Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Name that Brand

INGRID THOFT
Quick!  Do you see it?  Don't worry if you don't.  I didn't either.


Not until it was pointed out to me did I see the "31" in the baskin robbins logo.  Like Op Art, now that I see it, I can't unsee it.


Nowadays, writers are often told they need to develop their "brand," which got me thinking about the brands that litter are visual landscape, brands that are so recognizable we'd know them anywhere.  I wondered about the most recognized brands and the secrets that they hold (like a giant "31"!).

Another logo featuring a symbol that completely escaped my gaze was FedEx.  Did you know there's an arrow in the logo?  I didn't!

The only thing hidden in the current Starbucks logo is the siren's breasts.  If you stroll by the first Starbucks in Pike Place Market in Seattle, the sign shows the original siren.



There are various stories about the logo's evolution from a siren to a crowned princess.  Some claim her hair was rearranged for the sake of modesty.  Others claim it was a copyright issue related to the original woodcut of the siren.  One thing is certain, she seems to have gotten younger over the years!

Did you know that McDonald's golden arches logo was originally modeled after the shape of the restaurants?  And that today, the name "McDonald's" rarely appears in the logo, given how recognizable the golden arches are?



Another logo that requires no words is...wait, I'm not going to tell you because I'm sure you'll know both it and the name it goes by.  Talk about a successful brand:  the logo gets its own name!


Do you have any favorite logos?  Know of any hidden art or meanings?  Tell me I'm not the only one who didn't see the "31"!

57 comments:

  1. The funny thing about the “hidden” features in logos is that once someone points them out to you, you’ll always see them right away whenever you see the logo.
    The Goodwill logo has a stylized “g” that looks like a face . . . Hershey Kisses have a kiss between the K and the I in their name . . . the negative space in the Formula 1 logo creates a number one . . . the Pittsburgh Zoo uses negative space, too, to portray a gorilla and a lion . . . and, of course, Amazon famously has a smile for its satisfied customers . . .

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    1. So many that I need to check out, Joan!

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  2. I've noticed the 31 before, but I hadn't seen the arrow in FedEx before.

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    1. Why am I not still seeing the arrow?

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    2. Me too, Helen. No arrow shows to my eye. May a second cup of coffee to open my eyes further?

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    3. Helen and Elisabeth, it's a white arrow in an orange background. Now?

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    4. Look in the negative space between the lower part of the orange "E" and the "X" . . . .

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    5. I didn't see it until Edith and Joan explained it to me!

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  3. I'm with you Helen, I can't see the arrow either! I remember seeing a movie titled Prefontaine about 1970s long distance runner Steve Prefontaine. Part of the story revolved around his coach creating the first real running shoes (Nike) and there is a dialogue about the swoosh. Fact or fiction, I don't know, but it was an amusing discussion.

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  4. I can't say I have a favorite logo. I did see the 31 and I know about the arrow in Fed Ex.

    By the way, when an author is told to develop their brand, are they encouraged to do that at the expense of their time spent developing their stories? Because without a great story, wouldn't branding be kind of a waste of time?

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    1. They never want you to do it at the expense of your writing, Jay, but it does seem like we're supposed to find more hours in the day to do both!

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    2. Wait until our publishers decide we need to have individual logos as branded authors! Better start working on mine...

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    3. Ingrid, turning out great Fina stories is all the branding I "require" from you. Well, that and book signings that I can get to. :D

      Julia, heaven forbid. Ingrid's logo for Fina would have to include a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

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  5. I remember when my younger son was in kindergarten and beginning to read, the kids were asked to cut out and bring in words they knew. We have a supermarket named Shaws, and it's always in the same colors and fonts. He couldn't sound it out, but he knew that shape was pronounced Shaws. I thought it was a clever way to show kids they already could read a few words. Personally, I'm fond of our New England Crime Bake logo (I'm co-chair this year and next) - a red lobster in handcuffs! Hallie was one of the creators of the conf - did you have a claw, I mean a hand in the logo, Hallie?

