The fifth letter in the English alphabet is “E” and portrays breath, earth, life, and higher ego. From eBay to Edge, the letter has been used to symbolize an array of ideas, including entertainment and communication.
The need for communication has always been the number one priority for humans. The ancient cave paintings found across various sites in America only tell us how deeply our ancestors wanted to communicate.
An article titled, “Ancient Tennessee cave painting shows deep thinking by native,” mentions, “‘what’s interesting is it spans an area literally from Kentucky line down into northern Alabama,’ Simek said. Most of them are between 500 and 900 years old, but radiocarbon dating indicates one painting of a hunter in east-central Tennessee was laid down 6000 years ago. That would make it the oldest representation in North America known to date, he said.”
The extreme desire for communication by our ancestors has left its mark in our genes today. Be it design or music, be it photography or poetry, our innate desire for communicating in various forms has only multiplied over the centuries.
From ancient cave paintings to modern-day smartphones, we might have traveled a long way, but our thirst for finding an effective mode of communication remains the same!
Brands and businesses spend fortunes to devise effective branding and marketing plans: all part of a grand communication strategy. From logos to websites to billboards, all form a part of a brand’s visual communication wing. Designers and marketers play a crucial role in formulating and executing these plans.
Various graphic design elements, including fonts, color, symbols, shapes and letters, are intelligently employed to form an exclusive brand story.
Every letter has its significance as it may symbolize various notions and ideas. The letter E, for example, when combined with blue, symbolizes communication; think Internet Explorer! Again, when the same is combined with red, the logo may portray passion, aggression and victory, think the movie, Elektra.
Apart from brands using the letter E to depict various ideas, it is used in multiple branches of studies to portray numerous concepts.
In mathematics, according to the Lumen website, “The number e, sometimes called the natural number, or Euler’s number, is an important mathematical constant approximately equal to 2.71828. When used as the base for a logarithm, the corresponding logarithm is called the natural logarithm, and is written as 1n (x).”
E=mc², the most famous equation of the modern times by the legendary physicist Albert Einstein, explains that “mass and energy are different forms of the same thing.” According to the equation, “Energy (E) equals mass (m) times the speed of light (c) squared (²), or E=mc².”
History and symbolism
The Semites, over 3,800 years ago, pronounced the letter E as “Heh” and was symbolized by a human body. According to experts, the Semites might have borrowed it from an Egyptian hieroglyph with a different pronunciation.
It was not until 700 BC that the letter began sounding like it does today—/e/ or YEE. The Greeks, according to linguists and historians, in 700 BC borrowed the letter and tweaked it to sound like the modern E.
According to experts, E is a feminine letter which symbolizes the Egyptian goddess Isis, the Roman’s Diana and the Greek’s Aphrodite.
In religion, the letter E stands for the breath of God, man, mother earth and feminine energy. The letter E also signifies enlightenment, ecstasy and intuitive wisdom.
According to various esoteric teachings, E or heh signifies the wisdom of God or the act of the almighty bringing forth the creation. As per different schools of thought, the Ultimate or the Supreme Being controls universes (multiverse), alternate realities, and individual beings through his/her/its breath.
The letter signifies MAN—Master-Able-Noble. According to the MAN philosophy, a man must fight over his animalistic nature and master his five senses to ascend to higher realms of existence or merge with the Supreme Reality.
How the letter E is used in logos
Top brands use the letter E, explained above, to depict many different things. Let us now look at what the letter symbolizes when used in logos.
- Entertainment: Apart from many philosophical and spiritual connotations, the letter E stands for entertainment. One of the largest cable networks in the US, Entertainment Television uses the iconic “E!” logo.
- Communication: The three horizontal lines reaching out from the vertical line symbolizes communication. The world has evolved, and so have the modes of communication, but our desire to find an effective way of imparting messages remains the same.
- Energy: From the Egyptians to the Greeks to the Romans, all used the letter to depict feminine energy. Today, top energy companies such as Exxon Mobil Corporation, Equinor ASA and EOG Resources use the letter E as a part of their visual identities.
