Unique, bold, and striking, the letter X logo is the perfect way to improve your business’s visual identity. One of the least used members of the alphabet family, “X” is a powerful letter that has been in use in so many fields, from science and algebra to astronomy and spirituality. It typically represents the unknown and mysterious, but its significance may vary depending on the situation. For example, the same “X” that’s used to mark places on a map or ballot boxes for indicating a choice of candidate is also known for signifying the end of something – typically a person who no longer exists in your life, past, dead, or gone forever. Below, we’ll take a look at some popular brands that have used the letter “X” in their business logo. But before that, here’s a brief on the history of the letter “X” and what it exactly means.
History and Symbolism of the Letter “X”
Before gaining its spiritual significance, X was just a letter in the early alphabet. Gradually, it was used to signify the unknown and a range of concepts in science and algebra. The first alphabet evolved as pictograms changed into symbols that depicted individual sounds. The letter “X” has originated from the Phoenician letter samekh, which stood for the /s/ consonant sound. Between 1000 to 800 BCE, the Greeks named the samekh as chi or khi (χ)—the twenty-second member of the Greek alphabet family, from which “X” developed. “X” also appears in Roman numerals, where each letter stands for a number and X represents 10. If a horizontal stroke is drawn above X, it represents 10,000.
The letter “X” has diverse meanings, ranging from the mysterious, forbidden, and the end to something extra, excess, and extraordinary. It can also have mystical, scientific, and linguistic significance. For instance, when physicist Wilhelm Röntgen developed a new form of radiation in the 1890s, he named it X-rays because he couldn’t thoroughly understand them. The X chromosome in genetics was named for its singular characteristics by early researchers.
Coming to the tech world, the simple letter “X” has so much meaning. Do you own an iPhone X? Perhaps you’ve invested in some bitcoin and constantly checking the price of XɃT. Or perhaps you’re excited to watch your first XFL game. What do all these things have in common? Yes, it’s the letter “X” – the mystery behind something you buy, watch or you’ve invested into.
Xbox, a video gaming company created and owned by Microsoft Corporation, is named after a series of consoles introduced by the same company. It is also famous for bringing together streaming services, apps, and other online resources. While the Xbox logo has undergone as many as ten modifications throughout its 20-year tenure, it has always remained consistent in its core.
First launched in November 2001 in the United States, the debut Xbox logo included the word “XBOX” and a striking X-shaped star beside it. Its ancestral design was developed in 1999, which consisted of the lowercase typeface “Xbox” in thin geometrical letters, similar to an electronic, robotic style. The current version is a monochrome emblem in black. A big black ball with diagonally intersecting white stripes is positioned above the wordmark.
The lettering has developed from digital geometric characters to a personalized typeface called X360. Last updated in 2019, the logo is simple and focused, aiming to attract adolescents and young people – their target audience.
Founded in 1906 as The Haloid Photographic Company, Xerox got its current name in 1961. One of the planet’s biggest document management agencies, the brand wouldn’t be successful without its former Haloid and Haloid era, which had five different emblem designs. The initial Haloid logo featured a monochrome design where a horizontally stretched oval with a wordmark was positioned over a classic torch.
The lettering featured a custom handwritten typeface with sharp serifs on the bold lines. In 1961, Lippincott created the original Xerox logo after the company removed the “Haloid” from its brand name. It was a sleek and modern black logo in a custom serif typeface. Here, the lines of both the “X” were elongated and somewhat curved in their bottom sections. The “Corporation” was written at the base in all capitals of a statement sans-serif font.
Chermayeff & Geismar added the capital letter XEROX wordmark, almost seven years later. The emblem was further changed to red in 1994 and Landor incorporated a corporate signature with the digital “X” to signify the transition of documents between digital platforms and the paper. After a series of changes in the following years, the brand decided in 2019 to opt for a single logotype, retaining the style and color palette of the earlier version, but dropping the emblem. The bright red lowercase logotype on a white background looks strong and confident, evoking a sense of perfection and professionalism.
The XFL is a professional American football league owned and organized by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment. Its predecessor is the previous XFL, controlled by the World Wrestling Federation and NBC, which ran for a single season in 2001. The XFL’s brand identity doesn’t have a major record of redesigns and modifications, since the league was not operating for long seventeen years. With its resurgence in 2018, the league has taken its debut logo and slightly modified it. The very first XFL logo was launched in 2000, which featured a bold serif lettermark in scarlet-red with a huge black “X” as the key element. The emblem looked simple yet motivating, evoking a sense of thrill, excitement, and fighting spirit.
The redesign of 2018 retained the original logo design with its “X” and red lettermark but changed the color palette. The revised logotype features a double white and blue outline, with a super-bold italicized typeface. The “X” in the background is now blue and has a thin white and red outline, beautifully balancing the colors of the inscription. The thicker fonts and prominent outlines make the logo more noticeable and impactful than its previous version.
The X-Files, the famous American science-fiction television series, which aired on the Fox Broadcasting Company network (1993–2002, 2016, and 2018) had a huge number of followers and won three Golden Globe Awards for best drama. The series was based on the professional experience of two FBI special agent characters, Fox Mulder (done by David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (done by Gillian Anderson), who were entrusted with investigations of mysterious and unsolved cases known as X-Files. The supernatural or paranormal nature of the strange cases was represented by the letter “X” in their title logo. The bold and capital black fonts on a white background depict the seriousness of the unsolved cases, while the red circle around the letter “X” represents their deep mystery.
The 2019 rebranding of the X-Men comics series, from both design and storytelling perspectives, aimed to give a new lease of life to the iconic franchise. Author Jonathan Hickman and artists R.B. Silva, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia, transformed the status of the mutant marvels while preserving their original stories with a mind-boggling reality storyline. This revised story direction came with a bold branding strategy for the X-Men franchise.
This latest X-Men brand identity was designed by Tom Muller and was a far cry from the old comic book-inspired logo. The new logo had a more structured, minimalist, and futuristic design system, heavily inspired by Swiss design. The new “X” does to Marvel what a simple tick does to Nike. One look and you know that the power brand is close by. The bold, angled, simple strokes create a striking look that’s noticed by everyone.
In the words of Muller, “It was important for everyone that we struck the right balance between being new and future-facing whilst keeping that clear X-Men ‘X’ recognizable and build on the foundations of the X brand.”
These are some of the most renowned and notable brands that made the most of their letter “X” logos. Sharp, bold, and mysterious, there’s something about the letter “X” that makes their brand stand out from the rest.
Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.