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    1. I love the idea of a lobster in handcuffs, Edith.

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  6. When we lived in a "charming" historic town in northeastern Ohio with a strict architectural code, McDonald's came to town! Not just an ordinary McDonald's, but an architectural board approved building with a fancy interior décor. The food, however, was the same, as was the drive-thru. The signage was discrete enough for newcomers to miss it.

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    1. Was that Hudson by any chance?

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    2. That sounds awfully like "quaint" Hudson.

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  7. I love commercial artists with a sense of humor, don't you? All of these are fairly well known, as is the Wendy's logo. If you look at it close up, you'll notice that the girl's collar spells "MOM". https://qz.com/104308/theres-a-secret-message-hidden-in-the-new-wendys-logo/

    One of my favorites is the bike rider in the Tour de France logo, and then there's the Eiffel Tower in the logo for Galeries Lafayette, the famous Paris department store. Once you see them your eye goes straight for those elements, every subsequent time.

    There's also a bear in the Toblerone logo. I rarely think about Toblerone, but knowing the bear is there is like a sweet secret.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/maximilianzender/logo-secrets?utm_term=.alnGJrbLK#.wjlDq7g2e

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    1. I think I should get a Toblerone bar just to be sure, Karen. ;)

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  8. I know we are all loath to admit that we like anything about Amazon, but I have to say their logo is brilliant. No only is there a smile, but the smile is also an arrow pointing from A ---> Z. Genius.

    There's the half smiley face in the Goodwill logo that also forms a lowercase g.

    And while I am not a fan of the candy bar Toblerone, I do like the mountain logo with the hidden grizzly bear within it.

    While not as clever as those, I will say that a lot of thought went into the design of the BOLO Books Logo - and with good reason. With today's social media focus, those avatars take on a life of their own. I am fully confident in saying that without the eyeball logo, BOLO Books would never have reached the success that it has - or at the very least, it would have take much longer. (One less known "secret" about my eyeball logo is that his name is Rhett .) ;)

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    1. Rhett is short for retina (LOL)

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    2. I was just wondering if any other logos besides Nike's have a name!

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    3. That is probably the only time BOLO Books and Nike will be hinted at in the same statement. ;)

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  9. I did not see "31" - and I so associate pink and GRAY (not blue) with B&R. And cows. They used to have wall sized photographs of cows behind the counter.... waaaaaay back when.

    Logos... Mercedes. I used to think they had a peace symbol on their cars.

    To me the most brilliant is TARGET.

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  10. And I recognize that BOLO Books logo ANYWHERE! Eyeballs!!

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  11. There was a great article in this past Sunday's NYTimes magazine about Panatone colors - how advertisers have developed the EXACT color they want.

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    1. I saw that, Denise. I thought it was fascinating to learn how certain colors just took off.

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  12. I saw the "31," but I still can't find the arrow in FedEx. And I am ashamed to say that although I live in Pittsburgh, I never saw the animal figures in the zoo logo!

    I'm with Hallie - I think that BOLO Books eyeball is not only instantly recognizable, it is one of my favorite logos. Very creative!

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Mary, go to this link. It shows it graphically.

      https://www.buzzfeed.com/maximilianzender/logo-secrets?utm_term=.alnGJrbLK#.wjlDq7g2e

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    2. Thanks, Karen! I can't believe I didn't see it before.

      Mary/Liz

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  13. I did not see the 31! Amazing! People are so clever...
    But I love the FedEx arrow. Fascinated by it, and would love to have heard the brainstorm session that came up with it!
    How do graphic designer’s brains work??

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  14. There are a lot of clever logos out there. I like Dirt Devil with its little devil tail/plug. I have to admit I usually see the logo and then my eyes bounce elsewhere without taking in details. Unless someone points out the hidden picture or whatever. But eyeballs get noticed on their own!

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  15. I see Mary in Ohio has beat me to it, but there is the MOM in the collar of the Wendy's girl. Clever, or just graphically smart, logos are wonderful.

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    1. Never would have seen that, and now I'll never not see it, Rick!

