Brands always come up with creative new ways to market their products and services. Fitting tiny, subliminal details into their logos is just one example of companies attempting to reinforce their brand’s message in a very subtle way. Here are four of the most clever ways that American brands have snuck secret messages into their logos.
Federal Express began shipping products in 1971 and quickly became a household name. Its original logo was a box with “Federal Express” spelled out, in its entirety, at a 10-degree slant. “Federal” was white and “Express” was red. As the brand gained popularity, it was shortened to the FedEx, and its logo was adapted to fit the nickname. It used the same font from the '70s logo, but the box, slant, and rest of the letters were removed, leaving just a purple and red FedEx.
In 1994, the CEO of FedEx reached out to designers to come up with a new logo for its official rebrand. Landor Associates, the company hired for the logo redesign, was inspired by simplistic designs — specifically, a Northwest Airlines logo which implemented a clever use of negative space to make the “W” look like a compass pointing northwest.
After hundreds of versions of the new logo, the blocky FedEx letters as they’re seen today was chosen. Inspired by Northwest Airlines’ logo, a hidden message was imposed into the new rebrand. Between the “E” and the “X” is an arrow. As a shipping company, an arrow perfectly represents what the company’s purpose is.
While most other ice cream shops were selling vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors, Baskin-Robbins thought that people deserved more flavor options and set out to have a flavor for every day of the month. Founders Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins did just that. In 1945, they launched their iconic ice cream store offering 31 flavors of ice cream at a time.
Over the years, Baskin Robbins has created thousands of different flavors but always makes sure to have 31 of them available to customers at any time. In 2007, the company updated their brand, including a new logo. The new logo, as we see it today, has a pink and blue “BR” with the elongated “baskin robbins” in lowercase. The colors chosen are not just for fun; they have a specific intention. The curved part of the “B” and the left line of the “R” are pink. Look at them together to see the number "31," referring to the available flavors.
There are few American brands as iconic as Hershey’s. The chocolate manufacturer started producing its candy in 1886 and has been putting smiles on faces around the world ever since. It’s no wonder that they call Hershey, Pennsylvania, the sweetest place on Earth.
Today, more than 70 million Hershey’s Kisses are made every single day. They’re one of the most popular candies in the world. With those numbers, it’s no wonder that you can find Kisses everywhere, even in the logo! That’s right, the Hershey’s Kisses logo has a hidden Kiss hidden between the “K” and the “I.” If you need a little help seeing it, simply tilt your head to the left.
The global retail giant Amazon began its life as a bookseller. As the company evolved, so did the logo. The original logo is unrecognizable today: It was a large “A” that had “Amazon.com” underneath with a water texture background. As the company started to sell more products, it required some rebranding.
In 2000, Amazon was selling enough products that its current logo, which displayed the slogan “books, music & more,” just wouldn’t do the job anymore. This was the introduction of the Amazon arrow that’s still used today. The arrow serves two hidden purposes. First, it looks like a smiling face to symbolize the ease and happiness of shopping on Amazon (and when you receive your packages). More eagle-eyed consumers might also notice that the arrow points from the “A” to the “Z.” The second, more subtle meaning is that Amazon has everything that you could possibly need or want: anything from “A” to “Z.”