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36 Hidden Messages in Company Logos You See All the Time

What do Apple, Amazon, Baskin Robbins, and Toblerone have in common? They have hidden messages in their logos—here's what they are and what they mean.

collage of logos with magnifying glassrd.com, Courtesy Brands

Did you know these logos have hidden messages?

As consumers, we see company logos daily. If you stop at 7-Eleven, you see its logo as soon as you pull in. If you make a pit stop at Dunkin’ for coffee, you’ll carry its logo on your coffee cup. Logos are everywhere, but have you ever stopped and really looked at them? There’s more to them than meets the eye.

Turns out, many companies have hidden messages in their logos. Companies like Starbucks, Amazon, and even Goodwill strategically designed their logos to convey subtle messages about things like company values and products. Logos can also try to subconsciously influence buying behavior, which partially explains why so many logos are red. Let’s look at the hidden messages in logos you see all the time, and why they’re there in the first place.

baskin robbins logoCourtesy Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins is known for its ice cream, but did you know there’s a hidden message in the logo? Look closely and you’ll see the number 31 in the initials, as in the number of flavors the company began offering in 1953. Why 31? One flavor for every day of the month, so you can try something new every day. Yum!

amazon logoCourtesy Amazon

Amazon

Amazon is a staple in many online shoppers’ lives, but have you ever wondered what that little arrow at the bottom of the logo means? It’s not just a fun design element—the arrow broadcasts the wide variety of stuff (from A to Z) sold on Amazon. Here are some of the strangest things you can get on Amazon—and we won’t judge if you add them to your cart.

apple logoCourtesy Apple

Apple

Why does the tech giant’s iconic logo have a bite mark on it? Turns out, the reason is pretty practical. The designer made the bite mark for scale, so that a smaller logo would still look like an apple and not a cherry. Don’t miss these things Apple employees won’t tell you—including the scoop on refurbished gadgets.

fedex express logoCourtesy FedEx

FedEx

The FedEx logo looks pretty normal at first glance, so it’s easy to miss the hidden message. Look at the space between the E and the x—it’s an arrow pointing forward, perhaps to suggest speedy and accurate delivery.

Toblerone logoCourtesy Toblerone

Toblerone

If you’ve snagged this delicious Swiss chocolate bar in your day, you’ve seen the mountain on its logo. But wait, what’s that on the left side of the mountain? Turns out, it’s a bear. The bear is the official symbol of the Swiss town of Bern, the original home of Toblerone. Learn the fascinating origins of these well-known company names.

dell logoCourtesy Dell

Dell

The sideways E in the Dell logo is more than just a creative way to set it apart from other logos. Michael Dell announced that the goal of his company was to “turn the world on its ear.” So it’s been said he started with an E.

Wikipedia logoCourtesy Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a massive source of information, and there’s a reason their puzzling logo isn’t totally complete. The unfinished globe, made of puzzle pieces with characters from various languages, represents the “incomplete nature” of the company’s mission to be the go-to information portal—and the fact that a site built on user submissions can never be complete.

sun microsystems logoCourtesy Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems

The hidden message in this logo is very clever from a marketing and branding perspective. If you turn the logo around, the word “Sun” is always there. Don’t forget to check out these hidden meanings in everyday objects.

tostitos logoCourtesy Tostitos

Tostitos

You may have thought the dot over the “i” was used to give the logo a pop of color, but it’s actually part of a hidden—and creative—message. The dot over the i is actually a bowl of salsa. The two t’s are people, and the yellow triangle in between them is a chip. It’s supposed to represent people coming together to share a tasty snack of chips and salsa (or queso, if that’s what you prefer!)

goodwill logoCourtesy Goodwill

Goodwill

You may assume the logo contains a smiling face to represent how good it feels to clean your house, donate items, and recycle clothes you no longer use. However, the face is actually just a larger version of the g in the word ‘goodwill’ that appears at the bottom of the logo. Who knew?

Tour-de-France logoCourtesy Le Tour de France

Tour de France

Does the yellow circle represent the sun? Nope! Turns out, the yellow circle is actually a bicycle wheel. The “R” in “tour” is a person, and the “O” in “tour” is the back bicycle wheel.

london symphony orchestra logoCourtesy London Symphony Orchestra

London Symphony Orchestra

So, we thought the three-letter abbreviation was written out in a fancy script font—but we were wrong. The logo not only is an abbreviation of the London Symphony Orchestra, but it also represents an orchestra conductor. The “L” and “O” are his arms.

