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The word 'logo'
Logo has a very respectable heritage. Its origins lie in Greek logoV (logos) meaning words, discourse. From logos we directly get logic, dialogue, catalogue, and a few of the -logy words such as trilogy = three discourses. The rest of the -logy words such as zoology [zo-o-logy from zwon zoon = animal, therefore discourse about animals] come more indirectly from logos through medieval Latin -logia and French -logie (discourse). That should make the scientists, humanists and librarians relaxed about logo.

St John's Gospel opens with 'In the Beginning was the Word (logoV), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' So in Christian theology Logos came to mean the second person of the Trinity. Even before that Heraclitus used it to mean the pervasive rationale of the universe. Now we've got the professors and the upper echelons of the Administration happy too.

Not only that but logograms [1820] are symbols standing for words. A logogriph is word puzzle related to an anagram. A writer of shorthand is a logographer [1656], and so are accountants and speech-writers. That should bring the general staff into ownership of the word.

It is from this second group of words, specifically logotype = a printing block for a whole word or badge [Oxford English Reference Dictionary 1996], that logo came into use as an abbreviation.

However, if anyone really feels offended by the University having a logo, there is always the possibility of technical accuracy by describing the logo as a service mark (the equivalent of a trademark if an entity provides services instead of goods for trade) or a brand mark. But either is much more managerial and legalistic.

© Copyright  2001  AHJ Sale
Page last modified on 2001 July 15