A brand’s logo is a powerful tool, for many reasons. Number one is the recognizability factor. Consumers strongly associate logos with the product or company they represent. But logos are also a source of subtle, almost undetectable, marketing tactics. Lets take a closer look at the logos of 25 well-known companies to see these subliminal messages in action.
The E in Elefont is created with the help from a hidden elephant trunk. It’s a simple subliminal message but it shows that the company really has an understanding of its business — Fonts. A business’ goal with a logo should always be to show their exact expertise. It also shows that the company is willing to be playful with their work which in the tech space is an added bonus.
Iron Duck Clothing
I absolutely love that this clothing company created a hanger which also forms a very simplistic but obvious duck. Turning your company name into a logo that perfectly describes that name is an amazing accomplishment. Even if you don’t know what type of clothing the company makes, you are likely to still jump over to their website or look them up to find out what they do.
Pay close attention to the C’s in Black and Cat. They were created to look like a pair of cat eyes staring back at us in the pitch black. Using negative space is a great way to create engaging logos with fun subliminal messages. It’s also a recognizable figure (a cat) which makes image recall easier for new customers. When all else fails, recognizable imagery is often used by subliminal messages.
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Unfortunately this website doesn’t exist anymore in its previous form. Instead, the website redirects to an ad-filled landing page. With that being said the designer of this logo did an amazing job turning a dinner plate setting into a camera. It takes a second to see the camera but once you do you’ll realize this is a brilliant Web 2.0 Logo. We love the flat design that really leaves nothing to the imagination on first view.
The Martini Glasses in this logo also create a house. Creating a single logo that can show meaning for two very different words takes a special type of talent. The flat elegant logo is also perfect for the internet. It’s the type of logo that makes us wonder what the company does and that type of engagement is incredibly important for branding your company and drawing in new potential buyers.
This is such a great logo for a company called “Infinite Love,” given that the logo features two hearts that also form an infinite symbol. It’s an incredibly simple logo but also one that perfectly matches the name of the company. The designer also chose a strong orange-red background that helps highlight the semi-subliminal message. Using a familiar object can go terribly wrong with cliches but this is not one of those logos.
Circus of Magazines
A big top circus tent that also forms the outline of a book with its pages open for everyone to read. This forum for booklovers might not be known by everyone but once you see their logo you will always remember it. That’s the sign of a good subliminal branding product.
If you look between the Yoga masters arm and leg you will notice they work together to form an outline of Australia. Negative space is a very popular way of designing subliminal messages where they would normally not exist. It’s a practice that has been used for years but has really picked up speed with an era of brand new internet designers.
A barbershop that puts a ton of thought into their logo? Check out how the scissors in this logo make up eyes, a nose, and an awesome mustache. This sounds like the type of place that any manly man would want to go for their next haircut or beard trim.
Effective shadowing not only looks really nice on a well thought out logo, it can also highlight a specific part of the brand. In this case Night Golf made a golf ball light up like the light side of the moon. Another brilliant example of using the space around an image to create the percent of different objects.
The WM above the “Weisinger Music” name was created using piano keys that are in direct juxtaposition of each other. It’s a simple idea but it looks really pretty when displayed for everyone to see. Plus, it specifically showcases what the company does in an elegant and very visual manner.
Just like the FedEx logo, this company uses an Arrow in its design. Instead of negative space this logo connects the E and X in a really smart way. The font might be simple but the company gets its point across with very few thrills. Sometimes the best thing you can do with your branding is to lead a customer in the exact direction you want them to go.
Delta doesn’t have any major trickery in its logo. Instead, the logo side next to the company name forms the Delta symbol which is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. If nothing else this is a fun fact for all of our linguistic friends who can take comfort in known that Delta Airlines has a great sense of imagery and language.
Spartan Golf Club
This is a logo that actually creates two very different symbols in one. At first glance you probably noticed the golfer but look at the negative space above and beside that golfer and you will notice it also forms a Spartan warrior wearing their helmet. It honestly took me a second to see the second piece of imagery.
The subtle nature of the Gillette logo is a lot of fun and something we were surprised to just learn about while investigating subliminal messages in logos. The G and first I both have negative space that make up the shapes of razors. This was a new addition to the logo and it was quickly noticed.
If you look at the C in Continental you’ll see another design team with a love for negative space. There is a tire hidden in the logo which represents exactly what the company does best — making tires. We’ve probably looked at the logo hundreds of times in our lives and it wasn’t until someone told us about this trick that we noticed it.
Have you ever noticed how “busy” the Unilever logo is? It’s for good reason. Every single item in the logo is for a product that the company sells. Just think of this logo as the ultimately in multi-brand subliminal messaging. And someone it still looks really textured on a flat design with a lot going on.
Even if you are not a baseball fan you should see this logo from the Milwaukee Brewers. The M and B are both shown in the logo you just have to take a second and look for them. It’s really cool how the baseball in this logo helps highlight the letter b.
Sun Microsystem has a very intricate logo. There are a bunch of UN’s repeated and they meet up to form the S for the word SUN. At first you can see the S but when you look closer you realize there really isn’t an S in the logo on its own.
The image of a bear is hidden in the Matterhorn mountain, symbolizing the town where the first Toblerone chocolate bar was created. Although chocolate lovers may not notice it at first, it pays homage to the company’s roots, and they’re proud to claim the Matterhorn as the town where they launched.
The java retailer updated its logo in 2010. One of the changes is the direction of the Caribou’s leap. While the Caribou in the previous logo was leaping left, the caribou now leaps right, signifying the direction the company is heading — into the future. While it may be a subtle change to many, it gave the company’s branding a boost.
At first glance, the dark pink logo for LG Electronics looks like a winking face. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see the face’s “nose” is an “L” and the outline of the “face” is a “G.” Some fans have even noted a similarity between LG’s logo and a modified Pacman.
The British non-profit group Shelter seeks to reduce the harmful effects of homelessness. The charity assists millions of people each year by providing renting/eviction advice, financial assistance, and emergency shelter. Their logo, the name “Shelter” spelled out, cleverly features a house-shaped symbol as the top (or roof) of the “h.”
The Columbia Pictures logo is as iconic as it gets. But what does Columbia mean and who is the woman in the logo? In the early 1700s, it was against the law to print the debates of the British Parliament. To camouflage this, the debates were printed using fictional names for other countries. ‘Columbia’ was the name used to describe America. The name ultimately became the female personification of the United States and was selected to be the logo for the movie empire. As for the Lady Liberty-like woman? No one is quite sure who she is.