Wendy's logoCourtesy Wendy's

Wendy’s

At first glance, the Wendy’s logo looks pretty straightforward—but there is a hidden message in it. Specifically, there’s a secret word hidden in the collar of Wendy’s blouse. Look closely and you will notice the word “Mom” scrolling in the old-fashioned-looking top. Many thought it was a nod to the chain’s efforts to prove a home-cooked feel to their food, but higher-ups at Wendy’s say the secret message was actually unintentional. Check out the first locations of your favorite fast-food restaurants.

LG logoCourtesy LG

LG

Are the L and the G cleverly configured into a smiley face, presumably the face of a happy LG customer? Nope. Eagle-eyed folks point out that if you tilt your head to the side, that smiley face actually looks like a modified version of Pacman. Perhaps an ode to the beloved arcade game character and the earlier days of personal technology? That’s up for speculation. According to LG, the logo stands for the world, future, youth, humanity, and technology.

hershey's kisses logoCourtesy Hershey's Kisses

Hershey’s Kisses

These two overlapping Hershey’s Kisses make us crave chocolate big time. But, if you look carefully at the logo, you’ll notice it doesn’t contain merely two kisses, but three! Look between the K and the I in Kisses and tilt your head towards the left—you’ll see a sideways kiss planted firmly between the two letters. Fun fact: Hershey’s Kisses are one of the most famous products still made in America.

pinterest logoCourtesy Pinterest

Pinterest

You may think this logo is pretty cut and dry here with a capital P placed in the middle of a bright red circle. However, their signature “P” also doubles as an illustration of a map pin. According to CNBC, one of the designers of the Pinterest logo didn’t want to add the visual of an actual pin, but the final look came together organically.

formula 1 logoCourtesy Formula 1

Formula One

With this earlier Formula One logo, you get a strong racing flare with the bold “F” and modern red flame motif, and you may feel the need for speed. But much like how the FedEx logo uses negative space to its advantage, so does Formula One. At first glance, you see the black “F” but if you look in the middle, the “1” in Formula One is clearly present in white.

cisco logoCourtesy Cisco

Cisco

At first glance, this logo looks pretty simplistic. The networking company’s name is plain as day under a line motif. However, there’s more to this logo than initially meets the eye. According to Canva, those blue stripes represent an electromagnet as well as the Golden Gate Bridge, paying homage to Cisco‘s namesake San Francisco. Once you see the bridge in those lines you can’t unsee it!

roxy logoCourtesy Roxy

Roxy

As Quiksilver’s female fashion line, the logo was indeed designed to attract its desired demographic. However, a closer look reveals so much more. The Roxy heart consists of two Quiksilver logos rotated to form the shape.

the bronx zoo logoCourtesy The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo‘s older logo is incredibly sweet when all you see are two giraffes and a few birds, but check out the negative space between the animals’ legs. There you’ll find the New York City skyline, making the logo even more perfect.

mke brewers logoCourtesy Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

This logo has been updated, but the Milwaukee Brewers still sell this version on gear and it’s popular with fans—probably because the design gurus didn’t supply just any old mitt. A lower case “m” and “b” form the glove, using the team’s initials in a creative way.

unilver logoCourtesy Unilver

Unilever

Considering the Unilever logo is everywhere on the company’s wide range of products, you’d think we would have looked deeper than only seeing the letter “U” formed using a decorative motif. Upon further inspection of the Unilever “U,” the logo uses symbols related to its extensive product offerings. That’s a pretty cool way to encapsulate what the company covers under its vast umbrella.

hope for african children initiative logoCourtesy Hope for African Children Initiative

Hope for African Children Initiative

Yes, the logo definitely includes the outline of Africa, but if you look at the orange and yellow sections carefully, they are put there purposefully. In those areas, you’ll identify the silhouettes of a child and an adult.

adidas logoCourtesy Adidas

Adidas

With its company name in lowercase bold type, we always paid much more attention to the word “Adidas” than anything else in the logo. Turns out, those diagonal stripes have meaning: They are intended to look like a mountain, the type of mountain an elite athlete would push him or herself to climb against all odds.

