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10 Famous logos with hidden meanings.

Logos are everywhere. We encounter them multiple times a day, often without fully registering them yet there's more to the logos of some of the most famous companies and brands than first meets the eye. We've put together a list of ten examples of well known logos with hidden symbolism, subliminal messages and little twists. Read on to see if you can spot the tricks...

1. FedEx

The US based delivery firm FedEx promise speed, accuracy and reliability. If you’re looking for a delivery company then surely you’d want them to have those as priorities. At first glance their company logo appears to be just their name but look more closely and you'll see there is a symbol hidden in there that represents their three word promise. An arrow.

Next time you see one of their trucks, planes, parcels or adverts, you'll spot the arrow straight away. I guarantee it.


IMAGE CREDIT – commons.wikimedia.org

IMAGE CREDIT – commons.wikimedia.org


2. Amazon

The largest Internet based retailer in the world is another company to have used an arrow in their logo. This time though their aim was to show that they sell everything from A – Z and they did this by connecting the two letters together with an arrow in the shape of a smile.

In the USA alone they stock 200 million products and their recent move into grocery and takeaway delivery adds a few more letters into their vast alphabetical list of items they stock.



IMAGE CREDIT – commons.wikimedia.org


3. Toblerone

A couple of the things I’ve discovered whilst researching this blog are that the famous triangular chocolate is from the Swiss city of Berne – ‘the city of bears’.

Who doesn’t like a piece or two of Toblerone from time to time but have you ever taken a close look at their logo and the representation of the Matterhorn in particular? Have a look now and see if you can spot the hidden link with the ‘city of bears’.


IMAGE CREDIT – de.wikipedia.org


4. Adidas

Founded in 1949 by Adolf Dassler, the company name came from his nickname ‘Adi’ and the first three letters of his surname. The very first logo was a simple three stripe pattern before the iconic three striped trefoil logo was adopted in 1972. From 1996 onwards they have used a three-striped triangle with the trefoil logo only appearing in their Classics range.

On the face of it the new logo seems to be lacking in any symbolism in fact the triangle is a mountain intended to represent the physical challenges everyone faces whether they be a Sunday footballer or a professional athelete. The inspiring design fits perfectly with this age of ‘sport for all’ and yet predates by 20 years motivational campaigns like Sport England's 'This Girl Can'.


IMAGE CREDIT – commons.wikimedia.org


5. Formula 1

Think motor racing and the chances are that you’ll mind will summon up images of the great Formula 1 racing drivers and their extraordinary cars. The business behind F1 is exceptionally good at promoting their multi billion pound sport. At the forefront of their brand promotion of course is their logo.

The positioning of letter F and the flash speed pattern leave a space in between which when viewed closely shows the all-important number 1. Clever use of contrasting colours and smart typography show what graphic designers can achieve with very few individual components.

F1 logo

IMAGE CREDIT – flickr.com


6. Tour de France

Cleverly disguised in the curiously French brush script logo for the world famous bike race is the figure of a cyclist powering up hill. Like many logos the Tour’s one has evolved over the last hundred or so years since the first race was held.

The current offering first appeared in 2002 and works well on the background we’ve shown in the picture below but it scores extra hidden meaning points when the front wheel is coloured yellow. Why yellow? It represents the iconic ‘maillot jaune’ or yellow jersey worn by the race leader during the mammoth 21 day celebration of man powered machines.


IMAGE CREDIT – flickr.com


7. Gillette

Again, we come across a brand that’s been around for more than a few years. Gillette was founded by the splendidly named King Camp Gillette in 1901 and is credited with popularizing the disposable razor and making Mr. Gillette a fortune.

Look closely at their famous logo and you’ll notice that the geometric sans serif font has part of the letter G and I missing so that it forms a diagonal line through that section of the word mark. They’ve been shaved off by one of the company’s razors of course.


IMAGE CREDIT – commons.wikimedia.org

8. Roxy

The Australian surf and snow wear brand Quicksilver launched their women and girls line of clothing and kit in 1991 having realised that female surfers and snowboarders were short of kit whilst the men had a wide range to choose from. To create the logo they took the long-standing Quicksilver mountain and wave logo and simply turned it through 45 degrees before placing it alongside a mirror image of itself. You’ve got a heart shape and a new feminine logo.

Funnily enough it was around this time that surf wear became a fashion look for people that haven’t stood on a surfboard as well as the die-hard board riders. The progressive attitude displayed by Quicksilver 25 years ago when they set up this new brand undoubtedly encouraged more women to hit the mountains and paddle out into the waves. We salute the bods at Quicksilver for this and it has to be said to for seeing the gap in the market and filling it rather nicely.

Roxy - logo

IMAGE CREDIT – commons.wikimedia.org


9. NBC

Founded in 1926 over in the States, NBC (the National Broadcasting Company) began life as a radio network before branching out into television in 1939. The equivalent of the BBC in terms of age and importance, NBC holds the distinction of being the oldest major broadcast network in the USA. But why the peacock logo?

When they first started broadcasting colour programmes in 1956 the peacock was the emblem associated with them under the tagline – “as proud as a peacock”. In 1979 it became the official logo for the entire company with each tail feather representing a different department – news, sport, entertainment and so on. Study the logo closely and you’ll notice that the peacock is facing right and for good reason too. He is looking towards the future.


IMAGE CREDIT – en.wikimedia.org


10. Audi

Car company logos are one of the most visible logos. We see them everywhere and they imprint themselves in our memories long after the car models are out of production. Whilst they do change overtime on the whole they have remained remarkably faithful to their design roots. One of the more simple logos that hides an interesting story is that of the German company Audi.

The original name of the company was Auto Union as it was four companies that merged together to form a partnership in 1932. The four circles are an elegant representation of this partnership that although resigned to the pages of German automotive history are one of the building blocks of what from the mid 1960s onwards became the iconic Audi brand.


IMAGE CREDIT – commons.wikimedia.org

Like Logos?

If like us you're a fan of logos and a certain series of films set in a galaxy far far away then you might like to read another of our blogs all about a very famous logo. Alternatively you could always search through our branding portfolio and see what work we've done for our clients creating logos and redeveloping existing ones.

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