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Creativity is boundless. There is no end to the imagination of the human mind. One of the features of creativity is that, in most cases, it is not overt. The messaging, the idea, and the thought behind these masterpieces are often subtle so that people can extract their own meaning from them. Most modern-day logos, while on much smaller canvases when compared to paintings, also hide several subtle clues, and these hidden logo messages keep the customers intrigued and also help forge a deeper connection with their favorite company or brand.

Subliminal messaging

Subliminal messages in logos are hidden images or design choices that aren’t consciously perceived by the viewer.  These elements are intended to subtly influence our thoughts or feelings about the brand.

Subliminal messages could trigger positive associations with the brand, making consumers more likely to trust or remember it. Research has also shown that this type of messaging can bypass conscious thought to create a more emotional connection with the brand. This emotional response might influence purchasing decisions.

A 2020 research paper linked logo designs with cognitive arousal and found that logos have a direct bearing on conspicuous value, which largely influences luxury consumption behavior.

Benefits of hidden logo messages

Subtle elements in logo designs play a crucial role in creating memorable and effective branding. Well-crafted hidden messages in logos can spark curiosity and create a more memorable logo.  People enjoy discovering these little secrets, and it can lead to positive brand associations.

Memorability

Subtle elements can make a logo more memorable. When people notice something unique or intriguing about a logo, it sticks in their minds more easily. Hidden messages add an extra layer of interest, encouraging people to engage with the logo and remember it.

Differentiation

In a crowded marketplace, standing out is essential. Subtle elements allow logos to differentiate themselves from competitors. Hidden messages can create a sense of intrigue and make a brand more distinctive in the eyes of consumers.

Storytelling

Logos with hidden messages can tell a story about the brand, its values, or its history. These messages serve as a way to communicate with consumers on a deeper level, fostering a connection and understanding of what the brand represents beyond just its products or services.

Brand personality

Hidden messages can reinforce the personality of a brand. Whether it’s humor, intelligence, or creativity, these messages can reflect the brand’s character and resonate with its target audience.

Engagement

Discovering a hidden message within a logo can be a fun and rewarding experience for consumers. It creates a sense of interaction with the brand, fostering a positive association and potentially encouraging word-of-mouth promotion.

14 Hidden logo messages that are truly mesmerizing

Let’s take a look at some brands which have hidden meanings in their logos:

  1. Pinterest

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The hidden message in the Pinterest logo lies in the design of the letter ‘P’. In the Pinterest logo, the letter ‘P’ is stylized to resemble a pin, with a loop at the top representing the head of a pin and a straight vertical line representing the pin itself.

This design choice is symbolic of the core function of the Pinterest platform, which is centered around users ‘pinning’ or saving content to their virtual pinboards. By incorporating a pin into the logo, Pinterest effectively communicates its primary purpose as a platform for users to collect and organize content they find inspiring or useful.

  1. Cisco

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The Cisco logo has a hidden message within its design in the form of lines that resemble both the electromagnetic field and spell out the company’s name in binary code.

If you look closely at the lines in the Cisco logo, you’ll notice that they’re not just random shapes. Instead, they represent a series of vertical lines that subtly spell out the company’s name, “Cisco,” in binary code, where data is represented using only two symbols: 0 and 1. 

By incorporating binary code into its logo, Cisco is symbolically referencing its core business of networking and communication technology. It’s a clever nod to the company’s expertise in digital communication and data transmission.

  1. Tostitos

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The Tostitos logo features two ‘T’s that appear to be sharing a chip over a bowl of salsa. The negative space between the ‘T’s forms the shape of a person, likely representing two people sharing the chips and salsa together. This design not only emphasizes the communal aspect of enjoying Tostitos snacks but also reflects the social nature of gatherings and parties where chips and salsa are often served.

The hidden message in the Tostitos logo is the concept of sharing and socializing. It conveys the idea that Tostitos snacks are meant to be enjoyed with others, fostering a sense of connection and togetherness.

This message aligns with Tostitos’ branding as a party snack and encourages consumers to associate their products with social occasions and enjoyable gatherings.

  1. Evernote

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The Evernote logo features an elephant with a curled-up ear. The hidden message in this logo lies in the elephant’s ear, which resembles a folded page or corner of a note. This design element symbolizes the idea of taking notes and organizing them within the Evernote app.

The elephant itself is chosen as a symbol because elephants are often associated with memory and intelligence. They are known for their exceptional memory capabilities, which aligns well with Evernote’s purpose of helping users remember and organize information effectively.

  1. Unilever

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Unilever is a multinational consumer goods company that produces a wide range of products including food and beverages, cleaning agents, beauty and personal care products. Some of its well-known brands include Dove, Lipton, Ben & Jerry’s, Hellmann’s, and Axe, among many others. Unilever operates in over 190 countries, and its products are used by billions of people worldwide.

