Think different. Poster (Bob Dylan, 24 x 36 inches, 1998)

“Think different” is the slogan used by Apple in advertising 1997–2002, and is still used in some circumstances as of 2021. The “Think different” concept was created by advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day while working with Apple and Steve Jobs. “Think different” was rolled out in its original concept as a TV commercial and in print/digital advertisements. The “Think different” slogan was also used as part of many TV commercials, print/digital ads, and on product packaging.

This advertising campaign was notable because its original concept did not include mention of any Apple products. The original version began with a “manifesto” that began famously with “Here’s to the crazy ones.”

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Think different.

During the commercial, voiced by Richard Dreyfuss, black-and-white footage of iconic personalities served as visuals to accompany the voiceover of the manifesto. Luminaries included Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Jim Henson, Pablo Picasso, and others.

The print and digital ads also did not feature Apple devices, just a black-and-white photo, the multi-color Apple logo, and the words “Think different.” One of the creative team members who worked on the campaign described the print concept: “The rainbow-colored logo served as stark contrast to the black and white photography, and, to me, it seemed to make the ‘Think Different’ statement all the more bold.”

Author Maggie Macnab described the ideal of the “Think different” campaign well in her 2011 book Design by Nature: Using Universal Forms and Principles in Design. She said:

“By identifying Apple’s core philosophy with the rebels and geniuses that changed the world by ‘thinking differently,’ the campaign established Apple as the ideology of the future. Apple was perceived as saving the day by making technology accessible to anyone. This move repositioned it well above its competition and far beyond the status of ‘product’ by connecting the user into a world of possibility.”

In the United States, four sets of 24 x 36 inch “Think different” posters were released. Set 1 included: Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Pablo Picasso, Mahatma Gandhi, and Thomas Edison. Set 2 included Maria Callas, Martha Graham, Joan Baez, Ted Turner, and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (not officially released due to licensing). Set 3 included, Miles Davis; Ansel Adams (landscape orientation); Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (landscape orientation); and Bob Dylan (not officially released due to licensing). Paul Rand and Jimi Hendrix were part of Set 3, but not included in all sets that were shipped. Set 4 included Frank Sinatra, Richard Feynman, Jackie Robinson, and Cesar Chavez.

A Set 5 included film directors that was never officially released, including: Charlie Chaplin, Francis Ford Coppola, Orson Welles, Frank Capra, and John Huston.

In 2000 an Educator Set was provided to school leaders. The posters were 11 x 17 inches and arrived in a white box printed with the “Here’s to the crazy ones” manifesto. Each box contained three packs of posters sealed in plastic of 10 posters each. This set includes: Albert Einstein; Amelia Earhart; Miles Davis; Jim Henson; Jane Goodall; Mahatma Gandhi; John Lennon and Yoko Ono; Cesar Chavez; James Watson; and Pablo Picasso.

I have collected many of Apple’s Think different posters, print ads, and other material.

This poster of Bob Dylan is considered rare. I ordered the first three sets of Think different posters directly from Apple in approximately 1999. The poster sets were essentially free, but Apple charged $8.00 for each set for postage. When my Set 3 arrived, it included only Miles Davis; Ansel Adams; and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Apparently, earlier versions of the set included Bob Dylan, Paul Rand, and/or Jimi Hendrix.

At one time I read an account that the Bob Dylan photo Apple had used was not properly licensed, and although some Dylan posters had shipped, Apple stopped including them in the sets. I was lucky to find this poster on eBay for a reasonable price.

The poster is 24 x 36 inches and features a young Bob Dylan during a recording session wearing a harmonica in a holder. The text features the classic multi-color Apple logo and the words “Think different.” printed in the Apple Garamond font. Small text in the upper-right corner reads “©1998 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved.”

According to CNN and Getty Images, this photo of Bob Dylan was taken in November 1961 while Dylan was recording his first album for Columbia Studio in New York City. In other photos in the series, Dylan can be seen holding his acoustic Gibson guitar.

Sources: Wikipedia, Forbes, Peachpit, CNN, Getty Images

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