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The world’s most famous logos with hidden meaning

What's the meaning behind famous logos?

You’ve probably seen the most famous logos hundreds of times, but have you ever considered the hidden message? With many logos this is not immediately visible, as it’s only when you look at the logo up close that you get to see the hidden message. But some logos have been thought through so well that you can hardly trace the hidden message anymore. You will first have to delve into the identity of the brand or company to see it, but once seen, you will never forget the message again. For which logos do you know the hidden message?

1. Hidden cyclist and the yellow jersey


Did you know that the logo of the Le Tour de France radiates two hidden messages? The first is a hidden cyclist which is formed by the letters “R” and “U”. The cyclist rides a bicycle, the wheels being formed by the letters “O”. The “O” on the front of the bicycle is coloured yellow, the same colour as the sweater given to the winner of the event. On a more subjective level, the yellow wheel also suggests the idea of a sun; very appropriate, because the event runs in the summer.

2. Hidden bear of Bern


The logo of the Swiss Toblerone requires a little more knowledge of the identity and origin of the chocolate brand. The logo shows the most famous mountain in Switzerland: the Matterhorn. But there is still something more to see, because there is a dancing bear in the mountain. The bear is the symbol of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, where the chocolate brand has its origins.

3. The entrance and exit of Subway


Have you ever given the logo of the fast food chain Subway a second thought? The left arrow in the S and the right arrow in the Y, symbolize the entrance and exit of the restaurant. The arrows also contribute to the idea of speed and promotes the message that, in addition to being fresh and healthy, it is also a very fast option.

4. Core values that symbolize success


If you look closely at the symbol of the Airbnb logo you will notice that the logo is a combination of four symbols. The first is a head to represent people, the second a location icon to represent place, the third a heart to represent love, and the last letter A from Airbnb. The logo has received above average attention in recent years, because the logo also looks a bit like genitals.

5. Products incorporated in the logo


Unilever strives for a sustainable life and the logo is a visual expression of that. It is clear that the large blue ‘U’ stands for Unilever, but look closer and you will see that there is much more. Unilever produces all sorts of things; food, drinks, and cosmetics, which is why they have incorporated all kinds of different products into their logo to make up the letter U.

6. From A to Z for a smile


Amazon is a large e-commerce company from America. You have probably never noticed the underlying message which is actually very simple once recognised. The arrow in the Amazon logo means that you can shop online from ‘A’ to ‘Z’. The arrow also represents a smile. The meaning behind this is that purchasing online with them will make you happy.

7. The arrow that indicates the direction of the course


The FedEx logo is perhaps the best known logo with a hidden meaning. It is a typographic logo that is simple and recognizable, yet there is a hidden symbol within it. The white space between the letters ‘E’ and ‘x’ forms an arrow indicating the direction. It is a symbolization of speed, progress and precision, which is applicable to the services of FedEx.

8. Start / finish and the notorious first turn of GP


Formula 1 introduced a new logo more than a year after the American media group Liberty Media, introduced itself as the new owner. The new logo is in line with the vision that Liberty Media has for the sport, and symbolizes two cars that are taking a turn and heading towards the finish line.

The old logo also had a hidden meaning. If you look closely at the white space between the letter ‘F’ and the red stripes in the Formula 1 logo, you will see number 1. The red stripes of the logo are also intended as a graphic representation of the speed achieved by Formula 1 cars.

9. Missing puzzle pieces of available knowledge


Wikipedia is the information source that almost everyone knows and/or has used. But do you also know what the logo means? The Wikipedia logo is an unfinished globe made up of puzzle pieces. The explanation that Wikipedia offers is, “Each piece carries a glyph (a letter or another sign), which also symbolizes Wikipedia’s multilingualism.” The empty space at the top indicates the incomplete nature of the project, the articles and languages that have yet to be added.

