Named Named after the world’s longest river, Amazon.com, Inc., more often referred to as Amazon, is an American e-commerce giant based in Seattle, Washington. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezoz, used to work at Wall Street after graduating from Princeton in 1986. Long before Amazon became the brand it is today, “one-stop shop” for shopping any product online was just an idea buzzing around the head of 30-year-old Jeff Bezoz.
Amazon which is currently the largest internet-based retailer in the world by total sales and market capitalization was initially started as an online bookstore, originally named “Cadabra”, an abbreviation of “Abracadabra” on July 5th, 1994. However, he later changed the name to Amazon a year later after a lawyer misheard the name over the phone as “Cadaver”. He had also experimented with a few other names like Relentless.com, MakeItSo.com, Browse.com, Bookmall.com and others. The domain Relentless.com is still owned by Amazon and trying to access it will redirect to Amazon.com.
From the very start, Amazon’s prime focus was the dot com bubble. The selling platform they chose brought the world closer swiftly. By beating all geographical boundaries, they soon progressed from just selling books to toys, novelties and everything one can imagine of. So, sitting at home, ordering whatever one wanted to, and verifying the order became a fantastic experience for new generation shoppers. For retail market, I see it as the king of future.
Even after almost 23 years of struggle, the company seems to have just arrived. What made it a day to day household name? The internet platform has been there for the last 15 years or so; however, the concept as so unique that it quickly emerged to catch up with the fame and name in the world. The designer has very rightly said that A to Z arrow in the company’s logo makes it the “Everything Store” and the arrow also represents a smile indicating that every customer shopping from Amazon would have a pleasing experience.
The logo is black in colour while the arrow is yellowish. Yellow colour represents service. For instance, in New York, all the cabs are painted yellow, indicating service. Similarly, Amazon meets buyers and traders virtually at one single destination which is the service platform. So, yellow colour is very friendly and brings everybody together.
There are 26 alphabets from A to Z, the total of which comes to 8, representing the planet Saturn. The planet Saturn symbolizes democracy, common man and a low profile. He doesn’t like huge shops or malls. As Amazon is an online platform, Saturn supports it in every way. With Saturn’s support, the company has a very good scope for business throughout the world in future. People from low income families and affluent families – both find shopping from Amazon a pleasing experience. That is the range with which Saturn blesses Amazon.
1994 – 1997
Amazon was only an online bookstore when it first started its operations in 1994. Hence, they created their logo in sync with their mission to advertise their specialty in bookselling. The logo was a translucent ‘A’ with the text, “Earth’s biggest bookstore” with winding river cutting through its silhouette with a pleasing water texture in background. The logo was very simple in nature and didn’t win them any design awards; however, it did catch the attention of the audience giving them the initial much needed momentum.
1997 – 1998
There were several variations on this theme; each one experimenting with colour schemes, design changes, and various typography options. The primary focus had shifted to the alphabet “A” by 1997. The experiments included changes in upper and lower case fonts with serif and sans type to show a glimmer of the iconic palette.
Amazon Early Days
1998 – 2000
By 1998, Amazon was growing exponentially. When Bezoz selected the name, “Amazon”, he literally sat with a dictionary and zeroed in on this word because it was “exotic and different” just as he had envisioned for his Internet enterprise. The Amazon river is the biggest river in the world and he had plans to make his online store as big as the river.
When the dot com bubble burst, Amazon was one of the first e-commerce sites to incorporate one click shopping and email order verification. At this time, Amazon only sold books. Within the first two months, Amazon was selling books in 45 different countries and generating $20,000 a week.
Initial iterations included lowercase serif fonts with the tag line, “Earth’s biggest bookstore”. A little while later, a sans serif all-caps wordmark with a large, golden “O” in the middle would last a few months, before morphing into the sans-serif, lowercase font we know so well.
2000 – Present
The fourth and final design of the logo features an arrow starting from ‘a’ going till ‘z’ indicating that Amazon sells everything from A to Z. At this time, Amazon had already moved from being only a bookstore to an “Everything Store”. This time, Jeff Bezoz knew that logo plays a vital role for business transformation and hence, they gave this task to creative agency Turner Duckworth who would deliver something definitive and lasting.
Notice that the arrow in the logo resembles a smile denoting that all the customers shopping from Amazon will have a joyful experience. The brand proved so effective that it would become recognizable, even when the company name was omitted in favour of an initial.
The only incorrect thing with them is the black colour used in their logo. The newest Amazon logo with the small alphabet “A” depicted with black colour may threaten the company owners to sell their stakes at some point in time or they may dismantle the company by selling the stakes into a different sector. The reason being, colour black doesn’t represent retail. So, if the logo is successful, it will be because of two reasons: 1) The yellow colour that indicates service and 2) Number 8 of service. However, only time will tell how the mystery of black colour unfolds.