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The Amazon logo – A history lesson in re-branding

There are many companies who have fully nailed the online world and all the opportunities that it brings, but there’s one giant that everyone knows (and uses), that spans all ages and all countries in the world. is the ecommerce giant that sets the benchmark and sells almost everything!

Do you remember the dawn of the internet when critics said that we would never buy clothes or food online? And yet here we are in 2020, in a time when buying those online is actually safer and more pleasurable. Amazon carved the way for the online convenience shopper but at the start, they weren’t about “Everything from A to Z” at all…


A story from the history books

Do you remember? was actually an online bookstore. That’s all it sold. One of the reasons that Amazon is the giant that it is now though is that Jeff Bezos and team saw the change in the web and adapted, and kept on adapting.

Online book sales weren’t a bad gig, either. In just the first two months, Amazon grew to sales of $20,000 a week! Not exactly sales to be sniffed at. But Amazon boss Jeff knew what he had to do, and that was to reinvest his profits into his company, and continually adapt it.

This adaption meant continually rebranding too. If you’re changing your offering or attracting new customers then your front of house, your brand, and your marketing needs to change too.

Amazon are a master at this and since their humble beginnings in 1994, Amazon have not only changed their name, they’ve also rebranded six times… and we’re not talking Cadbury’s level brand tweaks here.



Logo 1 – Earth’s biggest bookstore

The first logo is far from the tech giant’s image today. As an online bookstore taking its name from the world’s largest river, Amazon’s tagline was “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore” and the logo was symbolic to the Amazon river with a water filter over the top.

The first logo is awful by today’s standards but given the tools and software available then it’s about what you’d expect. Keeping it like that though would have been a failure… one Jeff and team didn’t make.



Logo 2 –

In 1997, right in the middle of the boom, Amazon opted for a more digital, clean look and feel to their logo. The water went, the colours became just black and white to reflect the simplicity of digital, but the A with the river running through it stayed.

It wasn’t quite there yet but at the time it was a vast improvement on a fairly dated logo and brand design.



Logo 3 – “O… I see it now!”

Just a year later in 1998 the logo got a complete makeover. The river went and orange was added to the colour pallet to give a focal point in the middle of ‘Amaz’O’’ logo. It was still an important thing to be a “dot com” so the logo kept that alive but moved it into the main logo instead of a tagline.

It was certainly a more modern version, but it lasted just one more year before yet another change!



Logo 4 – swish design, Jeff

The big change in late 1998 was the lowercase font. It was a big change and one that’s lasted until today. It became friendlier with the lowercase approach and the orange swoosh under the logo looked more creative than formulaic; another step away from the very 90’s, digital design. Amazon was evolving and so was their brand.

Lowercase made the brand more accessible to all (over the more stark and sharp upper case ‘A’) and it reflected the approach to the marketplace that Amazon has always had – it’s Everything from A to Z, for everyone.



Logo 5 – easy and A to Z

At the turn of the new century Amazon’s logo had a genius rebrand and one that’s stuck with us right up to the current logo. “Everything from A to Z” is a great way to explain what your eCommerce store does, but moving the orange swoosh to run from ‘a’ to ‘z’ on the logo and creating a smiling, friendly arrow are jedi level design skills!

Alongside logos like FedEx, that hide a subliminal message in their logo, Amazon moved into the big-time logo game!



Logo 6 – Just amazon

Much like your grandparents or those older business folks who still read out the www. when sharing a web address, Amazon knew that they no longer needed to tell people how to find them. Not only were they so big in 2012 that they were a household name, they knew that we searched on Google and didn’t type the address in anymore.

So, the logo simply became ‘amazon’ with the “a to z” swoosh and arrow in place. It’s a soft, approachable, simple and efficient logo which perfectly matches the experience on their online store.

“One click and you’re done” needed a simple front end, and this latest and final logo design gave them just that.



Adapt or die out….

Even during lockdown in 2020 Amazon had to change. They made vast changes to their warehouses and systems and proved once again that they will adapt and grow despite what happens in the marketplace.

From 1994 to 2020 Amazon have certainly seen some change. The crash, the recession of 2008, the mobile internet boom… and they’ve grown each time… and rebranded to match.

Have you adapted to the change?

2020 certainly changed a few things, didn’t it? Did you change your offering or the way that you work? It might be time for a chat about that.

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