All posts tagged “Meaning”

The Real Meaning Behind These 25 Cleverly Designed Logos

Logos, as you all know, play are a major part in branding. A good logo can help the masses associate and identify your product or service. This is precisely why logos go through vigorous designing and redesigning stages to communicate the brand they’re representing well.

Of course, there are those that don’t do so well as the meaning behind them somehow gets lost. For the ones that do their job successfully, you can’t help but marvel at how ingenious the design is and how they convey meaning with the use of space and symbols. That is, if you know what they mean or what to look out for. To help you with that, we’ve compiled 25 logos that we found have hidden meanings in their designs.

1. Amazon

The giant online store aptly takes on the name Amazon to convey its wide store directory. This is further hinted by the arrow linking the ‘A’ to ‘Z’ to say that they have everything from ‘A’ to ‘Z’. Which should be able to satisfy you, hence the dual meaning of the arrow being a smile.

(Image source: Business Insider)


2. FedEx

The shipping company’s logo seem like a simple one with only its name. However if you take a second look at the space between the ‘E’ and the ‘X’, you would notice an arrow. With it so perfectly placed there, it is no wonder that the arrow represents speed and percision.

(Image source: The Branding Journal)


3. Sony VAIO

VAIO is Sony’s brand line for its laptops. The logo is not just a sylized brand name but refers to turning analog waves into a digital form too. The analog waves are represented in the ‘V’ and ‘A’. ‘I’ and ‘O’ on the other hand can also refer to 1 and 0, which are the two digits used in binary code, the digital.

(Image source: The Branding Journal)


4. Sun Microsystems

This logo was designed by computer science professor Vaughan Pratt. While not having designer chops, Pratt managed to come up with a ingenious design by making Sun’s logo into an ambigram, which is a typographic design that spells a word out in various directions.

Here, he constructed the design that no matter what direction you twist and turn it, you can still read the word “Sun”.

(Image source: Diply)


5. Hershey’s

Hershey’s Kisses are so fun to give out as you can offer them to people with the quip: "Do you want a kiss?"

Bad jokes aside, turn the logo on its side and you just might spot a (chocolate) Kiss between the ‘K’ and ‘I’.

(Image source: Webneel)


6. Carrefour

The popular French hypermarket’s name Carrefour translates to mean crossroads. Hence the red and blue arrows pointing at different directions. If you squint hard enough, you’ll be able to make out the letter ‘C’ which was cleverly incorporated through the use of negative space.

(Image source: The Branding Journal)


7. Northwest Airlines

This used to be Northwest Airlines’ logo before it was retired in 2003. Simply put, the logo is well-designed by making use of negative space to both convey ‘N’ and ‘W’ at the same time. The triangle placed in the ring also suggest the image of a compass, with the triangle pointing in the northwest direction.

(Image source: Pixel Push)


8. NBC

NBC was once known as the Peacock Network when the bird was first used as its logo in 1956. The peacock has now evolved to this with its 6 colored tail representing the departments; News, Sports, Entertainment, Stations, Networks, and Productions.

Additionally, the peacock is depicted facing right to show that the television network is looking towards the future.

(Image source: The Branding Journal)


9. Goodwill

As a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged people, it’s easy to see that Goodwill’s logo featuring a smile means that the organization helps them to become better.

If you look closer at the ‘G’ in the wording, you would see the same half smiley face. Now is the logo a ‘G’ or a smiley face?

(Image source: Wikipedia)


10. Toblerone

Chocolate again! Toblerone’s logo is lot more complex than Hershey’s. Look closely at the mountain and you’ll be able to spot a bear. The reason for this is because the Swiss chocolate company originated from the city of Bern, Switzerland which is also known as the City of Bears.

(Image source: Web Designer Depot)


11. Le Tour de France

The name of the of the annual and vigorous biking competition isn’t the only feature in this logo. Look closer at the letter ‘R’ and the yellow circle next to it. You’ll be able to see a cyclist in racing postion. The yellow circle can also represent the sun to signify that the race takes place during day time.

(Image source: Web Designer Depot)


12. London Symphony Orchestra

At first glance, this might seem to be a simple logo consisting of only the initial letters that make up the London Symphony Orchestra.

But if you take the trouble to visualize, the wavy line also conjures up an abstract image of a conductor waving his baton.

(Image source: Web Designer Depot)


13. MyFonts

MyFonts is a font resource for all your font needs. Being a font resource site, they’ve got to walk the talk by having a customized font as their logo. And what better way to do that than by having the ‘My’ stylized to also look like a hand? You know, to suggest that you can get your hands on the fonts you need.

(Image source: Web Designer Depot)


14. Facebook Places

Anyone remembered the defunct Facebook Places? Considered to be a direct competitor of Foursquare, all you have to do is take a closer look at the design. Especially the rectangle meant to represent a map. Now is it just me or does the lines form a number 4?

