Starting with version 1.0, Adobe chose to license an image of Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” from the Bettmann Archive and use the portion containing Venus’ face as Illustrator’s branding image. Warnock desired a Renaissance image to evoke his vision of Postscript as a new Renaissance in publishing, and Adobe employee Luanne Seymour Cohen, who was responsible for the early marketing material, found Venus’ flowing tresses a perfect vehicle for demonstrating Illustrator’s strength in tracing smooth curves over bitmap source images. Over the years the rendition of this image on Illustrator’s splash screen and packaging became more stylized to reflect features added in each version.
The image of Venus was replaced (albeit still accessible via easter egg) in Illustrator CS (11.0) and CS2 (12.0) by a stylized flower to conform to the Creative Suite’s nature imagery. In CS3, Adobe changed the suite branding once again, to simple colored blocks with two-letter abbreviations, resembling a periodic table of elements. Illustrator was represented by the letters Ai in white against an orange background (oranges and yellows were prominent color schemes in Illustrator branding going back as far as version 4.0). The CS4 icon is almost identical, except for a slight alteration to the font and the color which is dark gray. The CS5 icon is also virtually the same, except that this time the logo is like a box, along with all the other CS5 product logos, with the “Ai” bright yellow. CS6 changed it a bit to a brown square with a yellow border and yellow lettering.