Fox Intercultural Consulting’s Clever Logo
01 Nov 2010
I love logos that play with Chinese characters, and so I really like Fox Intercultural Consulting‘s logo. Here it is (with breakdown):
I never noticed that 咸 looks so much like the word “Fox”! Nice discovery. (Those of you that like to nitpick will notice some discrepancies, though.)
But then, isn’t it kind of weird to use a character that means “salty” for one’s company logo? It turns out that the character 咸 has quite a history, and can mean a lot more than just “salty.”
> The character 咸, from 戌 (xū) ‘destroy’ and 口 (kǒu) ‘mouth’, originally meant ‘bite’.
>> “戌 to hurt 口 with the mouth” –Karlgren.
> Then 咸 was borrowed for a word meaning ‘all, entirely’ (now rare), which happened to be pronounced the same. 咸 xián is also the name of the hexagram ䷞, variously translated as ‘Influence’ (Legge), ‘Wooing’ (Wilhelm), and ‘Cutting’ (Kerson Huang).
> The full form for xián ‘salty’ is 鹹, composed of 鹵 (lǔ) ‘salt’ and 咸 xián phonetic. 鹹 is simplified to 咸 by dropping 鹵, so now 咸 most commonly occurs as the simple form for xián ‘salty’.
More on hexagram ䷞ from Wikipedia:
> Hexagram 31 is named 咸 (xián), “Conjoining”. Other variations include “influence (wooing)” and “feelings”. Its inner trigram is ☶ (艮 gèn) bound = (山) mountain, and its outer trigram is ☱ (兌 duì) open = (澤) swamp.
So not only does 咸 represent one of the hexagrams from the I Ching, but its meaning is actually pretty relevant to Fox Intercultural Consulting’s business. Not too shabby!
With this post I’ve started using the tag “characterplay,” and also tagged previous relevant entries. Characterplay is a lot like wordplay, except that characterplay is entirely visual, whereas wordplay often relies on homophones which, when spelled out, are often quite distinct.