Abuses of Lambda, by Design


Again and again I see the Greek capital letter lambda, Λ, standing in for the English (latin) letter capital A. You know, in trendy logos for film studios, web consultants and the like.

This is a sin against typography and it must stop!

When I’m reading, it just trips me up to see a capital lambda in the middle of English text. Yeah yeah, it looks cute and it introduces all sorts of amusing design possibilities, but it’s just bad writing.

I feel a tiny bit guilty about this rant because the most recent example I observed was Transitive:

who just happen to be one of the sponsors for the UKUUG Spring Conference at Birmingham where I am giving a talk. On guess what? Lambda.

Ooh I just found another one (I knew there was a good reason to delay publishing this article):

Navarre logo

and they commit the additional sin of using a Greek capital letter xi. Is there no end to this madness!

[A couple of month’s later Dyalog send me an e-mail inviting me to their corporate headquarters]

Dyalog logo

5 Responses to “Abuses of Lambda, by Design”

  1. ewx Says:

    I think I’d interpret the Navarre example as using highly stylized Roman letters rather than Greek ones. All the other letters being fairly traditional designs in the Transitive example mean it’s harder to imagine that as an explanation however.

  2. Clive Says:

    IAWTC (ewx’s)

  3. Gareth Rees Says:

    I see you’re “Dave Jones” to John Pinner.

  4. Nick Barnes Says:

    I’m with ewx on Navarre; I don’t think that’s a Xi at all.
    But yes, it’s all over the place and it’s generally evil. Maybe not as evil as “Se7en”.

  5. mjb67 Says:

    Or Numb3rs

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