The COVID-19 pandemic brought new opportunities to the tech world. The company most notable for driving change in this new remote work and learning space was Zoom. Now, almost two years after the pandemic first closed businesses and schools worldwide, almost everyone has had a Zoom interaction and their own Zoom story. Whether you’ve used Zoom for a team meeting or board meeting at work, a virtual conference, a socially distanced family holiday, or a happy hour with friends, chances are, that you have used the platform in some capacity at some point.
What was once a foreign concept, “Zooming” has now become a part of our everyday lives. While only a few companies previously offered a teleconference platform, Zoom entered the industry and quickly swept the world with its user-friendly approach.
The Zoom logo may only consist of a simple camera, with their company name “zoom,” but it’s a logo that is recognized worldwide.
But with such a universally recognized logo, we are all left wondering, where did Zoom come from? And how was this trademark logo developed?
Read on below to find out more about the history of Zoom and how Zoom’s iconic logo was developed.
Zoom is a video conferencing platform that was born in 2011 out of their parent company, Zoom Video Communications. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the actual platform wasn’t released until 2013, two years after Zoom was founded. Before 2013, Zoom’s founder, Eric Yuan, was working on positioning Zoom Cloud Meetings to be the most popular video and conferencing platform in the world.
How Eric positioned Zoom for success was that he didn’t make it like Skype, WebEx, or Google Meet. Unlike his competitors, Eric built Zoom to be a high-definition conferencing and video chat platform, that could work for any business, or higher education institute.
Zoom offers two plan options. Their first is a free plan for those individuals looking to reconnect and catch up with friends, family members, or even a virtual date. Their other plan is a paid option and is tailored for organizations because this plan can allow up to 1,000 conference participants at any time.
But where did Eric come up with this idea? Well, it all started when he was traveling 10 hours by train to see his girlfriend back in the early 1990s. He knew there had to be a better, and less time-consuming, way to stay connected to his girlfriend while being long-distance. After immigrating to the United States and working at WebEx, he found out that, yes, there was an easier way to stay connected to people near and far.
Eric stayed with WebEx long enough to become a Vice President, but after he felt the company hit a wall and couldn’t grow any further, Eric began to look for a way out. So, Eric took his ideas into his own hands and left WebEx to start Zoom.
1997: Eric’s journey to the United States
While living in China, Eric saw internet powerhouses Yahoo and Netscape take off in the United States. He took notice and wanted to be a part of this online excitement. He realized that China was not yet at the same tech scale as the United States, but he knew that tech was the future and that if he entered this industry, he could succeed. So, Eric left China to head to the United States to begin a career in this tech world.
It’d be nice to say that his journey to the United States was easy once he got this idea, but it wasn’t. The consulate rejected his visa application not once, not twice, but 8 times. It wasn’t until his 9th attempt that he was granted a visa to immigrate to the United States.
As soon as he arrived, he settled down in Silicon Valley and began to immerse himself in the start-up world. It was there that he found a position at WebEx Communications where he was hired to help build the initial WebEx teleconferencing software.
Late 1990s – 2011: Eric’s WebEx Years
While working as a Vice President at WebEx, the company was acquired by Cisco in 2007 for $3.20 billion. This was a huge acquisition for Cisco, and WebEx quickly became one of the biggest parts of Cisco’s business operations. Under Cisco’s leadership, WebEx grew beyond their already existing 2 million customers. Eric continued to be promoted, working as the Vice President of Engineering before he left.
In his role as Vice President, Eric grew the development team to over 800 developers, and while he was there, WebEx’s annual revenue exceeded $800 million.
As a leader, Eric wanted to see WebEx continue to grow, but the platform they had in place did not allow for any improvements to their existing product. When his ideas were never followed up on, he decided to resign and start his own company to see some of these ideas through. He saw firsthand how profitable and successful businesses like WebEx could be, and after building the initial software and leading the engineering team, he was well versed in how to build teleconferencing platforms in this space.
2011 to Present: Zoom’s Launch and Growth
Eric brought on a team of 40 engineers and worked with them to develop the Zoom we know and love today. What they were focused on was building a system that could allow for a high magnitude of users. What started as a system that could only host 15 users in 2013, grew to be able to host 10 million users in 2015.
Zoom first launched as a web app on the iOS platform and it was designed to work well on the weakest internet connections. To join a Zoom meeting, users do not have to download any program or app. Zoom has always been incredibly user-friendly, with meeting attendees only needing the Zoom link, and meeting hosts being the only ones who need a Zoom account.
What differentiated Zoom from its competitors was its efficiency on mobile devices and its standard for video and audio clarity. Competitors were strong in desktop conferencing, but they were lacking in these other areas, so by focusing on this, Zoom gained a competitive edge and became the go-to teleconferencing platform.
