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What does a logo really say about a company? Oftentimes, startups don’t have the brainpower or time to mess around with a logo, slapping together something in PhotoShop of little significance or meaning. If it looks good enough, just ship it.

But that’s not the case at Apptio, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary and is becoming one of Seattle’s fastest-growing companies. As we reported earlier, Apptio just launched a new Web site and moved into a new headquarters in downtown Bellevue, with the company planning to hire 100 to 150 employees this year.

The company is maturing, moving into what CEO Sunny Gupta calls Apptio’s “Second Act.” And as part of that new chapter, Apptio rolled out its new logo this week.

Apptio’s old logo

Chris Pick, the chief marketing officer at Apptio, writes in a blog post that the new brand emerged after “serious introspection and debate.”

But what’s the significance of the orange circle logo, pictured above?

At first, I thought the orange “O” played off the last letter of the company’s name, but I was told that wasn’t the significance. Looking closer, I saw puzzle pieces coming together, connected through Apptio.

Pick laughed when I gave my feedback, and said I was getting closer. Here’s the detailed analysis from Pick who took a look at more than 300 logos before settling on the one above. He worked with the Palo Alto branding and design firm 1185, whose past work includes Jive Software and ServiceNow.

See a pattern there? Both of those companies completed IPOs last year, and Apptio has been rumored on that path as well. (CEO Sunny Gupta downplayed suggestions of an IPO in remarks last night, telling me that it would be nothing more than “a financing event.”)

Here’s Pick’s analysis of the new logo:

“The company was founded on the basis of cost transparency, and if you think about it … we give visibility into data, and we help (companies) take the data and make a core decision about how they run IT. Some of the inspiration is that there is actually an eye for visibility. Another promise that we have is that you can take the data to make informed decisions. Decisions are really what IT leaders need in order to break through and connect with the business…. If they can’t unify unstructured data into solid results, they can’t drive (the business)…. It elevates us truly to a premium brand. We are helping CIOs break through with insights on how they connect to the business, and speak in value terms.”

So, what do you think? Did Apptio hit the mark with the new logo? Or do you like the old logo better?

Previously on GeekWireFast-growing Apptio opens new HQ, plans hiring surge of more than 100 in 2013

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