It might not look like it, but some of your favorite logos required a pain-staking amount of research to look the way they do. Every piece of color, design, and font is carefully chosen to reflect the messaging and branding of a company.
We may recognize hundreds of these logos every day, but how much of them do we really SEE? We breakdown some of the most famous logos in the world and reveal some of their hidden messages. Let’s take a new look at some of these old logos…
This famous ice cream shop hit the high street in 1945 and started serving thousands of customers their favorite flavors. While it may seem like just a normal logo, the color scheme reveals some hidden facts about the chain.
Baskin-Robbins was originally known for serving an impressive 31 different flavors of ice cream. So, the designers wanted to include that fact in the logos. If you look closely, you’ll see the number 31 in the ‘BR’. Did you see it?
At a first look, it appears that Pittsburgh Zoo has a normal logo with the symbol of a tree above its name. The black tree on the white background is a pretty conventional sign and doesn’t strike you as special when you first see it. But look a little closer…
The logo designer drew the tree in such a way that it looks like a gorilla and lion are staring at each other. Suddenly, the logo now has two symbols that are inverted to each other.
Le Tour de France
Le Tour de France is France’s most famous bicycle race, and one of the most prestigious races in the world. The three-week race seems to have a pretty normal logo with some interesting font and a nice, bright yellow blob.
But if you look at the yellow blob a little longer, you’ll see that it is actually the circle of a bike! The ‘r’ in the word ‘tour’ is also a cyclist, making the words and color schemes turn into a picture of a cyclist. Definitely one of the coolest logos we’ve seen.
You’ve certainly heard of Amazon – the e-commerce company making your life easier while single-handedly ruining communities. Many people can recognize its logo from a mile away, but not everyone sees the subtle hint it has in its design.
Four years after the company was founded, Amazon rebranded itself to include an arrow under its name. Careful eyes will notice how it travels from a to the z. The intention is to show that the company sells anything and everything – from A-Z!
You might not be able to draw the Toyota symbol by heart, but it’s definitely one of the most recognizable logos out there. The interlocked circles might look like a random shape but there is a lot more to it than that.
Rumors suggest that the circles all spell out the word ‘Toyota’ when you take each part of it and align it with the alphabet. Officially, the logo “symbolize[s] the unification of the hearts of our customers and the heart of Toyota products.”
Another car company that has its logo at the center of rumor and controversy, BMW. The car company has its cross in the middle with the blue and white color scheme. But where did they get the inspiration for the colors?
One idea is that the blue and white is an homage to the flag of Bavaria, where the company was first founded. Another rumor is that the cross is supposed to represent a propellor, due to the fact that BMW started as an engine manufacturer in WWI.
If you grew up in the 1990s or early 2000s, you definitely knew someone with a Nintendo Gamecube. The console was a popular hit among young kids who could play classic games like Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart.
Players may not have noticed how it’s one of those logos that use negative space to convey its message. While it looks like a cube inside a bigger cube, the negative and positive space actually shows the letters G and C. Do you see it?
Here’s another car company with a logo that goes far deeper than what was originally intended. Of course, we see the symbol like this and assume it’s supposed to represent just the H of the company. Well, research shows that actually, it’s a lot more than that.
In fact, the H also represents two men (or people) shaking hands together. This is supposed to show trust and reliability between them – something that Hyundai wishes to share with its customers. The fact that they are close and connected is highly desirable for buyers who trust their sellers.
When you first see the LG logo, you’ll see what roughly resembles a winky face. While this is a nice symbol and somewhat of a charming mascot for the electronics company, it’s not the only thing we see when we look at it.
If you examine it closely, you’ll see that the ‘nose’ of the face is an L and that the ‘wink’ is the G. So, aside from the added dot to make the eye, the face is, actually, the letters LG.
If you’re a fan of the Greek alphabet, then there’s no hidden message in this logo! The symbol above its name is a bright red symbol of the Delta Greek letter with a bit of depth and shade added.
The fourth letter in the Greek alphabet is in plain sight for everyone to see. The sign also reflects the airline’s background in the Mississippi Delta area. Next time you book a flight in the US, look out for the Greek symbol. Frat boys would spot this from miles away!
Whenever you fly, you’re likely to see an area with plenty of Toblerones for sale. The popular chocolate is everywhere all over the world and a symbol that your colleague has just returned from vacation!
You might be too busy eating this delicious treat to focus on its logo, but you’ll be surprised. In the design of its mountains, you can make out the shape of a bear in the snow and shadow. This subtle nod is a reference to the animals in the region.
Folks who have shopped for secondhand items will be aware of the Goodwill logo and its charming smiley face in the corner. Eager eyes might spot that the face is in the shape of a ‘g’, but that’s not all!
Goodwill also uses the same logo as its G in its name. So, not only is the logo a letter, but the logo is used as a letter in its name. We think that’s pretty innovative if you ask us!
