You always wondered: The Silicon Graphics Logo #SGI #Logo #History @ScottKim

By Mike Barela

PCs and Macs have not always been the graphics workstations used today. Who was?

Silicon Graphics, Inc. (later rebranded SGI, historically known as Silicon Graphics Computer Systems or SGCS) was an American high-performance computing manufacturer, producing both hardware and software. They were regarded as the pinnacle of computer graphics in the early 1990s. Founded in Mountain View, California in November 1981 by Jim Clark, its initial market was 3D graphics computer workstations, but its products, strategies and market positions developed significantly over time.

SGI computers created special effects on the movie Jurassic Park (1993), at the time the graphics were state of the art.

SGI logo spinning The SGI cube was sgi’s hallmark and trademark.

The logo was created by graphics designer Scott Kim. His work done at the time is available via the Wayback Machine.

The logo was made into a lovely sculpture shown below.

sgi logo
Real sculpture of the SGI logo, at its headquarter in Mountain View, California, USA. The plate at the bottom (not shown) reads: “In Celebration of 20 Years of innovation. Dedicated by Dr. James Clark Founder, Silicon Graphics, Inc. on August 12, 2002. Sculpture previously installed at SG Manufacturing S.A., Switzerland”.

Finances Precipitate Logo Change

With growing financial issues in 1999, SGI changed their logo from the iconic cube to the stylized “sgi”.

Sgilogo.png

But with erosion of the graphics market share to other systems, coupled with poor decision making, losses continued.

The porting of Maya to other platforms is a major event in this process. SGI made several attempts to address this, including a disastrous move from their existing MIPS platforms to the Intel Itanium, as well as introducing their own Linux-based Intel IA-32 based workstations and servers that failed in the market. In the mid-2000s the company repositioned itself as a supercomputer vendor, a move that also failed.

On April 1, 2009, SGI filed for Chapter 11 again, and announced that it would sell substantially all of its assets to Rackable Systems. Rackable announced their adoption of “Silicon Graphics International” as their global name and brand.

After the Rackable acquisition, Vizworld magazine published a series of six articles that chronicle the downfall of SGI.

References

Were, or I should say, are you a SGI fan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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