Do You Remember What The Apple Logo Looks Like? I Bet You...

Do You Remember What The Apple Logo Looks Like? I Bet You Don’t.

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Chances are you were unable to accurately recall the Apple logo. (If you did, congratulations! I didn’t). Chances are you were also certain that you recalled the Apple logo perfectly. I sure thought I did. I’m constantly surrounded by it- I’m typing this on a Macbook with my iPhone beside me. I had literally probably looked at an Apple logo not a minute before I took that test.

Chances are you were unable to accurately recall the Apple logo. (If you did, congratulations! I didn’t).

But I’m not alone. In fact, less than half of the people who took the test could recall the logo, and only 1 in 85 participants could accurately draw the logo from memory, according to a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles. And most of them were pretty confident that they could easily recall the logo, or draw it if they had to.

That seems like a really weird result, considering Apple’s logo is widely considered to be one of the most recognizable logos in the modern advertising world. And it’s not just people unfamiliar with the logo getting it wrong- even people who said they were very familiar with Apple’s logo were completely unable to recall it or draw it from memory.

So what gives? How is one of the most iconic brand logos in the world so thoroughly misremembered by even people who are familiar with it?

So what gives? How is one of the most iconic brand logos in the world so thoroughly misremembered by even people who are familiar with it?

It’s not that Apple’s marketing team is bad, or that their designers created the least memorable logo in the world. In fact, their problem might be that they were too good at creating a logo- the image of Apple’s logo is so foremost in our minds, and so ubiquitous in our surroundings, that we remember the idea of Apple’s logo rather than the logo itself.

Sound confusing? It is. It’s something called attentional saturation. Essentially, what happens in attentional saturation is that we so often see the logo that we tune it out: we’re confident that we know what it is and its details, so our brain doesn’t bother wasting any more resources on actually looking at it. What happens, however, is that our actual memory of the logo then degrades into an idealized version of the logo: We don’t remember the details, but we remember remembering the details, so we kind of fill in what we think it looks like.

We don’t remember the details, but we remember remembering the details, so we kind of fill in what we think it looks like.

This is called “inattentional amnesia”, and it’s a relatively new theory in psychology.  What it means is that the more you see something all around you, the more likely you are to forget about the details- but, paradoxically, the more likely you are to be confident in your memory.

So we’re constantly forgetting the Apple logo because we’re constantly looking at it. The brain is a hell of a thing.

That said, good news- you’ll probably remember the Apple logo from now on since the result was so unusual- and we tend to remember unusual things.