Last updated 11/26/07
Lucent Technologies enso
Lucent Technologies ink brush circle logo
Traditional Zen Buddhist enso
A traditional  Zen Buddhist enso (sumi circle)

Where did Lucent Technologies find its logo?

According to Lucent's graphic designers, the logo the designed for Lucent "is an example of a simple mandala, which is a style of design in Buddhism and Hinduism." In a memo to Lucent on January 19, 1996 - the month before Lucent publicly unveiled their logo - they noted that the logo's communications are "most relevant to certain Eastern religions, particularly Japanese Zen Buddhism". As an example of the design in its traditional application, the graphic designers also sent Lucent a photocopy of the cover of R.H. Blyth's book on Zen Buddhism which features such a circle - known in Zen Buddhist sumi art as the "enso."

Lucent's corporate identity manual requires the logo circle to be rendered in black or red, the same two colors universally used in sumi ink painting in China, Japan, and elsewhere.

For some reason, Lucent has elsewhere claimed that the logo's derivation from the Zen Buddhist enso, or sumi circle, is actually a case of accidental parallel development. Zen Buddhist artists developed their sumi circle, and Lucent developed theirs.

The sumi circle has historically been associated with Buddhist practice and art. Lucent's international marketing organization plans to re-associate the sumi circle with millions of their products around the world, as they have done in this flyer. These images from their corporate identity manual show the "not a sumi" circle used on a phone, a delivery truck, on junk mail, on a baseball cap, a coffee mug, a sports bag, and overheads. For most people, the sumi circle will cease to be a symbol of Zen or spiritualiy or art, but rather the symbol for a telephone manufacturer.

You can write or email Lucent Technologies officials concerning their appropriation of the enso:

Henry B. Schacht, Chairman and CEO 
Lucent Technologies Inc. 
600 Mountain Avenue 
Murray Hill, NJ  07974-0636 
(recently fired - replacement yet to be determined)
Richard A. McGinn, President and COO 
Lucent Technologies Inc. 
600 Mountain Avenue 
Murray Hill, NJ  07974-0636
Send a comment via Lucent corporate communications.
Send email to Lucent Technologies Investor Relations.
Read letters sent to Lucent by people who visited this web site. (published by permission of the authors)

Imagine if Lucent had "borrowed" a Christian symbol, instead of a Buddhist one.


Information and Essays on Corporate Power
Corporate Watch

Other symbols that have been de-sacrilized

Nike desecrates a Muslim symbol.
Desecration of American Indian symbols by professional sports team franchises.
History of the swastika (scroll down to "Swastika"): "Hitler's use of the Swastika on the flag of National Socialist Germany has besmirched the Swastika. But the Swastika continues to hold a religious significance for the Hindus"

Please feel free to contact the author of this page, Rob Weinberg.


"Lucent", "Lucent Technology", "Lucent Technologies", the Lucent Technologies red logo, the Lucent Technologies black logo, the Lucent Technologies cup logo, Lucent Technologies sports bag logo, Lucent Technologies junkman logo, Lucent Technologies delivery truck logo, Lucent Technologies telephone logo, Lucent Technologies baseball cap logo, Lucent Technologies coffee mug logo, Lucent Technologies flyer logo, are all property of Lucent Technologies. sumi_links