What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the letter G? Well, apart from Gucci and Guns N’ Roses and Golf, it is none other than God himself! The letter’s close association with the Supreme Being has made the alphabet the first choice for companies trying to portray inner wisdom, grace and gratitude.
From Freemasonry to General Mills, top organizations use the letter as a part of their visual identities to portray power, purpose and reliability.
Letters have the power to shape our imaginations. Letters not only breathe life into our thoughts, but they have the power to symbolize an array of ideas. The Egyptian hieroglyphs or the ancient cave paintings found in the US are seen as the first attempts to develop a language. Hieroglyphs and pictograms are also seen as the first endeavors to develop an effective mode of communication by our ancestors. The history of English can be traced to Egyptian and Latin hieroglyphs. E, for example, can be traced to Semites’ use of the letter depicted through the image of a human. Similarly, the roots of the letter G, according to experts, possibly lie in the pictogram of a Camel.
From Egypt to Greece to Rome, ancient hieroglyphs have traveled a long way to find themselves in the modern English alphabetical order.
In Physics, both uppercase and lower case Gs are used to denote independent theories. G (uppercase) is used to denote the force of attraction between two unit masses separated by unit distance. Small g denotes the acceleration of an object due to the gravitational force of a massive object or body.
In music, G is the fifth note in the scale of C or the seventh note in the musical alphabet. The G chord has been used to compose some of the greatest songs of all time, such as Hey Joe by Jimmy Hendrix and Nothing Else Matters by Metallica. Here is a popular song by the band Green Day titled Wake Me Up When September Ends
History & Symbolism
There are various schools of thought that shade light on the origin of the letter G. The most accepted theory is that Spurius Carvilius Ruga, a freedman, invented the letter.
Fun Fact: A freedman/woman is a person who has freed himself from slavery by legal means.
According to records, Ruga not only introduced the letter G to the Roman alphabet but was also the first Roman citizen to establish a non-state-run school.
Another theory credits the Greeks as the inventor of the letter. As per the theory, the modern G evolved from the Greek zeta.
Dictionary.com suggests “Both G and C have their origin in the Phoenician letter gimel, which meant ‘camel,’ and looked something like an upside-down V (think of a camel’s hump—which, some believe may have been the inspiration for the letter’s shape). The Phoenicians used gimel to indicate the sound that is equivalent to our present-day G (like the sound in ‘got’).”
Spiritually, the letter G portrays the fire element. The letter also stands for guidance and blood flow. As per the Egyptian school of philosophy, the G symbolizes the brain or Osiris—god of fertility and death. The Egyptians believe that after a person dies in the physical world, he is reborn in the spiritual world with the help of his brain. The brain sprouts up to the spiritual realms making the man immortal after death.
According to Masonic mysticism, G portrays the spiritual sun shining upon the world. As per the Masonic teachings, G is the “letter of light.” The Masonry uses the letter G in their logo to depict the light of God.
How the letter “G” is used in logos
Just like the letter G symbolizes the light of god in the Freemasonry logo, top brands and businesses have used the alphabet to convey various messages. Let us explore what the letter symbolizes when used in a logo:
- Glory: Companies looking to portray themselves as the best in the industry generally do so by using the letter G in their logo.
- Gratitude: The English letter can accurately portray gratitude. NGOs and crowd-sourced companies can use the letter to communicate respect and appreciation.
- Light and wisdom: The Freemasonry logo is a perfect example of an icon depicting light, wisdom and Supreme Power. Religious institutes and other similar organizations can use the letter to portray various aspects of spirituality.
Apart from the above, the Letter G can be used in logos to depict the following:
- Material success
Formerly known as the Gentlemen’s Quarterly, GQ was founded in 1931. The New York-based men’s monthly magazine specializes in men’s fashion, films, fitness, food, sex and culture for men.
Fun fact: In 1967, Gentlemen’s Quarterly was renamed GQ.