(Image source: Business Insider)


15. Spartan Golf Club

Like most logos on this list, this one tries to represent its name. And it does it well by representing 2 things. It first features a golfer swinging his club. With the use of negative space, it secondly features a side profile of a Spartan warrior.

(Image source: Somebody Marketing)


16. Cluenatic

If you couldn’t guess from the name, Cluenatic is a puzzle game. And a puzzle game needs a puzzle as its logo. Here, the letters making up the word ‘Clue’ is arranged to look like a maze. Additionally when you view the logo as a whole, it looks like a key.

(Image source: Stumblepod)


17. Cisco

Cisco is well-known for designing, manufacturing, and selling networking equipment. It is therefore not surprising that they decide to incorporate an illustrated digital signal into their logo.

But there’s another meaning to that digital signal. In fact it looks like an abstract of the famous Gold Gate bridge in San Francisco. By choosing this design, Cisco managed to both convey what they do and where they are located at.

(Image source: Business Insider)


18. Eighty 20

At first glance, you might think that this data company’s logo is just made up of random squares arranged into 2 rows. In fact, the squares are really binary codes with the top being 1010000 and the bottom being 0010100.

The binary codes form the numbers 80 and 20 respectively. When put together they form the company’s name. You get extra geek points if you managed to figure that out without the help of this explanation.

(Image source: Stock Logos)


19. Nintendo Gamecube

I’m sure anyone will agree that this is a good logo with its clever cube-ception game going on. But it’s about to get even more clever. If you look at it this way, the blue lines also form the letter ‘G’ and the black space in between forms the letter ‘C’. And what do they represent? That’s right, Gamecube.

Well played, Nintendo. Well played.

(Image source: Business Insider)


20. US Cyber Command

Why is this logo here? It looks like any ordinary blah government logo. That’s what the United States Cyber Command wants you to think. Look closer at the inner golden ring and you’ll find 32 characters.

The meaning of the characters is a little bit hard to decipher. Many speculated it’s Cyber Commmand’s mission statement encrypted in the 32 character code. For the logo’s meaning, check out this link.

(Image source: Business Insider)


21. Microsoft XNA

XNA is a set of tools Microsoft came up with for games development. The orange dashed line that makes up one of the ‘X’ strokes is actually Morse Code spelling out XNA. _.._ is X, _. is N, and ._ is A.

(Image source: Wikipedia)


22. Picasa

Google’s image editing and sharing site does not only represent a camera shutter. Oh no. Its name Picasa is a word play on the concept that the site is a home for your photos. Casa in Spanish translates to house. Now do you see a house in the middle of the colorful shutters or do you see a house?

(Image source: Wikimedia)


23. Rdio

Rdio, although lacking an ‘A’, offers radio streaming services as its name implies. Its logo cutely uses the space in the ‘D’ and ‘O’ to contain musical notes; a semibreve and a crochet respectively.

(Image source: Business Insider)


24. The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo can be found in New York City. Naturally being a zoo, they would use animals (in this case giraffes and birds) in their logo design. But wait, take a second look at the giraffes’ legs and you’ll see New York’s cityline artfully included through the space between the legs.

(Image source: Pixel Push)


25. Pittsburgh Zoo

American zoos sure love using negative spaces in their designs. And they do it beautifully, as demonstrated by the Pittsburgh Zoo in Pennsylvania.

In case you don’t see it, there’s a gorilla and a lion staring at each other from the sides of the tree.

(Image source: Wikipedia)


Christopher Willits: OPENING : The Ghostly International artist pushes the album format into a new space with an enhanced meaning

Christopher Willits: OPENING

We’ve come to expect Ghostly International to push boundaries. The independent label excels in everything from product design to lo-fi house records, and their roster of artists is deft in crossing creative lines. San Francisco-based multimedia artist );…

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The (Sometimes Hidden) Meaning of Shapes


The shapes of objects in your design may be sending a message to users that you aren’t even aware of. Whether you put an image inside a square or circle or triangle can have an impact on what people think about that image.

Sometimes a shape is more than just a group of connected lines. The use of shapes can be obvious or subtle and appear within images or as elements in a design. Here, we will look at common shapes used in design projects and the signals they may convey.

Types of Shapes


When thinking about shapes, there are three categories to consider: Geometric, organic and abstract. While each category has its own attributes, characteristics of each can cross over from one type to another.

Geometric shapes are the basics that you learn about in elementary school. This style of shape is made with connecting lines and has recognizable geometry. Squares, rectangles, circles, triangles and crosses are geometric shapes. This type of shape often has symmetry and has a structured look and feel to it. (We will go more in depth about each of the most common geometric shapes below.)

