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The Bluetooth logo has an awesome secret message

Bluetooth logo
(Image credit: Fabrik Brands)

Ah, the trusty Bluetooth logo. It's just a pointy 'B', right? Like most of the countless logos we set eyes on every single day, we've hardly stopped to ruminate on the design for everyone's favourite wireless technology standard. But two decades on from its deployment, the internet is just discovering the fascinating story behind Bluetooth's name and logo.

According to one of the engineers behind the development of Bluetooth, the name belongs to a Viking-era king with a bad tooth. And not only that, but like many of the best logos of all time, the icon is hiding a secret message. 

Bluetooth logo

The Bluetooth logo actually contains two letters (Image credit: iPhone Hacks)

Engineers Sven Mattisson Jim Kardach were working on the technology in the late 1990s when they realised it needed a catchy name to make it stand out from the confusing plethora of wireless tech being developed at the time. And the concept of 'Bluetooth' was, like all the best ideas, devised over a beer.

According to France24, the two men began discussing history while drowning their sorrows after a disappointing pitch. They "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" (which is, of course, exactly the same as bringing warring nations together).

But it isn't just the name that has a surprising history – the Bluetooth logo is also hiding a secret. It turns out the design actually contains two letters, rather than just a slightly insect-like B. What you're actually looking at is a superimposition of the Nordic runes for the letters H and B (below), for 'Harald Bluetooth'.

Bluetooth logo

H + B = Bluetooth (Image credit: Fabrik Brands)

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:

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We love a good old hidden logo message – if you're looking for more, you'll find no less than 50 of them in this mind-blowing infographic covering everything from Amazon's secret smile to perhaps the most famous example of the lot in the FedEx arrow. 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. 

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).