Today, thanks to a distinctive euro-symbol design chosen from a shortlist presented to the general public, the euro symbol and the euro name are recognised worldwide, as befits a major world currency.
A symbol for Europe
Inspiration for the € symbol itself came from the Greek epsilon (Є) – a reference to the cradle of European civilisation – and the first letter of the word Europe, crossed by two parallel lines to ‘certify’ the stability of the euro.
The euro symbol was created by the European Commission according to three criteria:
The copyright for the euro symbol belongs to the European Community, represented by the European Commission, which encourages its use as a currency designator in a wide sense. However, the Commission is opposed to the registration of the symbol as part of a trademark, since this could restrict the appropriate use of the euro symbol by other parties.
Notwithstanding this general principle, where logos containing the euro symbol are sufficiently creative and different from the official euro symbol, the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs) has, on occasion, agreed to register these as trademarks.
The success of the euro as a currency worldwide owes a small debt to the unique and memorable symbol of the currency. People and organisations are encouraged to use the name and symbol – to spread the word, so to speak – in their day-to-day business.
The euro 'rules'
The Heads of State and Government meeting in Madrid in 1995 chose the name ‘euro’ as it symbolises ‘Europe’. There are certain rules on the use of the term 'euro':
A list of the standard spellings in each language of the words ‘euro’ and ‘cent’ in the nominative form, both singular and plural, is provided here .
On many computers the euro symbol can be obtained with the <ctrl>+<alt>+e keystrokes.
The term ‘euro area’ is the official term in English for the group of countries that have adopted the euro as their single currency. All other terms, such as ‘euroland’ and ‘eurozone’, are discouraged in the official language style guide.
The euro logo can be constructed using yellow on a clear background or yellow on a blue background. For four-colour printing, graphic artists should use ‘Yellow 100’ for the yellow, and ‘Cyan 100’ plus ‘Magenta 80’ for the blue. If the Pantone Matching System (PMS) is used, the colours that apply are ‘PMS Yellow’ and ‘PMS Reflex Blue’.