20 Famous Logos With Hidden Messages You Never Would Have Noticed

These logo designers are next-level clever.

It is the number one goal of every marketing department to ensure their brand is easily distinguishable by their logo. This logo also needs to conveys a certain message to the consumer, all within a couple of fleeting seconds. 

Take a look at some of the logos you have undoubtedly seen, and hear why experts think they are so effective.

1. McDonald’s

© McDonald’s

Of course, first and foremost, the “M” logo stands for McDonald’s. BUT, according to design consultant and psychologist Louis Cheskin, the curved M could also represent a pair of round, nourishing breasts. For this reason, in the 1960s, McDonald’s considered moving away from the logo, but Cheskin successfully convinced the company to keep it for its Freudian symbolism.

2. FedEx

© FedEx

Have you ever noticed that the white space in between the orange letters “E” and “X” forms an arrow? This isn’t an accident. The subtle use of the arrow is meant to symbolize speed and accuracy, which are the two guiding principles of the company.

3. Greenlabs

© The Green Labs

In this logo, the crown of the tree is represented by a brain to emphasize the intelligence behind the Greenlabs brand. Using the colour green also creatives a seamless connection to the company’s name.

4. Hope for African Children Initiative

© Hope for African Children Initiative

This is a very clever logo as it tells a clear story visually. If you look closely, you can see both the outline of the African continent and the image of a child looking up to an adult, with the inference that they are now being cared for.

5. Milwaukee Brewers

© Milwaukee Brewers

If you didn’t know who the Milwaukee Brewers were, the baseball glove made up of their initials tells the story of the Wisconsin-based professional baseball team in one glance.

6. Amazon

© Amazon

The Amazon logo does seems straight forward; it’s simply stating the web address of the hugely successful online store. BUT, the yellow arrow joining the letters “A” and “Z” is subtly telling customers that they have everything from A – Z on their site.

7. Carrefour

© Carrefour

The largest European retailer has its headquarters in France, which is why Carrefour’s logo is made in the colors of the French flag. You can also see the first initial of the company’s name every time you look at the logo.

8. Yoga Australia

© Roy Smith Design

Yoga Australia is another great example of using the logo to tell the story. The woman’s yoga pose is obvious, but within the white space of her body is the country of Australia.

9. Baskin Robbins

© Baskin-Robbins

You may have never noticed that the pink sections of letters “B” and “R” form the number 31. This is a subtle reference to the number of ice cream flavors that Baskin Robbins originally offered.

10. Sony Vaio

© Vaio

The Sony Vaio logo is a clever one. While the “Sony” stands solid and proud, the first two letters of “Vaio” is made up of a wave, which symbolizes an analog signal, while the last two letters resemble 1 and 0, which symbolize a digital signal.

11. Toblerone

© Toblerone

Toblerone produces its world-famous chocolate in the Swiss city of Bern, which is also known as ’the city of bears’. This is why, if you look closely enough, you will see a silhouette of a bear in the  shadows of the mountain.

12. Unilever

© Unilever

Because Unilever produces a highly diverse range of consumer products, their logo aims to reflect this. Each icon within the logo represents a different pillar of the business. For example, the heart signifies love, care and well-being which translates into their health and beauty products.

13. Eighty 20

© Eighty20

Many believe that the logo of Eighty 20, a small consulting firm, has no connection with the company name. However, if you imagine that the dark blue boxes are ones, and the light blue boxes are zeros, then the top line would read as 1010000 and the bottom line as 0010100 in binary code. When translated to ordinary numbers, this stands for 80 and 20. Voila!

14. Formula 1

© Formula 1

This is another logo that uses the blank space to convey a message. If you look at the Formula 1 logo long enough, you will see that the “1” appears in the white space between the “F” and the red stripes. The red strips are obviously designed to convey a sense of speed.

15. NBC

© NBC

During the 1950s, the brightly-coloured NBC logo wasn’t just about brand recognition, it aimed to highlight its product superiority. The bright colours used in the feathered peacock’s tail meant to show the people who were still watching television in black-and-white what they were missing out on.

16. BMW

© BMW

Because the company has its roots in aircraft production, many believe that the center of the BMW logo represents rotating propeller blades. However, it actually refers to the checkered Bavarian flag.

17. Mercedes-Benz

© Mercedes-Benz Int.

The Mercedes-Benz’s logo symbolizes perfection, and therefore the company’s confidence in their products. The three-pointed star is meant to represent this superiority in every environment — on land, water and in the air.

18. Apple

© Rob Yanoff

Rob Janoff, who designed the famous Apple logo, explains how the design manifested:

“I bought a whole bag of apples, put them in a bowl and made sketches of them for a week, trying to simplify the details. At some point during my artistic experiments, I took a bite from one of the apples. Later that day, to my surprise, I found out that ’bite’ sounds very similar to ’byte’ – a computing term.”

19. Continental

© Continental

Continental, an automotive manufacturing company, specializes in tires. To reiterate this, the first two letters of the company’s logo make up a tire visual.

20. Sun Microsystems

© Oracle and Sun Microsystems

The Sun Microsystems logo is one of the world’s most famous, and most clever, ambigrams. The word “Sun” can be read from each corner of the square to reinforce brand name recognition.

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