The Story Behind the Amazon Logo

Ready to Get Your Logo?

Make a logo Get a custom logo

What inspired the logos of today? How have they evolved? While some companies have kept hold of the very same logo they’ve always had, others have changed theirs along the way. So, what’s Amazon’s story? Let’s take a look.

About Amazon and its history

Amazon is now a huge company and one of the giants of retail. This company has very quickly carved its place among the list of brands with the most influence on online shopping. Founded in Seattle in 1994, Amazon originally went under the name Cadabra. This was swiftly changed due to the similar-sounding word cadaver. The bosses didn’t think a name that sounded like a corpse would be a great fit – and they’d be right.

At first, Amazon only sold books. The company grew very quickly, though, and just two months after starting, the revenue per week was more than $20,000. Amazon’s business model was to always invest its profits back into the company. This meant it was able to grow quickly and is now one of the biggest, if not the biggest, online company today.

So why the name Amazon? Simply put, its founder Jeff Bezos, wanted to choose a word that would come up first in an alphabetical list. He also liked how it linked with the exotic and wild forest of the same name. Essentially, the name emphasized just how vast the library was, just like the vastness of the Amazon River. Even though many of the famous brand names you see today were created by branding agencies in the UK, Jeff Bezos came up with the name himself.

Amazon’s first logos

The Amazon logo history is really interesting. Initially, in 1995, Bezos wanted a logo that represented the vision he had for Amazon. Amazons logo was on a blue river-like background with a trapezoid that formed an “A”. Essentially, this Amazon first logo represented the Amazon River crossing. This became black and white until 1997. This original Amazon logo looks dated to us now, but we can still see elements of its design in the current logo.


For a year, Amazon added a few more tributaries to the river design but it didn’t last long.

Amazon Logos and Redesign

Between 1997 and 1998, Amazons logo was redesigned again. The first was a simple text of the URL with the words “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore” underneath, and the second was a new font in all caps with a large golden O. Perhaps Bezos wanted to try a cool Amazon logo that was more modern, but he clearly wasn’t happy with it as it didn’t last long.


Both of these logos were put to one side and from 1998, we were presented with something that we’re more familiar with today and the current Amazon logo still resembles this somewhat.


22 Years of the Current Amazon Logo

It may come as a surprise to some people, but Amazons logo as we now know it has been around since 2000. The yellow curve on the previous logo was adapted to create a smile shape. It was also condensed to that it started at A and went to Z, which can be attributed to the fact that the Amazon website is a directory of millions of products. The Amazon com logo also lost its “.com” in the current logo.


Even though Amazons logo changed a few times in its early days, Bezos still kept its main elements of the letter A and the river depiction. It could be said that the reason the logo hasn’t changed for over 22 years is that it’s still relevant and depicts exactly what Amazon as a company represents.

The logo shows customers that you can get everything you want from A to Z – and that you get it with a smile.

This logo was designed by the Turner Duckworth Agency. Bezos has always been cost-conscious and so he attended the branding meetings in person and approved all of the designs himself. He saved lots of money designing Amazons logo in this way as he was able to cut down on market research and revisions.

Again, to save costs, it was proposed that the Amazon symbol of the smile alone was to be used as a brand visual on the boxes that shipped the orders. These “smile boxes” have since become a great marketing tool – as have the vans that drive them from A to B. The smile as a logo is easily recognizable nowadays and shows just how important it is to create a versatile image when using a logo maker. The smile is almost like an Amazon emblem and is synonymous with the brand. Ensuring the originality of a logo is crucial, particularly when designing for a reputable brand such as Amazon. When creating your own logo you can use a plagiarism checker to see if there are any potential copyright issues. Even unintended plagiarism can result in legal consequences.

Fonts used in Amazon logos

The first Amazon logo used the Tahoma font. Subsequent logos have used Times New Roman, Oficina Sans and Franklin Gothic Condensed. What’s interesting about the fonts chosen is that they’re all really common and readily available. Bezos hasn’t tried to create his own font or go all-out crazy with his choice of fonts. It’s clear that the logo font he’s chosen works well. Interestingly, only one of the logos has used a serif font – the one with “Earth’s Largest Bookstore” written underneath that was used from 1997 to 1998.


Amazon logos over time haven’t changed all that much in all the years the company has existed. Though Jeff Bezos and Amazon have used the same logo since 2000, the first five years of the company saw lots of changes. Other brands can learn from this – even small ones. It might take a few tweaks here and there to make the perfect logo, but it’s important that you continue working on it until you find one that you really like. When using a The Story Behind the Amazon Logo, therefore, don’t just go with the first design you like the look at. It should be a project that takes time to establish. And even when it is established, don’t be afraid to revisit it from time to time to see if there’s anything you’d like to change or add as your brand develops.

Ready to Get Your Logo?

Make a logo Get a custom logo