Mysterious logos and their hold on our imagination
If you’ve ever been inquisitive enough to spot a mysterious logo with a hidden message, you may have experienced a feeling of hyper self-awareness or been convinced that you are part of an elaborate story like The Da Vinci Code. While both these outcomes are favorable, the reality is that there are countless logos out there with super secret secrets hidden within their vectors, fooling all of us, perhaps laughing at us. Well, now it’s time to unravel this mystery as we delve into the top-secret world of subliminal logos in the hope that this fascinating trend continues to captivate us, making our logos that little more interesting, and a little more cryptic.
The psychology behind subliminal messages
Let’s get straight to the point here. The idea of using subliminal messages in advertising came to an end way back in the late fifties after popcorn and soft-drink manufacturers used inhumane methods to advertise their products during cinema screening times. The method consisted of screening 0.03-second ads midway through a movie that would have spectators experience a subconscious message to the brain, urging them to buy products unwillingly, with no idea of the advert even appearing or its intentions. You may be familiar with the film Fight Club in which this kind of practice is clearly demonstrated.
Advertising has come a long way since then, and to our knowledge, this kind of method has been eradicated from social circulation. However, it hasn’t stopped some brands from tiptoeing around the edge, pulling all that’s mystical into their branding strategy, even into their logos, and the effects are legendary.
Subliminal logo designs have been the subject of debate among consumers, marketers, and psychologists for decades. Studies have shown that subliminal advertising can have a significant impact on consumer behavior or perception, but the extent of its effectiveness is still a topic of discussion. In general, subliminal logos operate by playing with the subconscious mind of the viewer or consumer, embedding hidden messages or images that trigger certain emotions or associations. For example, a logo that appears to be innocuous may actually contain subtle elements that evoke trust, confidence, or aspiration. When these logos are repeatedly exposed to consumers, they can influence their decision-making, affecting everything from brand loyalty to purchase habits. Understanding the psychological factors at play in subliminal logo design can help businesses create effective logos that resonate with their target audiences.
Why companies use hidden messages in their logos
Designing a logo is more than just creating an appealing image. Hidden messages in logos are common as they can elevate a company’s brand identity and convey deeper meanings. These subtle messages can range from clues of the brand’s origin to trustworthiness and even exclusivity. For example, the FedEx logo has a hidden arrow between the letters “E” and “X” which symbolizes speed and efficiency. Companies use hidden messages to connect with their target audience on a subconscious level, making them feel more emotionally invested in the brand. Ultimately, the use of hidden messages in logo design is a clever marketing strategy that can set a company apart from its competitors and make it more memorable to potential customers.
The mystery factor
Yes, we can talk about the deep psychology and the subliminal messages until the cows come home. But what brands have noticed over the decades is that the oldest marketing strategy, word of mouth, is still just as effective as ever. But, how do you create chatter, and moreover, how do you create chatter through existing brands that have been around for centuries? Here is where the mystery unfolds. Hiding hard-to-notice easter eggs in logos has become a thrilling way to get thousands, if not millions of people discussing and debating the logo itself. And for those who never noticed it until now, well, you have been taken for a ride, and you will be reminded of it every time the logo reappears. This is a seriously clever way to get big brands noticed. And with huge corporations relying on PR agencies to conjure up outrageous strategies to kick up awareness, some logo designs are doing all that without lifting a finger.
Big brands, big secrets
So without further ado, let’s check out some of the best, most witty logo designs that have kicked up a storm with their crazy secret creations!
A brand so familiar to us, yet there are still so many of us who share different theories about the missing chunk. Some say it has connotations with Alan Turing, the scientist, and mathematician who died after biting into an apple laced with cyanide, or similarly, the story of Snow White, who also bites into an apple. On the other hand, there are more practical theories, such as it being a simple design solution that helps us recognize it as an apple no matter what scale it is perceived at. All theories are welcome by the corporate giant, of course.
This very familiar Swiss chocolate brand has been around for as long as we can remember. But have you ever noticed the bear standing up on its hind legs? This bear, well hidden from the untrained eye, is a symbol of the Swiss town of Bern, where the company originated. However, after a hundred years of succulent honey and almond-filled happiness, the company, according to Quartz, is moving part of its production to Slovakia. Such a move will mean it’s technically not a Swiss company. Therefore it will be forced to remove all national heritage iconography from its branding, including the iconic Matterhorn (famous Swiss mountain) and the bear hidden within it. As shocking as it may seem, there is a lesson to be learned here. No matter how ancient or mythical a brand can be, laws are laws, and regulations such as these can surprise even the biggest corporations.
The mystery behind the BMW logo has captivated automobile enthusiasts for generations. This century-old company, born out of Bavaria, Germany, was originally involved in creating engines. Not just for cars but for aircraft and boats too. To this day, it’s speculated that the blue and white checkers resemble that of an oversimplified representation of spinning rotor blades, symbolic of their aviation origins. However, skeptics argue that the original logo design was based on the coat of arms representing Bavaria, which includes blue and white checkers. Again, with no clear answer, it is up to us to decide, and the mystery will likely never be solved.
This hugely successful pizza chain, with its brilliant and unique logo strategy, is possibly the most well-known pizza brand out there. However, their logo carries a story that, once discovered, might change your perspective of the popular brand. The three dots on the domino represent the three original pizza restaurants. The idea was to add more dots with each new establishment. However, due to its astronomical success, there was no way they were going to squish in the amount of dots needed, so they stuck with the original three.
Pouring secrets into your own projects
If we take a look at these brands, it becomes apparent that they all started off as smaller businesses, totally oblivious to their world-dominating destiny. And as the brands have evolved, so has our affiliation and curiosity, a perfect storm for raising questions over time. So what’s stopping new designs from following in the footsteps of these mysterious giants? It’s good practice to adapt such methods to your logo designs, as clients may see the value in it. Additionally, it is a fantastic way to push your abilities, not just visually but conceptually, and could be the making of a truly exceptional designer. After all, you never know what startup companies could dominate the world of tomorrow. For an in-depth look into logo design why not check out the 10 golden rules of logo design and perhaps you will enthuse your next logo in a shroud of mystification!
So what is there to take home with all this mysterious behavior? It’s as if these multinational companies want us to feel something more ethereal towards them, like there is somehow some spiritual connection, almost godlike, and the more we want to know, the more likely we will never know. And with brands like BMW, we see that time has literally eroded away any hope of uncovering any truth. This fascination can send us crazy, and whether it’s all part of the strategy or not, it certainly keeps the brand alive as we talk and discuss their closely kept secrets.
If you enjoyed learning about the hidden messages in logos then you won’t want to miss our upcoming video! In the next installment of our series, we’ll explore even more famous brand logos and uncover the fascinating secrets hidden within their designs. Don’t miss out on this exciting journey into the world of logo design – be sure to watch our next video and uncover the hidden messages in some of the most iconic brand logos of all time!