Hidden Messages In Famous Logos

famous logo

Distinguishable logos are a vital part of every business success story. Creating a unique logo that makes your brand stand out from competitors can be a tricky task. Famous company logos establish public recognition and a reputable corporate identity that attracts loyal customers.

While some common logos are instantly recognizable, there are subtle details in most famous logos that require more observation to understand the entire design while gaining insight into the whole picture.

While some popular brands promote their logos with what you have come to believe as one universal meaning, there are several double meanings developed into numerous brand strategies that are executed through their unique trademarks. Here are 10 famous logos that may require a second look to uncover their hidden meanings.

1. In 1908, the decadent milk chocolate bar, famously known as Toblerone, was created by Theodor Tobler in Bern, Switzerland.

Known for its unique nougat, almond, and honey taste, carefully molded into long, triangular bites, Tobler wanted to pay tribute to the chocolate bars' place of origin when he decided to create a logo distinguishable to the brand.

Upon first glance, the iconic logo looks fairly simplistic in identifying the brand's name with an image of a high mountain above it. However, the mountain is symbolic of the Matterhorn mountain of the Alps between Switzerland and Italy, where the chocolate was originally created.

But it doesn’t stop there. If you look closely at the Matterhorn mountain, built into the negative space, there is an image of a smiling bear, which uniquely reflects Bern as a city that is famously associated with bears.

2. Although you may use Pinterest as one of your daily photo-sharing platforms, you may have yet to notice its unique logo that embodies its main service as a pinboard.

While the letter ‘P’ might seem like an obvious reference to its name, the image was designed to double as a pin.

What better way to introduce a virtual pinboard with a logo that subconsciously directs you to pin and organize your interests?

Launched in 2010, accompanied by its fitting logo, the platform was featured in Time magazine's ‘50 Best Websites’ only a year later and has continued to grow substantially since then.

3. The multinational delivery service FedEx, which previously went under the name Federal Express, is known for its white delivery trucks printed with their purple and orange logo.

However, the clever take on their logo that alludes to their courier services might not be as easily detectable as the big and bold print.

This FedEx trademark contains a subliminal arrow in the negative space between the ‘E’ and the ‘X’ to gesture their always-on-the-move delivery services.

Founded in 1971, this corporation has become a reputable service that continues to expand its services worldwide.

4. Formerly known as the South Korean brand Lucky-Goldstar,’ LG corporation has established a recognizable logo affiliated with their wide variety of products, including electronics, chemicals, and plastic.

According to a website called ‘Famous Logos,’ the shape and design of the LG logo contain elements of a human face in an effort to symbolize the company’s main objective of making their customers happy.

Where the ‘L’ is utilized as a nose that is wrapped around the ‘G’ to resemble the structure of a face, the colored circle wrapped around the entire emblem symbolizes a globe of smiling faces.

While it might appear as a winking face, the one eye carries a significant meaning in delivering a message of focus and is meant to be goal-oriented.

What Makes A Powerful Logo?

A powerful logo conveys the owner’s message in a simple, graphic, practical, and distinctive way. The creative concept of an effective logo serves to communicate a specific meaning and represent the qualities of the product or service it represents. The logo should be adaptable for printing at any size and convey its intended message with or without color. To put it simply, the two essential elements of a successful logo are good concept and good execution.  

Let’s take a look at five other criteria that an effective logo design should satisfy:

  • Versatility - Iconic logos work well across different mediums, so the brand can employ them in any marketing material, whether in a digital or printed form. 
  • Timeless quality - Popular logos can stand the test of time and stay relevant for decades or even centuries.
  • Memorability - A powerful logo is catchy and easy to recognize in any setting.
  • Suitability - Your logo should be appropriate for your brand’s field.
  • Meaning - Logos are supposed to reflect the company’s mission and values.

Oldest Known Logos (That Still Exist Today)

As time goes by, many companies choose to change and modernize their logo. However, some popular brands have decided to keep the same imagery for more than an entire century. By using the same logo design that made them popular in the first place, these companies have become easily recognizable to customers all around the world. 

One of the most famous examples of old successful logos is the iconic multinational corporation Coca-Cola, which is the fifth most recognizable company worldwide. Coca-Cola has used the same cursive font for its iconic product logo since 1887. Although the brand has slightly altered its logo design throughout the years, Coca-Cola still retains the distinct core elements of its original 19th-century logo.

The oldest logo that is still used today belongs to the Belgian beer brand Stella Artois. Since its foundation as the Den Hoorn Brewery in 1366, the company has used its signature logo design, including a horn and a star. Despite the brand’s name change, the prominent horn and star still adorn the company’s logo more than six centuries later.

The British tea brand Twinings is famous for maintaining the oldest logo design in continuous use without any alterations. Designed for the tea company in 1787, this logo has endured the test of time for over two centuries. The well-known Twinings logo references the Twining family crest and the exclusive location where the company has sourced tea in China. With its simple font style and colors, the Twining logo promises to remain timeless in the following decades and centuries.

When it comes to car companies, the oldest logo design in continuous use belongs to Mitsubishi. The widely recognizable red three-diamond emblem has adorned this car company’s products since 1873. When the young and ambitious Yataro Iwasaki initially launched the company, he chose the three-diamond mark as its emblem as a tribute to his own family crest containing three stacked rhombuses and his first employer’s three-leaf family crest.

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