Look Again: Branding With Hidden Messages

When it comes to branding design, subtlety is key. While your logo should encapsulate your brand and create a sense of trust and familiarity in the minds of your audience, it needs to be kept simple and minimalistic to really be memorable and versatile. Pick the most important element of your brand and find a way to subtly showcase it in your logo.

Take a look at these 10 examples of subtle messaging within brands and what the hidden messaging represents.

Big 10 Conference

With March Madness in full swing, we had to pay respect to this simple, creative logo. The “i” and “g” forming the 10 in Big 10 Conference cuts down on the space it would take to include a separate “10” or “ten,” and thus makes the logo more versatile and memorable. Its versatility allows it to shine in multiple formats — from below the basket on the court to a small patch on player’s jerseys.

FedEx

You probably pass these trucks every day on the road. But did you notice that their logo hides an arrow in the negative space between the E and x? The arrow elicits a feeling of efficiency and forward thinking.

le Tour de France

The most awe-inspiring bicycle race in the world deserves an inspired, memorable logo. And le Tour de France didn’t disappoint. The yellow circle isn’t just an emblem of sunny imagery or the medal that participants win, it’s actually the second wheel of the bike that the logo makes with the “o” from Tour; the “r” is the person riding the bike. Yeah, it blew our minds too.

Washington Capitals

This hockey team’s logo uses negative space to pay homage to its home base. Underneath the eagle is a silhouette of the Capitol building in DC. We love that it’s 1.) simple, 2.) doesn’t distract from the eagle shape and 3.) incorporates the team’s headquarters.

NBC

You probably recognize this other great example of negative space. The white space in the NBC logo creates a peacock — representing NBC's status as a loud and proud broadcaster.

Tostitos

We have to admit, we didn’t see this one until recently. The two middle Ts in the logo are people cheers-ing with a chip over a bowl of salsa, reminiscent of the fun you can have when you buy this product.

The London Symphony Orchestra

The logo is not only an acronym of the organization’s name — LSO — it is an abstract representation of a conductor. The S forms his or her head and the L and O are his or her hands.

Eighty20

This research and analytics company did their research when designing their logo. The squares display the binary patterns 1010000 and 0010100 for eighty and twenty. Based on how smart and thought out this logo is, we’d trust them to do our analytics.

Jack in the Box

While at first glance this may just look like bad kerning, it’s actually purposeful. The O and the X in box are combined to look like a fish, a product the fast food chain sells. We love this creative use of typography to showcase a product in a subtle way.

Amazon

Ever notice how the arrow underneath Amazon points from A to Z? It’s almost like their referring to everything that is available on Amazon.com! They also chose to put the arrow underneath the lettering to create a semi-smile, eliciting that feeling of finding everything you need (and maybe don’t need) under one roof.