This handy infographic, Origins of Common UI Symbols, was put together by Sofya Yampolsky, Warm Gun, and 500 Startups to explain just that. And even self-professed tech geeks will learn something.
For instance, did you know that the Bluetooth symbol is based upon Danish king Harald Blåtand Gormsen? “Blåtand” translates to “Bluetooth.” There are many theories behind the name, the most delicious of which is that the king had an obsession with blueberries, so much so that his consumption stained one tooth blue. Whether that was actually the case or not, the modern Bluetooth symbol is based upon the story. The original Bluetooth hardware had a tooth-like shape and it was blue, making it a no-brainer to immortalize the two runes representing the king’s initials for the logo.