath his famous apple tree that inspired his theory of gravity.
Theories about what the Apple logo means
Alan Turing was a British scientist and code-breaker in the Second World War. He has been credited with designing and building the first computer, Colossus, that was used to break mechanical codes and decipher mathematical processes. Turing was gay, a crime in Britain at the time, and after years of abuse and chemical castration he killed himself by eating a poisoned apple.
In the biblical story of genesis, Eve takes a bite of the forbidden fruit from an apple tree despite the warnings of God. Eating from the tree of knowledge was to be the greatest transgression against God and humanity is cast out of Eden. For Catholics this is the original sin.
What have the designers said about the logo?
But the truth to the logo seems actually much more mundane.
In a 2009 interview with CreativeBits, Rob Janoff, the man who designed the logo, reflected on the theories about his work. He dismissed the links to Isaac newton, the Bible, and Alan Turing.
“I’m afraid it didn’t have a thing to do with it,” he said. “It’s a wonderful urban legend.”
Janoff says that he received no specific brief from Steve Jobs but wanted to make sure that people did not confuse the apple for a cherry due to its small size.
“It was very simple really. I just bought a bunch of apples, put them in a bowl, and drew them for a week or so to simplify the shape.”