Beats by dre logoCourtesy Beats by Dre

Beats by Dre

The stellar sound quality of the Beats by Dre headphones and speakers just speak for themselves, right? So you may think this simple logo is just a lowercase “b” followed by the brand name. However, the circle that encapsulates the “b” actually represents a human head. The “b” is meant to represent someone wearing the headphones.

Pittsburgh zoo logoCourtesy Pittsburgh Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

The negative space in logos has so much potential! If you look at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium logo white areas you’ll find a gorilla and a lion looking each other in the eye.

sony vaio logoCourtesy Sony Vaio

Sony Vaio

At first glance, we thought someone just really wanted to get fancy with their fonts for the word “Vaio,” but there’s meaning behind that original look. Sony wanted the logo to represent the integration of analog and digital technology. The “V” and “A” were drawn to show an analog wave. The “I” and “O” are there to represent binary code. For those not tech-savvy, binary is a computer language comprised of ones and zeros.

chick fil a logoCourtesy Chick-Fil-A

Chick-fil-A

Some think the company name written in bright red cursive is simply cute and a little country. The font has certainly become integral to the Chick-fil-A identity, but note the chicken incorporated into the “C.” Perfect for a beloved fast-food chain that deals strictly in chicken.

IBM logoCourtesy IBM

IBM

Initially, we assumed the IBM logo was supposed to look similar to if it had been run off one of the world’s primitive computer printers, horizontal lines and all. Turns out, those horizontal lines symbolize the equal sign, representing IBM’s dedication to equality.

Gillette logoCourtesy Gillette

Gillette

The font in “Gillette” looks sporty, with the slanted style lending itself to the notion of speed. Those slanted letters are angled that way to give off a “razor sharp” feeling. The “G” and the “i” in Gillette have been cut to be symbolic of the brand’s signature product. Here’s how your favorite stores got their names.

kolner zoo logoCourtesy Kölner Zoo

Kölner Zoo

The German zoo’s logo features an elephant with a star for its eye. But by now we should know there’s more than meets the eye to a zoo logo, and the Kölner Zoo logo is no different. In the negative space, you can spot a giraffe and a rhino, as well as the two spires that are symbolic of the Cologne Cathedral.

nbc logoCourtesy NBC

NBC

This logo features a colorful peacock, so we thought it referenced NBC‘s nickname as the Peacock Network. Well, we weren’t entirely wrong. It’s definitely a peacock, but the six feathers have meaning: They represent the original six divisions of the network (there are tons more now, but the logo remains the same). Also, the peacock’s head is facing right which is meant to symbolize the network’s nod to the future.

washington-capitals logoCourtesy Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals

We see a patriotic eagle in red, white, and blue in this logo to represent the D.C.-based NHL team. There is an eagle, but there’s something hidden you may not have noticed. Again utilizing negative space (underneath the bird’s head), you’ll find a silhouette of the Capitol building as a nod to the Washington Capitals’ hometown.

Ray Ban logoCourtesy Ray-Ban

Ray-Ban

You may think the logo portrays the company’s name in a sleek font, providing a fashion-forward feel. Famous for their beloved sunglasses, Ray-Ban actually incorporates a subtle illustration of a pair of shades in the “B” in “Ban” (just turn your head sideways to see it).

hyundai logoCourtesy Hyundai

Hyundai

It’s a jazzy-styled “H” for Hyundai, isn’t it? It’s slanted to insinuate speed, or so we thought. This logo is meant to represent two people shaking hands, with the idea being one is a salesperson and the other is a satisfied car customer.

museum of London logoCourtesy Museum of London

Museum of London

This logo seems straightforward—a colorful, artsy design backs the museum’s name in white. But check this out—the design of the Museum of London logo was created to pay homage to London’s geographical expansion throughout history. It begins with a layer of what Roman London looked like and finishes off with Future Outer London. Pretty cool!

Sources:

  • ABC News: “Wendy’s Says Secret Message in Logo ‘Unintentional'”
  • LG: “Brand Identity”
  • CNBC: “13 famous logos with hidden messages”
  • Canva: “50 famous logos with hidden meanings”

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