Two Languages, One Logo


  1. I think that’s a slightly prettier — and more difficult, since the French and Arabic scripts are totally different — analog to the old Canadian Airlines logo, where the a (English) and e (French) were replaced by the logo, which could be interpreted either way.

    I notice that several Canadian brands (including Air Canada) have named themselves to work in either language. Soap retailer Fruits & Passion is a good example. Using an ampersand instead of “and” or “et” lets the words work in French and English.

  2. That’s neat Darren.. Official use of languages is one of the things I least expect, but *always* notice, no matter where I am. I noticed it during my first trip to Europe – I was amazed at the sense of relief I felt when I arrived in Ireland and saw an official sign with English on one side and not-English (Irish in this case) on the other.

    Packaging in particular often looks “off” to me if it is just written in one language…

    Don’t know how well that feeling would translate with non-roman languages – I was one of those people who when confronted with written Greek was stunned to realise that Greek *really is* Greek…forget trying to sound it out or find familiar looking words! (ie. Price Preis Prix Precio, Preco Prezzo)

  3. Once you get the hang of how a Greek or Cyrillic alphabet is pronounced, it’s not that crazy. Certainly less difficult than Arabic or Chinese.

    I learned a bit of Russian before traveling there in 1985 (in the last days of Communism — Gorbachev had just come to power), and just being able to sound out the letters made things much less difficult. When you look at PECTOPAH and realize that it’s pronounced RYESTORAN, it’s a little simpler to figure out what the sign means.

  4. The two-sides-of-the-cereal box thing bugs me for some reason when I shop. I don’t like all of those little moments of confusion where you look on two or three sides of the box to find the label or ingredients list in English.

    Pick a language.

    But worse still is the labeling where both languages are represented in one name/sentence, as in:

    white [product] blanc

  5. Remember, as well, that Arabic reads right to left, so it’s probably less confusing than if both words were reading the same way.

    There’s an episode of Trailer Park Boys where Ricky asks someone to pick him up some “Zesty Mordant” chips. I have to admit that this dual language packaging joke went completely over my head until a few weeks later when I saw the relevant product in the grocery store.

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