SAPVoice: The Unlikely Story Behind An Iconic Tech Logo


About that backwards y…

Inquiring minds want to know: Why not some variation of “H” or “Hy”, instead of the backwards “y”? Turns out, there’s a method behind this logo madness.

“If we went down that path, we felt that there would be no humor and therefore no point to any of it,” said Flaccus. “It was very funny to take the second letter mainly because ‘y’ is the most interesting letter in the word hybris. It’s also the letter that feels the most like it’s part of a formula. We always wanted to base the brand on emotional pillars. Every single step of the brand creation should be based on something you can emotionally connect to.”

Connecting back to the business

As creative and irreverent as the hybris logo might be, it still connects back to the business, if you know where to look. Think about the cloud activity happening throughout the industry, for instance. The hybris logo works well in this context because it signifies a light tool to do heavy lifting.

“That’s why I think it’s the right logo for a modern business,” said Flaccus. “Hybris founder Carsten Thoma always stressed the importance of treating customers as partners. More customers do implementations themselves and expect to have a fair pricing model instead of one big time license deal. It’s all about lightweight solutions that are simplified to the max of what you really need.”

It’s all Greek to me

In addition to simplicity, it’s hard to ignore the slightly Greek vibe of the logo, an intentional choice that emphasizes the Greek name of the source, “hybris” the translation of which means not being aware of your own limits or overestimating your own skills.

“Coincidentally, that’s what hubris or hybris literally stands for,” said Flaccus, who insists that was the fun of it.

“When we started hybris we were just 21, and the competition was so established — they already owned big skyscrapers. It was quite insane to challenge them. But with every challenge, you can only succeed if you have the confidence in yourself, even if it might seem unrealistic. Either you go for it or you don’t. We thought our goals at the time were impossible and that’s why we chose to name our company the way we did.”

To learn more about the history of the SAP Hybris logo, listen to the recent podcast “Why the Y?” with SAP Hybris President and Co-Founder Carsten Thoma.

Y not follow me on twitter @TClark01?

This story also appeared on the SAP Community.

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