Designs Within Designs

Back in an undergrad advertising course, I explored hidden messaging in advertising. Like Disney movies that sometimes contain hidden adult themes, there are designs that do contain some hidden messaging. Some have varying themes, while others just have a logo within a logo look. Let’s start with a well known one…


In my office, we are used to the short, rude sweaty guy in the purple and orange dropping off a package, but if you look closely, between the E and the X, you’ll notice an arrow, which stands for speed, moving forward or whatever else FedEx wants to sell you.

Hartford Whalers

My beloved Whalers, how I miss Connecticut’s former professional hockey team. I had the Starter jacket as a kid, but never really bothered to notice what was going within the logo. If you look closely, you’ll notice a whale’s tail, letter “W” in green and the gray space forming an “H” for Hartford. See, we’re pretty clever here in CT. I think I speak for everyone here when I say, “Bring Back the Whale!”


Amazon is my favorite and most trusted online store. They have everything. The logo is simple and the gold/orange smiley face is obvious. What I didn’t realize is that apparently the “smiley” starts at the letter A and the arrow ends at the letter Z…because Amazon has everything from A to Z…or maybe we read too deep into that one.

Big Ten Conference

In collegiate sports, the Big Ten conference really has eleven teams. Doesn’t make sense, right? Between the G and the T and the T and the E, you may notice the number 11 (which would show up as a purple 11). I know what you’re thinking, but the Big Eleven just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Yoga Australia

Just a woman stretching? She is actually stretching her leg in the shape of Australia.

Milwaukee Brewers

Going back to sports, I had to do this one, since I still own the hat. See the M? See the B? Look even closer and you may see a glove and a baseball. If you have enough brews, it may even resemble a beer mug…or maybe not.


I bought my niece a Roxy brand iPod dock, but the logo just looked like another “girly” logo. Little did I know that they are a subsidiary of Quiksilver clothes and Roxy took two Quiksilver logos to form a heart.


As much as I’ve munched on these corn chips, I never bothered to notice that there were two people connected by a chip dunking into salsa. I feel kind of stupid for that, hopefully I’m not alone.


Happy and sad are the range of emotions in this clever, yet a simple design.


This is an online food service and even though I’ve never heard of them, the message is clear with the fork as an @ symbol.

Some these may be obvious, while others may make you think. I recently created a design for an organization commemorating their 10th anniversary. Their main logo contains stars (hey, that’s what was already in place). For the anniversary I subtly placed 10 stars around the number 10. It was simple, yet subtle, but once noticed, was appreciated. Just like some of the aforementioned logos, it is easier to win your audience over and make them remember you can make them think, even if it’s for an extra second.

Just keep in mind that you should be clever at your own risk. Sometimes subliminal logos aren’t intentional, like this institute for higher learning.

Or at least I hope. Yikes.


  • Way, The. “25 Logos with Hidden Messages – Amazing Graphic Designing Tricks! « Graphic Design Blog – An Ultimate Resource for Graphic Designers.” Graphic Design Blog – An Ultimate Resource for Graphic Designers. Web. 23 July 2010. <>.
  • Pooten, Holger. “23 Brilliant Logos With Hidden Messages | The Roxor | Design Blog for Resources and Inspiration.” Design Blog | TheRoxor, Because Design Rocks! Web. 23 July 2010. <>.
  • “Smart Logos with Hidden Symbolism | Webdesigner Depot.” Web Design Resources and Tutorials – Webdesigner Depot. Web. 23 July 2010. <>.

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One Response
  1. I stumbled upon your blog looking for different interpretations of logos as I’m looking to design a logo for myself. You really caught me off guard with the last one for the institute! I’m completely LMAO over here. Great post and thank you for sharing these examples!

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