The television company has one of the most colorful logos we’ve seen, and it’s pretty clear that it is supposed to represent a peacock. But why? Well, NBC came into its own while consumers were making the switch to color televisions from their previous black and white versions.
Each color represents one of the six main divisions within NBC. So, next time you see this logo somewhere, you’ll understand its connection to the past and the transformative role it played in media history.
Most of us will see Vaio’s logo and make out the name through the curves and dots. While it might look like a modern font to represent the company, there’s actually a lot of meaning behind it.
Vaio represents the merge between digital and analog technologies in its music and sound products. So, music fans will see that the ‘VA’ part of the logo is an analog wave, whereas the ‘io’ part represents the ‘0’ and ‘1’ in binary code. Very clever!
This internet networking company might not be known by everyone around the world, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t made an impact on the tech community.
Even though its name and font don’t hide any messages, there is a treat for local San Franciscans. The lines at the top of the logo represent both an electromagnet, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. The lines are a great way to pay homage to its roots while celebrating what it does today.
Museum of London
For tourists, the logo for the Museum of London might just look like some interesting patterns and color schemes. While it certainly gives off a modern vibe, the design is a lot more historic than you might think.
Eager eyes and Londoners might notice how each color shade represents the evolution of London and its boundaries during its development. Over the years, the city has taken many forms and the logo intends to honor that. Did you spot it?
This popular chip is enjoyed by millions of people every year, but how many people enjoy their logo? Well, if we take a little closer look, you’ll see that the ‘tit’ of the logo is clearly two people sharing a chip with some dip between them.
The folks in the logo are a good example of how Tostito want people to share their product and enjoy each other’s company. The snack is both a fun and social food to enjoy at any event!
Gillette might not have one of the most exciting logos on our list, but it’s definitely given us food for thought. Upon first look, it seems that it is just the company’s name with a color gradient added for more effect.
Well, if you look at the negative space between the G and the I, you’ll spot the shape of a razor blade. This one took us a few moments to see, but we think it’s one of the smartest logos out there.
All the cool kids know what Durex does. The popular condom brand first hit shelves in London all the way back in 1915 and have been in cupboards next to the bed ever since.
But did you spot the secret message in its logo? If you look carefully, you’ll see that the word Durex is actually a combination of three different words: durable, reliable, and excellence. So, next time you host company, you can be sure your junk is in good hands!
Beats might have been started by Dr. Dre, but since being purchased by Apple they have become mainstream among consumers around the world. While the logo might look like a floating ‘b’ in a circle, it’s actually more than that.
Looking carefully, you can see that the ‘b’ in a circle is actually a profile of a head wearing a set of headphones. It’s a pretty innovative example of how words and symbols can merge to create brand new meanings.
Millions of people use Pinterest every day to ‘pin’ items like photos or products onto their own personal boards. There, users can highlight and share some of their favorite designs and patterns.
You may not have noticed it right away, but the company logo highlights this ‘pinning’ feature. The ‘P’ is actually a board pin that can be seen as one of the main items that users use each day. For Pinterest, its logo is also its brand and messaging!
Formula 1 is wildly popular and enjoyed by millions of people every year. Owned by the Formula One Group, it is considered the highest class of single-seater auto racing since its humble start in 1950.
In the 70 years since it started, Formula 1 has had a few different logos and rebrands. This version not only indicated speed by its lean to the right, but it also hides a number 1 in its negative. Looking carefully, we can see ‘F1’ in its design.
London Symphony Orchestra
Another symbol from England’s capital city shows the double meaning in some of the messaging they put out into the world. First, we can see that the logo carefully spells out ‘LSO’ – the official nickname of the London Symphony Orchestra.
However, there’s another symbol in the logo that many people don’t see right away. If you look at it carefully, you’ll notice that it is actually a person conducting! We can see the stick and the head, followed by a waving hand. Very cool, if you ask us!
Another airline on our list, and another logo to use negative space to improve a standard symbol. At first glance, we can see how the symbol is a W with a little bit of the letter remaining. What remains is the second half of the letter that shows the N.
But that’s not all! Those with keen eyes will realize that the part of the W on the left that remains is actually pointing in a North West direction! The very subtle nod to the direction and the name is the perfect way to honor the brand.
This American chocolate brand is well-known for the shape of its pieces. While the ‘kisses’ shape is famous among consumers, they might not have seen the same design in their logos.
If you look closely, you’ll see its famous chocolate shape in the negative space between the K and the I. Did you spot it right away? Once you see it, you will realize that Hershey’s put a lot of effort into solidifying the kisses shape as part of its brand.
It might not be the most popular fast-food chain out there, but Wendy’s has certainly made a splash on social media. Even though their branding and voice might have changed over the years, their logo has remained largely the same. And there’s good reason for that!
The famous young girl in the logo has a secret code that not many people see right away. At the top of her clothing, her collar and necklace spell out the word ‘MOM’. It’s a nod to the fact that Wendy’s wants to serve its customers some good ole-fashioned grub!