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  16. Logos are all lost on me, because I never see whatever it is that's supposed to make me want to be a customer. Thanks to all for pointing out everything I didn't know I was missing! And I've never told myself "what a great logo! That company deserves my business!"

    A long time ago I read the annual report of a now defunct chain store. Apparently it had a new logo that year. As a customer, I had never noticed it. In the annual report the effort to come up with a new logo was described. Each letter, and the style of the particular letters, was supposed to inform the public and potential investors of how serious the chain was about serving their customers. Now, I liked that store, the prices were good, the employees were helpful, and I miss the store, but I mainly shopped there because of the convenient location. The logo could have looked like the scrawling of a child, and I still would have shopped there.

    DebRo

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    1. DebRo, one of the most interesting thing about brand logos is how much $$$ companies spend on creating them and rolling them out - and how badly they can still crash. Think of Pepsi's rebranding of it's old red, white and blue stacked logo to the tilted circle with a widening band of white in the middle. Lots of viewers saw a strong call back to the Obama '08 campaign logo, and it was widely parodied online as a stomach stretching beyond the confines of jeans and shirt (with the weight gain credited to drinking too much sugary soda!)

      What nobody thought was, "Oh, Pepsi! This logo really expresses my favorite drink!"

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  17. I dated a graphic designer for many years so branding and corporate logos were a major part of our lives. He pointed out the 32 in BR, and I knew about the arrow, but I didn't know the golden arches came from the shape of the original Mickey D's - I wish they all looked like that. It's fabulous! My fave logo is the Apple for Apple/Mac. Does anyone else remember when the Mac was called the Macintosh? It was my first personal computer! I've always wondered why they didn't branch out to the Granny Smith or the Honeycrisp or the Gala? Or is that just me?

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    1. I can't answer your questions, Jenn, but I did read a fun Apple fact in my research. Apparently, they took the bite out of it because it looked too much like a cherry otherwise.

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  18. I'm glad I wasn't the only person that couldn't see the arrow in FedEx without some help. I googled it to see where it was, and, of course, after I saw it, I couldn't believe that I didn't see it. The Baskin Robbins was lots easier. Those captured my interest in looking for more, and I googled "logo hidden images," and there are more to puzzle over. I had a link, but then my computer went crazy, and I don't want to go through that again, so I'll let you google it yourselves. Oh, and Kristopher, you BOLO logo is so awesome and so successful. I do wish I had something like that for my blog.

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  19. By the way, I have a logo for my Limelight Magazine.com series The Cassette Chronicles. I can't remember who from the magazine created it, but I love it.

    https://limelightmagazineonline.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/logo-cassette-chronicles.jpg

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  20. did you know that the sign for McDonald's follows the logo? Both hands in "M" handshape and draw the "M" in the air.

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    1. I did not know that! I'm assuming that's unusual? Do you use letters to spell out other names, like "FedEx?"

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    2. Ingrid. When I find out how they sign Fed Ex, I'll let you know. There are signs to describe the meaning of a word. Sometimes the sign would follow a logo like McDonald's.

      The sign for President came from the three cornered hat that men used to wear when George Washington was President.

      A sign for "book" would be like when you open a book to read. The sign for "mystery" is similar to the sign for "secret" plus the sign for "hide", meaning the story has a secret to hide, I think.

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    3. So interesting! Thanks for the mini lesson!

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  21. LOOK AT THIS! Hershey Kisses, The Bronx Zoo, Tostitos and more--incredibly cool! Ingrid, what a great topic. https://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/01/13-famous-logos-that-require-a-double-take.html

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    1. The Bronx Zoo logo took me a minute. I had no idea about the pin in "Pinterest."

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    2. Isn't it great? ANd yes, I never thought about the pin. Or Tostitos! How do our brains not see that?

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  22. What a fun post.....just came back to finish reading all the comments and learned some new fun trivia. So relieved that I'm not the only one who just couldn't spot the FedEx arrow! Must be something about "negative space".....but will never miss it again for sure!

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