SIL International introduces new logo

(July 2014) SIL International is pleased to introduce a newly-revised logo. In the course of its eighty-year history, SIL’s logo has been through several changes. The new logo maintains a connection with the organization’s history while adapting to changing technology.

SIL’s original logo reflects the organization’s roots in Mexico, the first country where SIL’s founder Cameron Townsend and a small group of linguistics trainees began engaging with local communities in research and language development. The original logo was based on a mosaic created for SIL’s Mexico City office in in the 1950s. The artwork honored Mexico’s rich linguistic and cultural heritage with a design that represented the Aztec calendar and an Aztec king in a traditional style. The glyph (letter) emerging from the king’s mouth symbolized language.

The letters ‘I,’ ‘L’ and ‘V’ at the points of the pyramid stood for Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (Townsend’s training program). The pyramid shape also related to SIL’s three-fold purpose at the time:

  • Scientific service through language development
  • Physical service through practical community development and access to knowledge
  • Spiritual service through the translation of Scripture into local languages.



In 1975 a new logo was introduced. The new design had a simplified, modern look, but retained the reference to the original logo’s Aztec calendar and pyramid as a circle and triangle. Two subsequent updates (2000 and 2004) added a blue background and incorporated some adjustments to typography.


SIL’s new logo continues the trend towards simpler design. The updated logo reflects an important new reality: around the world, more and more people, even in remote areas, are accessing the Internet with handheld devices. In many places, basic feature phones are the most popular tool for browsing the web. With serving as our global campus and access point for software, fonts and publications, it was time to streamline the logo to meet the needs of advancing technology. The new logo was selected for its ability to display clearly on a small screen.

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