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Clever Logos — Can You Guess?
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More than half of most major companies’ capital goes into their advertising. After all, despite the advertisers’ insistence otherwise, detergent is detergent — there is none whatsoever that gets out any tough stains their competitors fail to achieve. Image is everything — the illusion is the reality of the corporation: seeming is being. The reason every toothpaste boasts that 9 out of 10 dentists recommend them is because your dentist will recommend any of them: they all do the same thing. The “new and improved” formula for your laundry detergent would imply that there is some amazing and continual progress in detergent technology, but that is by no means the case: your great grandma worked with the same product you do.

It’s all a matter of perception, and with all that money going into PR, into making a face, label, and image for itself, company’s can get a bit clever in their logos.

Before reading the caption, can you see the ingenuity of each logo?


1. FedEx chose a logo that put an arrow between the E and the x. The sense of progress, and quick forward moving fits the progressive persona of the business.

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2. The two t’s around the i are a couple of people sharing a bowl of salsa.

3. The R of France’s Tour de France is a cyclist.

4. The Arrow in serves two functions, to show that they have everything from A to Z and to show that they deliver their products from here to there.

5. The B and R of Baskin Robbins make a pink 31, the famous number of flavors Baskin Robins has advertised for decades.

6. The negative space between the K and the I of KISSES is formed as a Hershey kiss.

7. Northwest airlines has a logo that is doubly clever. The N is also part of the W of Northwest, and the upper left edge of the W looks like an arrow pointing at the NW corner of the compass.

8. In a classic bistable diagram, inspired by the vases we see in every psychology textbook, this tree is also the profile of an ape and a lion.

9. The smiling face of goodwill is also a g.

10. The glove of the Milwaukee Brewers team makes an M and a B

11. This sort of advertisement shows how clever the visual artists can get in making a bistable image. A “bistable” image is one that can have two stable forms. In this case, both a man swinging his club, and also the profile of a Spartan warrior.

12. This stretching woman also makes a bistable image of Australia in the contours of her leg and arm

13. Often advertisers will make visual puns, such as the “eight” logo being made out of various versions of the number 8.

14. The use of letters and numbers to make visual puns was not lost on sun, who made a sun shape out of the letters u and n which together make the S of sun.



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