http://www.aa.org/lang/en/subpage.cfm?page=287#cincoQ: What is the story behind the Circle and Triangle logo?
A: The Circle and Triangle symbol has long been connected to the A.A. Fellowship. It was adopted as an official A.A. symbol at the International Convention in St. Louis in 1955, and from that point on was widely used in the Fellowship. For the Fellowship, the three legs of the triangle represented the Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service, and the circle symbolized the world of A.A. In Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, Bill W.’s 1955 speech, in which he describes the adoption of the symbol, is printed:
“Above us floats a banner on which is inscribed the new symbol for A.A., a circle enclosing a triangle. The circle stands for the whole world of A.A., and the triangle stands for A.A.’s Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service. Within our wonderful new world, we have found freedom from our fatal obsession. That we have chose this particular symbol is perhaps no accident. The priests and seers of antiquity regarded the circle enclosing the triangle as a means of warding off the spirits of evil, and A.A.’s circle and triangle of Recovery, Unity, and Service has certainly meant all of that to us and much more.” (p. 139)
Nevertheless, in the early 1990s, A.A.W.S. decided to phase out the use of the Circle and Triangle symbol on its literature, letterhead and other material. It was decided to phase out the “official” or “legal” use of the Circle and Triangle symbol, and in 1994 the General Service Conference resolved that the logo be discontinued on all Conference-approved literature. However, the symbol is still associated with Alcoholics Anonymous (and other kinds of 12-Step recovery fellowships) and has a special meaning for AA members all over the world.(Frequently Asked Questions about AA's History)
From Box 4-5-9, Aug/Sep 1993, “Letting Go of the Circle & Triangle as a Legal Mark”a little explanation of the ‘why?” is offered:
http://www.aa.org/lang/en/en_pdfs/en_bo ... sept93.pdf“Adopted at the 20th Anniversary International Convention in St. Louis, the circle and triangle was registered as an official AA mark in 1955, and had been widely used by various AA entities. By the mid-1980’s, however, it had also begun to be used by outside organizations, such as novelty manufacturers, publishers, and occasionally treatment centers.... In keeping with the Sixth Tradition... AAWS board began in 1986 to contact outside entities that were using the circle and triangle... 170 unauthorized users were contacted, two suits were filed, and both settled... “
The article goes on to state the choice our Fellowship was faced with for the other 168... Give up the logo, or spend time & money on costly litigation, money which could be helping suffering Alcoholics instead.
The 1993 General Service Conference discussed the pros & cons, and the application of Traditions One to Six, Eleven & Twelve and our Fifth Warranty (12th Concept), Concept 7 (our Charter’s Legal Authority) as well as the Public Controversy (Tradition 10) the law suits would generate...
And deemed it wasn’t worth fighting to keep compared to the welfare of AA & Voted so to drop it at the 1994 General Service Conference
Besides, AA was Not the first to use the symbol (For instance, York Rite Masons have been using it long before AA, and giving credit to those long gone)
(Box 4-5-9, Dec 1993) http://www.aa.org/lang/en/en_pdfs/en_bo ... sept93.pdf“A triangle, enclosed within a circle, has long been recognized as one symbol of Alcoholics Anonymous. Yet, both the triangle and the circle are among tbe earliest spiritual signs known to man. To ancient Egyptians, the triangle was a sign of creative intellect; to the Greeks, it meant wisdom. In general, it represents an upward yearning after higher knowledge or spiritual realm.”
PS: Dec 1993 Grapevine has additional details in “Around AA: Whatever Happened to the Circle & Triangle?”