Logos are a marketing tool that are based completely around brand recognition. While you can do a lot based on a name, seeing an image will stick more permanently in someone’s mind. Even if they are not aware of it, when people look at a familiar brand there is an immediate spark of recognition that will draw them toward that particular product.
This is because they remember it, just as they would remember a slogan or a commercial. If you have your brand in those people’s minds they will be much more likely to buy it. That is why making your logo more targeted through hidden symbolism is a great tactic. It draws the eye, makes the person spend more time looking at it and committing it to memory, and gives them a sense of satisfaction when they see how the image relates to the brand name or purpose itself.
It might seem cheesy, but presenting it like a puzzle will attract consumers more than patronizing them with a straightforward and simple design. Just look at these popular and well-known logos that have used this tactic with great success.
This is one of my all-time favorite examples of symbolism used in logo design. As you can see, the logo itself is very simple. The bold, black text on a white background is clean looking, but the font gives it a bit of a flourish that wouldn’t be there otherwise. But the hidden symbolism comes when you get to the “n” which is actually a number two turned to look like the letter. It is clever and attractive and will be sure to make anyone do a double take and take notice.
This is another one that uses symbolism to relate directly to the name. But it uses a traditional prop that has been adapted to do it. In this case, they have taken the image of a heart that is very straight forward and meaningful, but given it a twist. Instead of two bumps there are three. Not only does it show that this is a brand you can “love” by using a well known picture that is used to express it, but it adds the extra hump to represent Threesome.
3. Ninety Percent
I like this one because you have to take a few seconds to see it for everything it is. But in the meantime, the individual viewer will see something different. For some they will see the “90″ first. But others will take a glance and see it as a “Percent” sign. A few seconds more and they will see it for what it is. It is an interesting play on visuals that gives a lot through the font and hides naturally, without being too busy.
This is a great logo, because the second you look at it you feel the Eastern tone of the whole thing. Something about the font itself gives this impression. Then, of course, you have the chopsticks in the image, along with the dot that makes up the “H”. Creative and modern looking, this logo has so much going on but it is all clean looking despite that.
Probably one of the greatest examples of how something simple can be turned into something fun, this logo will make anyone smile. Not only is there a direct correlation with electricity in the title “Shocked”, but they used a basic picture of a socket to express it. The “face” it creates is funny, interesting and cute. This logo is definitely memorable, as well.
The most famous example on this list, NBC used to have a much less subtle logo back in the day. Those old enough will remember that it was a peacock over the actual network name with gaudy colors popular during that time. Now the company has something a little less in-your-face. The colors are sharper and brighter, and the “feathers” make up the logo itself over NBC, with the body of the peacock made up by a few lines. It is much more hidden, but in a good way.
7. Killed Productions
There is no reason not to go bold with your logo design, and Killed Productions certainly did that. It presented its logo as a simple name on a rarely used gray background. The name is in a lighter shade and the whole things has an almost blue blended tint. The name is in block letters, but the “I” is set on its side to show a stick figure body. I like that they didn’t change the font to make an actual stick figure, but instead let the letter speak for itself.
8. Iron Duck Clothing
This one is just adorable. They used a duck in the actual design, but instead of going heavy handed and actually showing the bird with an iron or as a warrior (two options that would be popular for some designers), they kept it short but sweet. There is a hanger, and that has been made into a modern and simple representation of a duck. It is elegant and relevant and very interesting. To use a phrase I rarely do, it looks ‘cool’.
This is another very popular logo. However, most people will not have noticed the symbolism hidden within it. Let your eyes slide over the whole thing and it will probably look very fluid. But if you focus more on the space between the ‘E’ and ‘X’ you can see an arrow pointing between them. It is subtle, but very much there.
This one is much more controversial than most, but it shows that you can use more extreme imagery to draw an audience as well. If the expletive wasn’t enough, the imagery is even more shocking. The “F” and “U” are made up of a swastika, the well known symbol used by the Nazi’s in 1930′s and 40′s Germany that are still prevalent in white supremacy groups today. However, this logo is not promoting them, it is promoting an anti-racism campaign. They use the expletive added to the imagery to give a negative view on the content. It is risky, but always a choice.
Have more examples? Let us know what your favorite logos using hidden symbolism are. Why do you like them?