Being a big fan of "logo design" I was wondering where the (La)TeX logo comes from.

enter image description here

I found Custom LaTeX logo explaining how to make my own (La)TeX like logo.

Since everything within (La)TeX seems to follow the rules of typography, I'm pretty sure there is something about how this logo is created.

  • Rico, is this a duplicate of What is the meaning of moved letters on LaTeX logo??
    – doncherry
    Jun 7, 2013 at 10:25
  • oh right its a duplicate. Sorry I did not found this one!
    – Rico
    Jun 7, 2013 at 10:28
  • No problem, I just remembered reading a question like this, but also had trouble finding it. I eventually found it by searching for kilter (a word from the answer here), which I didn’t expect to turn up in too many places but answers to this kind of question :).
    – doncherry
    Jun 7, 2013 at 11:08

1 Answer 1


The TeX bit comes from Don Knuth as he designed the original plain TeX macros, The TeXBook says

On the other hand, it's important to notice another thing about TeX's name: The 'E' is out of kilter. This logo displaced 'E' is a reminder that TeX is about typesetting, and it distinguishes TeX from other system names. In fact, TEX (pronounced tecks) is the admirable Text EXecutive processor developed by Honeywell Information Systems. Since these two system names are pronounced quite differently, they should also be spelled differently. The correct way to refer to TeX in a computer file, or when using some other medium that doesn't allow lowering of the 'E', is to type TeX. Then there will be no confusion with similar names, and people will be primed to pronounce everything properly.

Leslie Lamport added the raised A when naming his system LaTeX. Originally raising it a fixed amount to suit Computer Modern. For LaTeX2e we generalised it a bit so that the A is raised to align at the top so works to some extent with more fonts, although for display fonts (such as the cover of the companion books) the letters still need to be manually kerned to get the best appearance.

  • 3
    Do you suppose the La is for Lamport? Jun 7, 2013 at 9:09
  • 14
    @JohnWickerson you'd have to ask Leslie, but as far as I know for the last 30 years when he's been asked that he has refused to confirm whether it stood for anything:-) Jun 7, 2013 at 9:14

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