The Challenge: Create a memorable, globally recognized name for wireless internet
20 years ago, the world was about to be introduced to a life-changing technology: wireless internet. Leading tech companies of the time, including Lucent, 3Com, and Nokia, formed the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (now the Wi-Fi Alliance) to govern this new technology. The Alliance knew that the existing, unwieldy name would be a barrier to adoption, so they turned to the founders of Salt for help. They needed a name that was easy to say and understand, felt like a technology, but also felt completely accessible to a global audience including. Above it needed to be memorable — people should know one name in order to access internet around the world.
The Solution: Brand naming & logo design
Salt, Kelton’s Brand Strategy division, developed the Wi-Fi name to intentionally evoke an established term from an existing technology: HiFi. With the familiar form and cadence of HiFi (short for “High Fidelity” in the world of audio), Wi-Fi fell easily and naturally into the vernacular. It originally stood for “Wireless Fidelity” — in fact, the name was launched with the tagline, “The Standard in Wireless Fidelity” — but was later dropped as the term took on its own unique definition.
The enduring power of a great name
To accompany the name, we developed a visually distinctive yin and yang logo, featuring inverse thought bubbles to symbolize cross-device communication. The logo emphasized the name’s pronunciation and was designed for easy application — particularly at very small sizes — on any kind of consumer device. The combined name and logo became the essential ingredients for a great brand with the ability to stand the test of time.
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