The hidden message in the Unilever logo lies in its design elements. The logo is composed of various symbols, including spoons, flowers, sun, heart and birds, each representing a different aspect of the company’s business and values.

  1. Carrefour

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The Carrefour logo is another example of hidden messages in company logos. The reputed global retail brand features two opposing arrows forming a letter ‘C’ in the negative space. The two arrows also represent the idea of coming together and converging, which aligns with Carrefour’s mission as a retail company to bring people together through shopping and providing a wide range of products and services. 

  1. Goodwill

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Goodwill is an international nonprofit organization that provides job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs for people with disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, and others facing employment challenges. Goodwill operates thrift stores where donated goods are sold, and the proceeds are used to fund their programs and services.

The hidden message in the Goodwill logo lies within the stylized letter ‘g’. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the letter ‘g’ is designed in a way that it also forms a smiling face. This design choice reflects Goodwill’s mission to bring positivity and hope to individuals in need by offering them opportunities for employment, education, and personal development. The smiling face hidden within the logo conveys a message of optimism and encouragement, symbolizing the positive impact that Goodwill strives to make in the lives of the people it serves.

  1. Chick-fil-A

While most other examples in this blog have hidden messages in logos, the Chick-fil-A logo doesn’t really have a super subtle hidden message. But it is a clever play on the company’s name and product focus. The letter “C” in “Chick-fil-A” is designed to resemble a chicken.

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This simple design choice reinforces the brand’s identity as a fast-food chain specializing in chicken. It visually connects the brand name with its core product.

While not a complex hidden message, it’s an effective way to use design to communicate the brand’s identity.

  1. Beats

The Beats by Dre logo might not have a hidden message in the traditional sense, but it does have a clever double meaning using its design elements.

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The red circle in the design is not just a circle. It’s also meant to represent a human head. The lowercase “b” isn’t just a letter. It’s designed to look like a pair of headphones worn over the ears.

So, when you put it all together, the logo depicts a person wearing Beats headphones. This cleverly reinforces the brand’s identity as a company that makes headphones. It also subtly highlights the benefit of their product: immersing yourself in the audio experience.

  1. Gilette

The Gillette logo boasts a clever hidden design that subtly references their core product: razors. Look closely at the letter “i”.  You’ll see the dot replaced by a diagonal line that slices into the top of the “G”. This slanted line is designed to represent a razor cutting through something.

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Some people also see the negative space between the “G” and the altered “i” as forming two blade shapes stacked on top of each other. This further reinforces the association with double-blade razors, a signature product of Gillette.

  1. Hershey’s Kisses

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The Hershey’s Kisses is an iconic confectionery characterized by its teardrop shape, signature foil wrapping, and paper “plume” that makes opening the foil easier. But have you ever noticed the Hershey’s Kisses logo hidden message?

The logo, seemingly simple at first glance, holds a delightful secret for those with a keen eye. The letters forming the word “KISSES” are capitalized and elegantly spaced, maintaining a clean aesthetic. However, the negative space, the blank area between and around the letters, conceals a cleverly embedded icon.

If you scrutinize the gap between the “K” and the “I,” an unmistakable silhouette emerges — the distinct outline of a single Hershey’s Kiss!

  1. Milwaukee Brewers

The hidden design in the Milwaukee Brewers logo is all about incorporating the initials of the team cleverly into the image of a baseball glove.

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The webbing of the mitt is actually designed to form the letter “M” – a clear reference to Milwaukee. The thumb and palm of the glove, along with the negative space they create, come together to form the letter “B” – representing “Brewers.”

Initially, some fans nicknamed the logo “The Paw” because they thought it resembled a dog’s paw. But upon closer inspection, the “M” and “B” become apparent.

  1. Tour de France

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The Tour de France logo actually incorporates two main hidden designs. The first is the cyclist, which is very easy to spot. The negative space between the yellow letter “O” and the red letter “U” in “TOUR” creates the silhouette of a cyclist leaning forward, perfectly capturing the essence of the race.

The second subtlety is the yellow circle behind the lettering. It is said to represent the sun. This is a reference to the fact that every stage of the Tour de France takes place only during the daytime.

  1. Yoga Australia

The old logo of Yoga Australia is a clever use of negative space to form a hidden design element, which is the silhouette of the Australian continent. The raised arm of the figure creates the top part of the outline, including Tasmania. The bend of the leg and hip creates the southern coastline.

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It clearly communicates that the organization is specific to Australia, and the country-shaped logo reinforces the company’s identity as a local organization.

In conclusion

These subtle elements allow for versatility in logo design. They also foster a deeper connection between the company and the customers because hidden logo messages hint towards the brand’s creativity and could spark genuine admiration in the eyes of the people.

Tell us in the comments which hidden message surprised you the most and made you go: “Damn! How did I not notice this for so many years?”

 

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