One of the most important decisions a company can make is deciding on their logo. After all, the symbol used to represent an organization should be memorable and help promote the spirit of the brand. All this is easier said than done, however, and most companies go through numerous designs of a logo until they find the one that works the best.
There are plenty of famous logos used today that most of us would immediately recognize. But you probably didn’t know the actual meaning behind most of them, or why they look the way they do.
Here are 17 well-known logos and the hidden meanings behind them. You’ll never look at these brands the same way again!
1. Hyundai: Most people look at Hyundai’s logo and see the letter “H,” which seems simple enough considering the brand’s name. However, that shape is actually supposed to represent two people shaking hands and closing a deal.
2. Adidas: Adidas is a hugely popular sports brand, and athletes all over the world use its clothing and equipment. Its logo has changed over time, but the three stripes were always included in some way. The current emblem represents a mountain, and it symbolizes the obstacles every athlete needs to overcome to achieve greatness.
3. Apple: The designer of this logo, Rob Yanov, bought a bag of apples and spent a week trying to think up a simple way to draw them. He took a bite out of one of them, and he realized the word “bite” sounds exactly like the computer term “byte,” and the logo was born.
4. Sony Vaio: The first two letters of the name “Vaio” are supposed to symbolize a wave, which is representative of an analog signal. The last two letters look like the numbers one and zero, representing a digital signal.
5. Amazon: It seems like every single person you know has used Amazon at one point or another. The orange arrow is supposed to be a smile, and the arrow extends from the letter “A” to the letter “Z,” indicating the company sells everything from A to Z.
6. Baskin Robbins: There’s a very specific reason the letters “BR” are two different colors. If you look closely, you can see the pink portion spells out the number “31,” which is a hat tip to the number of ice cream flavors it originally offered. (The idea was that patrons could enjoy one new flavor for every day of the month.)
7. Toyota: A lot of people think this logo is a cowboy wearing a hat, but they couldn’t be more wrong. It’s supposed to be the eye of a needle with a thread passing through it. In its individual parts, the symbol also spells out the brand’s name.
8. Continental: Continental is known as a manufacturer for automobile tires. The company decided on a clever approach to its logo design by making the first two letters of the name look like a tire. Smart, subtle, and memorable!
9. Formula 1: Fans of racing will immediately recognize this Formula 1 design. At first glance, you just see the “F,” but the negative white space in between the red and black colors forms the number one. The red stripes, naturally, are meant to represent speed.
10. Pinterest: Pinterest acts just like an online inspiration board, where users accumulate pictures of items they like and “pin” them to their pages. If you look carefully at the logo, you’ll notice the bottom the letter “P” looks just like the sharp tip of a pin.
11. Beats: Beats is an audio equipment company well known for high-quality headphones. If you look closely at the logo and use some imagination, it looks like the profile of a person wearing—you guessed it—headphones.
12. Toblerone: The famous chocolate company Toblerone is based in Bern, Switzerland, and the mountain on the front of the packaging contains a silhouette of a bear. This makes perfect sense, since Bern is sometimes called the “City of Bears.”
13. BMW: Some people have theorized that the blue and white circle in the center of BMW’s logo is supposed to be the rotating blades of a plane because of the company’s history of aviation technology. But it’s actually part of the Bavarian flag, the area of Germany where the company was started.
14. LG: The South Korean electronics and appliances company LG has a very unique logo, and it’s supposed to look like the face of a person. It symbolizes the business’s aspirations to achieve long-lasting relationships with its customers.
15. Evernote: Evernote chose an elephant for its logo because elephants are known to have great memories. The note-taking application chose to fold down the elephant’s ear in the picture in order to represent the fold of a note.
16. Coca-Cola: This is an interesting logo because the hidden symbol is completely unintentional. Inside the word “cola” is the Danish flag; the company actually used this coincidence to market itself in Denmark.
17. Pepsi: Pepsi actually paid over a $1 million to design its current logo. This might sound ridiculous to most people, but the designer claimed it has many secret meanings hidden within, including references to Pythagoras, the theory of relativity, and the golden ratio. The colors, of course, have always stood for the American flag.
Who knew these iconic logos that we see almost every day actually had so much meaning behind their designs? Mind: blown!
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