The Bronx Zoo
What is it with zoos and their surprisingly imaginative logos? Here, we can see The Bronx Zoo with its logo and how it applies negative space in the legs of its animals to show another symbol. Do you see it?
Designers will be able to spot the iconic skyline of New York City in the legs of the giraffes. We love how the spaces here demonstrate the merger of nature and urban living by incorporating both of them in the logo.
Despite countless calls for a boycott, Chick-fil-A has recently become the most popular fast-food joint across the whole of America! Well, even though millions of people walk through its doors every day, how many do you think spotted the hidden logo?
If you look at the first C, you’ll see that it is in the shape of a chicken! This is pretty appropriate since Chick-fil-A is often praised for the quality of its dishes. KFC better watch out, competition is here!
Not many people will be able to recognize a company like Unilever, but you’ve definitely used their products! The company owns a myriad of brands, including Dove, Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton, Dollar Shave Club, and much more!
In fact, Unilever offers so many products to the public that it decided that its logo incorporates all the things it promises. If you look carefully in the U, you’ll see a symbol representing all the different kinds of products it makes. How many can you spot?
When thinking of the sports equipment company, many people simply look at its logo and recognize it as Quiksilver. But how much do we know about the origins of such a unique logo? Well, it turns out it’s not actually that unique…
Quiksilver’s logo is a stylized version of a famous woodblock print called ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’. When you put these two next to each other, you can see the mountains and the wave clearly matching up. Did you know about these similarities?
Beautiful cars and beautiful logos – that’s Alfa Romeo. There’s a lot to unpack here in this logo so let’s break it down. On the left side of the circle we can see an English flag, but what’s on the right is a lot more interesting…
The right side of the logo contains a Biscione, which is an emblem of the Italian Visconti family. It is understood that the emblem represents resurrection and continued life. When driving one of these cars, you can totally understand why.
Levi’s jeans has a pretty conventional logo, but that doesn’t mean that the designers didn’t hide a few hidden gems in its outline. While we can see the normal font at the top, it’s the curves at the bottom that point out a detail.
The two curves might look like a normal design choice, but they’re actually there to represent the shape of pockets found on their signature jeans. Next time you look at the logo – or your jeans! – look out for the similarities.
This phone company might have disappeared into oblivion after the iPhone and Android explosions, but older readers will still recognize the iconic logo from the 1990s and 2000s. It might look like a normal green bubble, but there’s careful design that went into this final version.
If you look closely, you can see that the placement of the ball in the silver case carefully spells out ‘SE’ – like Sony Ericsson. For those who can’t see it, someone has drawn it out so we can see it more clearly.
Not many people will be familiar with Continental, but car enthusiasts will know them as the definitive car tire manufacturer. Founded in 1871, the company is now worth more than 44 billion euros!
With a budget like that, there’s no doubt that they invested in some special design tactics for their logo. Looking closely, you can see how the ‘C’ and the ‘O’ together form to make it look like a tire. It’s a subtle design that honors the company’s past and product.
H.A.C.I (Hope For African Children Initiative)
The H.A.C.I was founded in 2000 and aims to eradicate HIV/AIDS in African countries across the continent. It achieves this through philanthropic works and humanitarian efforts. While you may not have heard of the organization, you’ll definitely remember its logo.
As you can see, the logo blends positive and negative space to show both the continent of Africa, as well as two children looking at each other. It’s a clever way to show the most important aspects of the organization: children and the countries that it aims to help.
Guild of Food Writers
The Guild of Food Writers is an organization of food writers and broadcasters from the United Kingdom. We’ve already seen how the English can be extra creative with their logos, so let’s see what they did at the GFW.
As we can see, the logo perfectly blends food with the ability of writing. Not only is the negative space a spoon, but the point at the bottom represents a pen. Together, they mix the two most important elements of the Guild of Food Writers.
Sun Microsystems isn’t a mainstream name, but their logo has turned heads in the design community for its ingenuity. Before its acquisition from Oracle, it focused on computer components, IT services, and Java programming. Let’s take a look at their symbol…
As we can see, the diamond shape uses a group of ‘u’s to spell out the word ‘sun’ in every direction. This means that whatever way it is printed, the word is still clear in the reader’s mind. Very clever!
Spartan Golf Club
When you think of cool logos, you don’t immediately consider a golf club as having one of them. However, if your name is Spartan Golf Club, then you’ll certainly do whatever you can to make yourselves stand out with your logo as well as your name.
Spartan Golf Club has a logo that partners up as two different things. First, it is a spartan helmet similar to something out of the film 300. Then, those who look closely can spot a golfer swinging his club.
We all know FedEx as the reliable delivery service all around America. Upon a first look, you might think their design is simply their name. While their name is recognizable enough, there is an extra detail to make it more special.
If you look at the negative space in the ‘Ex’, you’ll see an arrow in the words. This is supposed to symbolize the forward direction of your parcel and the reliability of the company. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it!