Additionally, Zoom responds to current industry needs, in a way competitors do not. When the education industry had a demand for better teleconferencing solutions, Zoom responded and worked to capitalize on this opportunity, unlike its competitors.
By 2017, Zoom was considered a unicorn company, meaning that they were a private company worth over one billion dollars.
In 2019, Zoom went public, with a valuation of $16 million by the end of its IPO. In 8 years, Zoom went from a start-up that was trying to switch users over from other platforms, to an established platform that is used by millions of people daily.
Roadblocks Along the Way
Just like with any company, it wasn’t a completely clear path to reach success. Zoom also had to overcome some obstacles and hurdles along the way. As Zoom grew, hackers took notice of the company and Zoom was the face of hacker attacks on user video calls, and hackers managed to disrupt meetings, which is now called “Zoombombing.” What would happen was that a hacker would get access to the meeting. Then, once they were in the meeting, the hacker would then display explicit content.
As a response to privacy and security breaches, Zoom has issued guidelines on how users can prevent this “Zoombombing” and how to minimize other security concerns, and they have released a software patch to fix privacy concerns.
The Meaning of Zoom’s Logo and Zoom’s Logo History
Despite what logo you look at, you’ll see that Zoom’s logo has not changed much since 2011. While there are a few different variations of the logo, it has always included a simple design consisting of the company name in lowercase font accompanied with a camera icon. The Zoom wording may be on the side, or below the camera, but besides these two versatile features, there are no additional elements, and the simple design is what has made the logo so catchy and recognizable for the masses!
Zoom’s logo color:
Two colors make up Zoom’s logo, and those colors have never changed: a light blue, and white. Most will refer to this as sky blue, but inside the Zoom walls, this is called “Zoom Blue.” What drove this choice is that many fellow tech companies have chosen some sort of blue hue for their logos, so Zoom jumped on this bandwagon, but opted for a lighter version to differentiate itself from the competition.
The blue and white combination together conveys simplicity, which is one of Zoom’s founding principles, making these color selections cohesive with the overall brand. You’ll find these hues not only in the logo, but also on their website, software, and advertisements.
Zoom’s logo signature icon:
Just like the font and color choices, the icon design is also anything but complex. All that the icon consists of is a blue shape with two white figures that together form a stylized camera. Just like with the font, the angles are rounded with a mix of soft and sharper curves. This icon is so familiar that you may even see it on its own without the word “Zoom.”
The icon depicts everything a logo needs to depict, clearly letting the viewer know that Zoom is a video teleconferencing platform.
What are the different elements of the Zoom logo?
The Zoom logo consists of three signature elements. Any changes or other versions are considered violations of Zoom’s branding rules.
Zoom’s logo font:
Zoom’s typography is unique because it was created specifically for Zoom. If you look closely, you’ll notice that some corners are rounded, others are elongated, and others are curved more than other corners. While it looks like many fonts you know and love, it was adapted from the Kaleko 205 typeface and it is uniquely “Zoom.”
The reason the logo has not evolved is that it is timeless. What stands out is that while the font is classic, there is a uniqueness to the letters, particularly at the end of the “Z” and the “M.” These combine both the round and sharp features of their corners.
The creatives behind the font used Kaleko 205 as a base and then built off it. This font was chosen because it conveys readability, balance, and dynamism, all while being inviting, casual, and friendly. The logo font ties nicely into their brand typeface of Lato, so when this was chosen, it was chosen as a part of the brand identity that was complementary to the other brand fonts.
Zoom has grown to include more than 2,500 employees. While most of their workforce resides in the United States, over 1,000 employees work in international offices. And on top of that, about 700 Zoom employees work for a subsidiary company in China designing Zoom software!
Zoom continues to expand. They have recently launched two research and development offices in Phoenix and Pittsburgh, and a new technology office in India. With these new locations comes plans to hire 500 more engineers, and a full suite of business, IT, and other positions.
On the user front, as of March of 2020, Zoom had over 200 million daily users.
Eric himself is worth over $5 billion, and Zoom’s stock value also skyrocketed after the COVID-19 pandemic. With constant new updates and expansions, it seems that Zoom is doing anything but slow down.
Lessons Learned from Zoom:
This article is likely not the first time you’ve heard of Zoom. Zoom’s logo is one of the most universal and recognizable logos worldwide, and we can all learn something from them and their logo design.
With them, simple works and simplicity is key. With their logo, the sky-blue lettering, rounded corners with the typography, and their bold, yet minimalist design resonates with their audience.
With more companies opting to maintain a remote work environment, Zoom is not going anywhere anytime soon. What has gotten Zoom to where it is today is Eric’s focus on listening to the needs of his customers and his unwavering focus on continuing to develop his product. Eric seems to be an unstoppable business leader.
When you’re thinking about your logo, you can follow Zoom’s message that simplicity is key. If you need help coming up with a logo for your company, Hatchwise can help. Get in touch with our team and start a logo contest today.