10. The mountains that every athlete must overcome


The world-famous sports brand Adidas owes its name to the German Adolf Dassler. The Adidas logo has changed over time, but one important element that has always been preserved is the three stripes. The three stripes together symbolize a mountain which represents the life challenges that an athlete has to endure. Everyone starts at the bottom of the mountain, and reaches the top of their abilities with Adidas.

11. Pin down interests


Pinterest is a social networking site that serves as a digital message board for images. The P stands for Pin, and Interest stands for interest. Users of the platform can ‘pin’ interests’ on one of the created message boards. Because the word “pin”, and the action to pin something on a board play such a crucial role in the identity of the brand, the Pinterest logo has a pin design hidden in the letter “p”.

12. The man with the headphones


We will stay with Apple for a moment, since Apple has also been the owner of the well-known headphone brand Beats (from Dr. Dre). Most people think that the Beats logo has a B with a circle around it. But the circle is more than just that, because it represents a human head, and the ‘b’ represents the headphones.

13. Home base for your collection of photos


Picasa was a free service and program from Google with which photos could be edited and shared. Picasa has now been converted to Google Photos. At first glance the colourful Picasa logo resembled the shutter of a photo camera. But this is not what it was meant to represent. It was meant to represent a house. The meaning behind it: Picasa is the home for all your photos. Casa means house in Spanish, and pic of course, stands for photo.

14. Sharp blades to make an impression


Gillette is a very famous brand of razors. The Gillette logo is a typical typographic logo, but there is also a hidden message in it. Hidden indeed, because this message is difficult to spot. The first I and G are cut off to give the impression that the blades are sharp. You can probably see it with these hints.

15. Two people shake hands


If you think the Hyundai logo is just an H, then you are wrong! The South Korean car manufacturer’s logo symbolizes two people shaking hands. And of course it is very convenient that the first letter of the brand matches this symbol. It symbolizes a satisfied purchase agreement between customer and company, while at the same time, the company shows that it has a close relationship with the consumer.

16. The analogue and digital signal come together


The brand Vaio from Sony no longer exists, but the old logo is a great example of a logo with a hidden message. The message was so hidden that it was impossible for many people to discover. The logo integrates the ideas of analogue and digital technology into one logo, where the V and A are used to represent an analogue wave, and the I and O to represent binary numbers from the digital world.

17. Magnetic waves and the Golden Gate


Cisco is a large American company from San Francisco that specializes in network equipment. The dashes from Cisco represent magnetic waves and correspond to the pillars of the Golden Gate Bridge. The name Cisco is of course derived from the place where the company was once founded.

18. SoundCloud and the online audio cloud


SoundCloud is an online audio platform that allows sound producers to upload, record, promote and share their originally created sounds. In the Sound Cloud logo, audio waves turn into a cloud. The cloud stands indeed for the online service. The vertical stripes symbolize audio waves, but we also know from psychology that vertical stripes unconsciously represent high quality.

19. Bringing family and friends together


Tostitos has also given careful thought to the positioning of the chips brand. If you look closely at the logo you can conclude that the letters “T” represent two people. The people hold a tortilla chip together and are ready to dip it in the plate with salsa sauce formed by the letter “I”. What the logo communicates? The idea of bringing friends and family together with the tortilla chips as a cosy focal point.

Do you also want to have a logo designed or refreshed?

Designing a company logo seems so easy. The logo must not only stand out and be recognizable, but must also convey a message about the brand to the target group. A nice assignment which our young team of designers is happy to help you with. Now, how are we going to do that? Let’s talk about it!

This blog is made possible by JM Promotions. Have a look at the JM Promotions website here.


Wilt u ook een logo laten ontwerpen of opfrissen?

Geïnspireerd geraakt door het lezen van ons blog en wilt u een nieuw logo laten ontwerpen? Of wilt u een bestaand logo opfrissen of laten herontwerpen? Dan bent u bij ons op de juiste plek. Wat u ook wilt, wij helpen u  graag. 

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