- Exploration: The three extended horizontal lines attached to a vertical one that symbolizes communication also symbolize exploration. From the European Space Agency to Internet Explorer, the letter E is an indispensable part of their visual narratives.
In addition to the above, the letter E also symbolizes the following:
1. Microsoft Edge
Released in 2020 for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge is a cross-platform web browser. Dan Graham of TechRadar and Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica praised the browser for its performance upon launch. According to Cunningham, Edge is technically superior and “a much better browser than Internet Explorer ever was.”
While Internet Explorer was a widely used web browser for the better part of the last two decades but with the advent of Microsoft Edge, it’s time to bid farewell to the old browser.
The Edge logo has been redesigned three times since its inception. The 2015 version of the logo featured a two-dimensional globe in blue. The same year, the logo was redesigned and was composed of a lowercase “E” in blue. The Edge logo, as we know it today, was designed in 2019. The lower case “E” resembles sea waves and features a gradient green and blue color palette.
According to Rich Barton, the first company CEO of Expedia, the company name was derived from combining two words: exploration and speed. The American online travel company offers various destination packages to travelers.
Fun fact: Expedia was initially launched as a division within the Microsoft family; however, it split off in 1999 to become one of the major public companies in the US.
Expedia was ranked third in the “Internet Services and Retailing” category by CNN Money in 2008.
Expedia has remained persistent with its logo since its inception. However, the online travel company has made some minor changes to the original logo over the years. The logo currently in use was redesigned in 2012. The company icon features a blue circle and a yellow airplane—perfect for the online travel company.
The 2012 redesign made the logo flat and minimalistic, making the icon more contemporary. The wordmark appears to be from the sans-serif family. Together, the font, colors and symbols portray reliability, exploration and trustworthiness.
Founded in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar, eBay is a San Jose-based multinational e-commerce company. eBay was among the first companies during the dot-com bubble to become a huge success.
eBay is an online marketplace where a wide range of goods and services are bought and sold. Buyers can use the platform for free; however, sellers need to pay a nominal price to list their products.
Fun fact: In 2002, PayPal, a US-based online payment support company, became a fully-owned eBay subsidiary.
The first logo of the company was nothing like we know it today. The logo was based on the company name AuctionWeb. However, the icon was redesigned after the company changed its name to eBay in 1997. The first logo of the online giant was designed in black and white. The iconic eBay logo seen today was designed in 2012. The colorful logo written in lowercase symbolizes playfulness and reliability at the same time.
4. Entertainment Television
E! or Entertainment Television is a US-based cable channel, which primarily focuses on movies, celebrity-focused news items, reality shows and pop culture.
Originally launched in 1987 as Movietime, the cable channel mainly aired movie trailers, celebrity gossip and award nights. The network was renamed E!: Entertainment Television after Time Warner took over the control of the network in 1989.
Fun fact: Entertainment Television is the first American cable network to broadcast a daily news program – E! News.
The E! logo is one of the most recognized logos globally. The network’s icon has become an inspiration for designers from all over the world. The letter E, which resembles an exclamation mark, portrays entertainment, communication and reliability. The minimalistic logo is truly remarkable!
Directed by Rob Bowman, Elektra is a spin-off from the 2003 hit, Daredevil. Based on the Marvel Comics character Elektra Natchios, the film is known for its breathtaking action sequences.
Electra is an assassin who is out to protect a man and his prodigy daughter from another executioner who has been employed by the Hand: a supervillain organization.
Jennifer Garner, who portrayed the central character of Elektra, was praised by critics for her acting and action sequences. Garner was nominated in the 2005 Teen Choice Awards under the category Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure/Thriller.
The Electra logo is nothing short of electric. The letter E has been interestingly designed to resemble a trident. The color red portrays blood and revenge, whereas the weapon symbolizes action.
Letters are an essential element of logo design. Choosing the correct letter along with the right color palette and shape can add to your brand story. The letter E has a special place for companies that deal with exploration and energy since the alphabet perfectly signifies the two. But, it does not mean you can’t experiment with it.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.