The term “metrosexuality” was first coined by the writer Mark Simpson when he visited a GQ exhibition in London. In an article published in a British daily, The Independent, Simpson wrote, “The promotion of metrosexuality was left to the men’s style press, magazines such as The Face, GQ, Esquire, Arena and FHM, the new media which took off in the eighties and is still growing…They filled the magazines with images of narcissistic young men sporting fashionable clothes and accessories. And they persuaded other young men to study them with a mixture of envy and desire”
The GQ logo has gone through three makeovers in its history. The first icon was nothing like we know it today. GQ was known as Apparel Arts when it was first launched in 1931. The magazine’s first wordmark was simple and minimal. The chic wordmark remained with the brand until 1958: the same year the magazine was rebranded as Gentlemen’s Quarterly. The 1958 logo featured two enlarged “GQ” in black in a white background set above the “Gentlemen’s Quarterly” tagline.
The current logo, which has gained an iconic status, was designed in 1967. The current logo features an enlarged G in red and a similar-sized Q in blue. The color scheme and the choice of fonts make the logo stylish, memorable and timeless – elements that make a logo iconic.
In 1897, Guccio Giovanbattista Giacinto Dario Maria Gucci left Florence and settled in London and found work in the legendary Savoy Hotel. As a bellboy in the Savoy, Gucci learned about high-end fashion which included luggage, fabrics, style and traveling conditions.
In 1921, Gucci returned to Florence and bought a shop where he began selling imported leather luggage. From his humble beginnings as a bellboy to owning one of the most iconic fashion and lifestyle brands, Gucci truly has a remarkable story to share.
Created in 1921, the iconic Gucci logo has never changed in its 100-year history. No official logo existed in the company’s initial years; however, Gucci’s son, Aldo Gucci, made it his priority to create a visual identity for the brand that would aptly narrate the brand story. Simple but the extremely stylish interlocked G and C in sans-serif make up one of the most iconic fashion insignias in the world.
Google, one of the most popular search engines in the world, was created by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998 while they were still Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Google began as a research project initially, and today, it can boast about being one of the ‘Big Five’ in the United States IT industry.
Google has also seen its share of criticisms over tax avoidance, privacy and content issues, intellectual property violations and patent infringement.
Fun fact: Scott Hassan, an official third founder, wrote most of the original Google Search Engine codes. However, he left before the company took off.
Google was initially launched as BackRub but was rebranded as Google two years later. The present Google logo was redesigned in 2015. The only thing that was left untouched in the 2015 redesign was the sear engine’s signature color scheme. The present version was designed with mobile screens in mind.
Founded in 1892 by big names such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, Charles A. Coffin, Elihu Thomson and Edwin J. Houston, General Electric Company (GE) is among the largest firms in America today. The company focuses on renewable energy, power, aviation, and healthcare sectors.
One of the top brands in the US is also one of the chief air polluters in the world. With more than 2000 tons of hazardous chemicals being released into the air each year, GE is the fourth-largest air polluter in the US.
Fun fact: Irving Langmuir and Ivar Giaever, both employees of GE, were awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in 1932 and 1973 respectively.
In its 125-year history, the GE visual identity has remained the same, albeit with a few minor changes over the years.
The first GE crest was designed in 1892 and featured a very slick and minimalistic monogram. In 1900, the monogram was placed in an oval frame. The present version of the logo was designed in 2004. The logo’s blue and white color palettes symbolize reliability and confidence. The modern design also adds freshness to the iconic logo.
Guns N’ Roses
Formed in 1985, the Los Angeles-based hard rock band Guns N’ Roses (GNR) shot to fame with their first album Appetite for Destruction. Released in 1987, GNR’s debut album features iconic numbers such as “Sweet Child o Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City.”
Fun Fact: Appetite for Destruction went on to become the number one album on the Billboard 200 in 1988.
The band’s popularity began to decrease in the 1990s which led Slash, the band’s lead guitarist and Axl Rose, GNR’s frontman, to part ways. However, they got back in 2016 to create history once again.
Anyone who has been at a GNR concert knows how electric the environment gets with Slash’s rip-wrenching guitar solos and Rose’s out-of-the-world vocal range.
The present GNR logo has been with the rock band since 1987. The logo reminds one that it was with the amalgamation of two rock bands that GNR was born, namely L.A. Guns and Hollywood Roses. The guns and the roses in the logo portray the emotional extremes projected through the band’s music.
Here is a rock anthem by Guns N’ Roses:
Letters bring meaning to everything we experience. Our thoughts, expressions and the little things we do in our daily lives are brought to life through letters and words. Every letter has taken eons to develop. From pictograms to hieroglyphs to modern-day alphabets, letters have journeyed across time and geographical boundaries to become what it is today.
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