The notes share the same designs across all countries in the euro area. The coins have a common design on one side and a country-specific design on the other.
The euro symbol
Like all currencies the euro has a name and a symbol:
- the name – the euro – was chosen by the European Council meeting in Madrid in 1995 as part of the preparations for the single currency
- the euro symbol – € – was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon (Є), a reference to the cradle of European civilisation . It also stands for the first letter of the word ‘Europe’ in the Latin alphabet, while the two parallel lines running through the symbol signify stability
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 euro 'rules'
There are certain rules on the use of the term 'euro':
- the name of the single currency must be the same in all the official languages of the EU, taking into account the different alphabets. This is to ensure consistency and to avoid confusion in the single market
- in all EU legal texts, the nominative singular spelling must be 'euro' in all languages ('ευρώ' in Greek alphabet; 'евро' in Cyrillic alphabet). Plural forms and declensions are accepted as long as they do not change the 'eur-' root
- in documents other than EU legal texts, including national legislation, other spellings are accepted according to the various grammatical rules used in each language
- the definition of the name ‘cent’ (in Greek, 'λεπτό'; in Bulgarian ' цент') does not prevent the use of variants of this term in common usage in the Member States
- the ISO code for the euro is EUR, to be used with figures referring to amounts in euro when the euro symbol is not used
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.
Constructing the euro symbol – for professionals
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’.