It's one of those logos you see pretty much every day, and it's just a pointy 'B', right? Unsurprisingly, we rarely stop to ponder the design for everyone's favourite wireless technology standard. But 20 years on from its first appearance, the internet is only just discovering the fascinating story behind Bluetooth's logo (and name).
According to one of the engineers behind the development of the technology, the name Bluetooth comes from a Viking-era king famous for having a troublesome tooth. And not only that, but like many of the best logos of all time, the icon itself is also hiding a secret.
According to France24, engineers Sven Mattisson and Jim Kardach were working on the tech in the 1990s and realised it needed a catchy name to make it stand out from the confusing variety of wireless tech being developed concurrently. The two men "talked at length" about Vikings, including the king of Denmark, Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson – a name said to refer to his dead tooth.
The king is most famous for uniting Norway and Denmark, a parallel which delighted Mattisson and Kardach who were "seeking to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link" (exactly the same as uniting two warring nations).
It turns out the logo design actually contains two letters. What you're looking at is a superimposition of the Nordic runes for the letters H and B (below), for 'Harald Bluetooth' (below).
And it seems Twitter is delighted by the revelation, with many users declaring themselves to have been 'today years old' when they discovered Bluetooth's Nordic roots:
got bluetooth ?then you got the viking kings name of Denmark in your pocket.Bluetooth logo is made from 2 rune letters. H & B.for the Danish Viking King.Harald Bluetooth. from whom i descent myself.January 27, 2022
I always think that Bluetooth is spelled, like, BluTooth, because I thought it was some tech-company coinage, but apparently it's named after 10th-century Danish King Harald Bluetooth and the logo is not just a stylized B, it's a combination of the runes ᚼ and ᛒ, his initials.February 6, 2021
We love a good old hidden logo message – and from Gillette to Walmart, we've seen plenty of them lately. And if you fancy putting Bluetooth to good use, our list of the best wireless headphones is here to help you channel your inner Viking king.