Clivia Systems
Company  Activities  Technology  Resources  
  Origin of the Trillium Name

Origin of the Name




The choice of the name Trillium for my previous company came about because of a mistake :) When we were starting the company in 1988 we asked our friends and relatives for suggestions. At one point we had over 50 names we were considering. Jeff's wife was reading a science fiction book at the time. It was titled "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. To give you a sense of the story here is a quote from the introduction:


"It is also the story of a book, a book called The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy-not an Earth book, never published on Earth, and until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or even heard of by any Earthman. Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book. In fact, it was probably the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor-of which no Earthman had ever heard either.  Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly successful one-more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things to Do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters, Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is This God Person Anyway? In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galatica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.


On page 43 the character Trillian is introduced. Jeff's wife suggested the name Trillian. It sounded interesting and then Jeff forgot about it. A few days later Jeff picked up a dictionary to see what some of the names people suggested may have meant. Jeff looked for trillian and could only find trillium. Jeff thought he misheard his wife and figured she must have meant trillium (even though he read the book himself). The definition of trillium is:


Any liliaceous herb of the genus trillium having a whorl of three leaves from the center of which rises a solitary flower.


In addition to trillium some of the other finalists we considered were: condor, summit, procyon, starling, digicon, unicomm, unitech, network engines. Larisa and Jeff agreed on Trillium. It sounds hi-tech and the tri (for three) was nice symbolically. Early on there was another person that joined us a little more than a year after we started and then left to do some other things a couple of years later. The funny thing is we also thought Trillium would be a fairly unique name. We learned that wasn't quite the case as we found many companies with Trillium as part of their name.


The logo is a different story. The first logo was simply a stylized typeface. When we started the company we needed to print a small brochure and some letterhead. We didn't have a lot of money so we went to a graphics store and bought some stick on letters for about $5. We gave the letters to the printer who then arranged them on a piece of paper and voila! we created Trillium's logo from 1988 to 1995.


The second logo was created by a graphics designer in 1995. Some of the meaning we spun around the second logo included:  There are a number of individual lines that when combined form a structure (i.e. the triangle). Another way to say it: out of individual pieces emerges form; The interlocking lines represent various protocol layers (even though there are more than the 7 of the OSI reference model. We couldn't figure out how to do the triangle with only 7 lines); The triangle has a wide base which provides a firm and stable foundation upon which to build things.


It sounds a little silly but at the time it was an interesting exercise trying to put words to a simple image we wanted to represent our company. We also had the discussion about shortening our formal corporate name to Trillium. In hindsight we are glad we didn't. All you have to do today is try using a search engine on the Web for Trillium. You will be buried by references. The full name provided a unique key that distinguished us from everybody else out there.


(c) 2002, Clivia Systems. All rights Reserved.
Last updated: Thursday December 12, 2002, Today's date: