This summer, Rubicon® will celebrate 10 years of being incorporated. As we look toward the future, we’re also taking the time to reflect on the past—and the development of our unique logo is an important part of that.

Solomon’s knot. That was the inspiration for Rubicon’s current logo, a rotation of green (“strong opal,” to be precise) lowercase R’s. That’s what designer and brand strategist Mark Forscher explained to me when I sat down to speak with him recently about the logo design that he came up with for our company.

Solomon's knot represented in an ancient Roman mosaic located in Aquileia, Italy.
Solomon’s knot represented in an ancient Roman mosaic located in Aquileia, Italy.

Forscher, a Brooklyn-based designer with nearly 15 years of experience in the graphics and design industry who, before going solo, lead design teams at ABC News, Newsweek Digital, and Code & Theory, told us that working on Rubicon’s logo and brand redesign was one of his favorite projects.

Connected to our Founder and CEO, Nate Morris, by Rubicon board member and Founding CTO of Uber, Oscar Salazar, Forscher told us that when he first started talking to Nate and others at Rubicon about their vision for the new logo, it was clear that they wanted something that represented Rubicon as the technology company that it is.

The Roman Influence

In designing the new Rubicon logo and choosing the company’s new brand typography and color pallete, Forscher leaned heavily on the influence of the Roman Empire, something our CEO wanted to highlight for a number of reasons.

The Romans are the first-known ancient civilization to recycle. In 2010 British researchers Harriet Foster and Caroline Jackson found that there were hints of color from previously blown glass in colorless glass dating back to Roman times. This indicates that the Romans were adding previously-produced glass into the raw material from which they made new glass products.

Unlike today, the reason for this would have been less to do with sustainability and environmentalism and more to do with a shortage of raw glass in certain regions of the Roman Empire. According to a 2011 Scientific American article by anthropologist Krystal D’Costa, Foster and Jackson found that widespread recycling did not appear to be common across the region until approximately 70 AD. As this was a period of strong military activity across the empire, “Foster and Jackson suggest that one possible explanation for the rise in recycling might have stemmed from material availability… local glassworkers would have had to rely on melting already existing products, finding a creative means of meeting demands in the face of a material shortage.”

Alternatively, D’Costa notes, recycling glass in the Roman times could have had a sustainability element as well for manufacturers needing to be conscious about how much fuel they were using. “Melting sand to produce glass would have required temperatures of approximately 2,000 degrees-Celsius. Remelting worked glass could be done at lower relative temperatures,” notes D’Costa.

The name “Rubicon” comes from Julius Caesar and the story of his army’s crossing of the Rubicon River, which took place in ancient Rome in 49 BC. Famous as a symbol that precipitated the Roman Civil War, “crossing the Rubicon” is used in popular culture as an idiom that means to “pass a point of no return.”

Rubicon’s Mission to End Waste

Returning to modern times, Forscher told us that after researching the Roman influence on recycling (as well as sanitation—ancient Rome’s complex system of sewers, aqueducts, public fountains, and baths were the most advanced in the world at the time), he recognized a similarity between ancient Rome’s legacy as being ahead of its time and how Rubicon will be remembered as the company that ended waste in all its forms, blazing a trail today.

“After speaking with Nate a number of times it became clear to me that Rubicon is a company that truly lives its values. Rubicon is a technology company first and foremost, and I wanted to make sure I could represent this with the fonts, colors, and angles I used, while at the same time embodying their bold company mission,” said Forscher. “After getting the brief I looked at Greco-Roman art, pottery, and sculptures before landing on Solomon’s knot as the inspiration for what ultimately become the new Rubicon logo.”

You may notice that unlike Solomon’s knot, which is made up of two closed loops which are doubly interlinked, creating the look of four loops (or lowercase R’s), Rubicon’s logo is comprised of just three loops. This was both an aesthetic and strategic decision. After Forscher developed several draft iterations of the logo, we all agreed that the logo looked better with just three loops, plus we recognized that the three R’s could also stand, rather handily, for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—the core building blocks of our mission.

Here at Rubicon we are proud of our mission to end waste, in all its forms. Our logo represents who we are as a company, and we look forward to continuing on this mission as we look toward the future of the waste and recycling industry.

Elizabeth Montoya is Vice President of Investor Relations at Rubicon, and is one of the longest-serving team members and leaders in the company’s history. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.