Tag-Archive for » logos «

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. <http://www.graphicdesignblog.org/hidden-logos-in-graphic-designing/>.
  • 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. <http://theroxor.com/2009/10/22/23-brilliant-logos-with-hidden-messages/>.
  • “Smart Logos with Hidden Symbolism | Webdesigner Depot.” Web Design Resources and Tutorials – Webdesigner Depot. Web. 23 July 2010. <http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/07/smart-logos-with-hidden-symbolism/>.

Y Change?

I am fortunate to be working on a project for a new YMCA opening in the Greater New Haven, CT region. When I think of the YMCA, I think of swimming lessons and that Village People song that will NEVER go away. Nonetheless, it kept the organization in our conscious, as they should be. In the midst of the design, the YMCA has gone through a rebranding of it logo. Does it work?

Credit: underconsideration.com/brandnew

Although trendy and following concepts of other brands that have had a recent makeover, I think it does. Some brands are recognized by a logo (think Apple or Coca Cola), while others draw instant credibility from their name alone. The YMCA fits that mold and have rebranded themselves to what many already call them, “The Y.” Certainly, it has a better sound to it than Radioshack’s “The Shack” or Pizza Hut’s “The Hut” rebranding.

Especially in a time of the recession, many brands are getting a makeover to change their image. Tropicana went so radical; they had to switch back, as customers were confused and outraged. The Y’s revitalization works, as it can be used in a number of different background because of the diverse variations of color (Aol tried something similar to mixed results last year).

Aol's Rebranding

Rounded edges in today’s logos are the trend, but it is effective, as it is far less harsh than the original logo. Here is the official press release from the YMCA, oops, I mean, The Y…

The Y’s former logo had been in place since 1967 and was the organization’s sixth since its inception. The refreshed logo, with its multiple color options and new, contemporary look, better reflects the vibrancy of the Y and the diversity of the communities it serves. The new logo’s bold, active and welcoming shape symbolizes the Y’s commitment to personal and social progress. —The Y Press Release

Overall, I think it is a sign of the times, that the 40+ year old logo gets a makeover. It is warmer, more progressive (part of the Y looks like an arrow moving forward) and can be used in a variety of different colors (4 color) or just black and white (1 color). Why do I like it? For one thing, it is going to make my project much easier in terms of “playing nice” with color. What do you think?

Works Cited:

Logos To Love & Web Pages That Suck

Dipping into the design world, I was very interested in the websites I visited this week. The first was Logo Pond. It is a great way of sharing logos, getting inspiration and receiving feedback, very simple interface, if any, will definitely add to my rss feed.  Speaking of RSS feeds, in an older blog post, I talked about logos, which is why I found Logo Pond particularly intriguing. I have always been fascinated with logos, dating back to being a small child examining the cereal boxes to today as it has been a part of what I do for a living. I’ve been a marketing assistant (which is pretty much a job of many hats, some not so fun, some fun, including graphic design) for a few years now and I have also done some freelance design, which including logos and branding. For inspiration, I have also received a feed from a site called Logo Design Love, which has contests, provides resources and follows trends in logo design. Another site worth noting is You The Designer, which posts tutorials, design tips, trends and anything pertaining to the business of design. Actually a recent post featuring an interview with the writer of the Logo Design Love book, which was cool since, I’ve been following both sites separately for a few years now.

Web Pages That Suck was a website that really took up some of my time and pulled me in. On the front page it says, “A lot of non-profit organizations need to fix their web sites. There’s more at stake with a non-profit web site and they have more responsibility to “get it right.” After working in non-profit (and contributing to our site design) for a few years, this is absolutely preaching to the choir.  Fortunately, we “got it right” thanks to a savvy web developer on staff (who told me when my work sucked), but a lot of non-profits don’t have the resources. I was telling a recent ICM graduate that is that is a web developer,  if business is ever slow for her, to work with a non-profit…for the experience, not necessarily the pay. Looking at some of the pages, its funny that I have actually come across these sites in my web travels. A friend of mine in the political realm posted George Hutchins’ site on Facebook, in which Hutchins is running for Congress, which made number two on the Most Over The Top Websites of 2009

I really thought this was a joke or fake website, as it looks like a website Homer Simpson would design. Also very ironic that my undergrad professor Leo Burnett’s website and how innovative it was. I was amazed by it in 2006, as I played around with the drawing tool, but what did the website provide again? Years later, I still am unclear. WPTS also pointed out recording artist M.I.A.’s web page. It really does some damage on the eyes, which is ironic considering she actually has a degree in fine art and has had a level of success as an actual artist. Whether she was going for abstract or not, it may give you a seizure if you stare at it too long.

I would normally be the last to advocate for structure, but after looking at logos and websites, the good, the bad and the ugly (I like M.I.A., but my eyes still hurt from her page), structure is needed. As the Web Style Guide’s chapter on page structure says, “It may seem odd to start a chapter on “design” with a plea for standards, rules, and conventions, but often site projects founder in the design stage because the larger norms of traditional publishing, editorial standards, and institutional practices are ignored in the pursuit of graphic, technical, or interactive eccentricities. “Prefer the standard to the offbeat.” Take this timeless advice from William Strunk and E. B. White, and save your creative chops for the real work of developing interesting content.” As much as I like to explore my creative side and not be a conformist, in web developing, it certainly has its place. Now if you’ll excuse me, my eyes hurt.


  • http://www.webstyleguide.com/wsg3/6-page-structure/index.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.I.A._%28artist%29
  • http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/
  • http://logopond.com/
  • http://www.logodesignlove.com/
  • http://www.youthedesigner.com/