Organic shapes are those that often represent things found in nature. These shapes are more free-flowing and less symmetrical. Organic shapes often represent things such as leaves, rocks, clouds and even elements such as an ink blot. This type of shape has an innate harmony and can add visual interest.

Abstract shapes are super-simple versions of common elements or forms. Abstract shapes are often based on organic shapes but lack true definition. The most common form of an abstract shape is an icon using an outline element.

Squares and Rectangles



Squares and rectangles are the default shape for most projects for a reason. This common shape creates a sense of equality and conformity. The familiar shape is seen as stable and trusting. The square further relates to the earth, with each of the four corners relating to the four points on a compass.

On the flip side, because this shape is so common it can sometimes be seen as boring or plain. Squares and rectangles can appear with or without borders or frames. Sometimes rectangles can appear to extend beyond the margins of a project because of their distinct vertical or horizontal shapes.

From business cards, to web pages to icons and photo frames, squares and rectangles appear in almost every design project. Text is also most-commonly set in a rectangular shape.

Squares are the least common use of this four-sided shape. (Squares have four equal sides.) Rectangles, both with horizontal or vertical shapes, are equally popular depending on the medium. Websites, for example, are more horizontally oriented but mobile devices are often more vertical. Newspapers are more vertical while business cards are often horizontal.

This shape is also the building block for other elements. Webpages are built using various combinations of rectangles are squares. So are book, newspaper and magazine pages. The shape, made of four intersecting lines, is the most used and safest shape option. While this shape typically is made of four sides that close and contain an element, squares and rectangles can also have an open shape.




Circles have a more trendy usage and are used more commonly in website and digital design than in print projects. Circles are most frequently used to represent things of the same shape that we know and create a sense of completeness.

Because a circle does not have a distinct beginning or end, they imply movement (such as a wheel). The shape is thought to have a feminine association and is connected to love, energy and power. Circles also suggest infiniteness and harmony.

In web design, circles are a common shape for buttons or call-to-action icons. The shape is also frequently used as a timer of sorts for various applications. Both of these “designed” used are thought to mirror the actual objects they mimic. Use of a circle in a project typically brings immediate attention to that element because the shape is not so commonly used.

Circles are almost always a closed shape. An element is contained within a circle or something is cut out of something else in a circular shape.




Triangles can have one of two quite opposite meanings. The shape can imply stability, power and energy when the shape rests on a solid base. But it results in feelings of conflict, tension and nervousness when the base is upside down or appears unstable. In many cultures the reference to the triangle includes some religious undertones: Body-Mind-Spirit or Father-Son-Holy ghost or Past-Present-Future.

Almost any use of a triangle implies motion. The eye is drawn to the shape and follows it from the widest part of the shape to the pointed tip. The shape in almost any form is related to masculine ideas because of strength.

Most common uses for triangles in design projects are as directional or navigation tools. Triangles are often small in relationship to the canvas and can sometimes be used in a block-style grouping to create a dynamic image or background theme. Triangles are closed shapes, made of three intersecting lines. An “open” triangle is called an angle.




While most people will immediately connect a cross shape to religion, that is not the only meaning. Crosses also symbolize health, hope and balance. A cross shape can appear in the form of a “t” or “x” or combination of intersecting lines and spaces.

Vertically-oriented crosses are thought of as strong, while horizontal options are more peaceful. The shape is mostly open, but can be connected to other shapes for a more closed feel. (The female symbol is a common example.)



Just like a doodle, a spiral is a creative and free-flowing shape. As a shape that appears in nature – think of the nautilus or a snail’s shell – the shape is associated with growth, life and transformation.

The spiral has religious association as well and creates a connection to cycles of life or time or seasons. The looped shape also has some connections to mysticism. Some of the oldest references to the shape conclude that a spiral represents the unveiling of hidden knowledge or information.

A spiral can “move” in and direction and are often open shapes, meaning the strokes do not intersect in a way that creates a container. Some say that the direction of a spiral can have implied meaning as well – clockwise spirals can imply intent while a counterclockwise spiral implies fulfillment. Multiple spirals can oppose each other and create a sense of conflict.



Curves are the most free-flowing of all the shape options. The shape is associated with movement, pleasure and generosity. Curves add a hint of the unexpected to something common.

Curves can also be added to other shapes for richer meanings. It is a popular technique to add curved edges to a square when creating an icon, for example. Because of this, curved shapes take on many of the other properties of the shape they accompany with the feeling of added softness.

This shape style can be open or closed and stands in sharp contrast to shapes with hard edges.


Using shapes can be an interesting way to add meaning or create new visual interest in a design project. As with any other type of effect, be aware of using too many shapes at once.

Most projects use shapes in such a way that you don’t even really see or think about the shapes. This is how it should be. By going overboard with shape styles, you can do more harm than good. Remember to keep it simple. If you play with shapes, stick to one “trick” and use variances of it rather than multiple shape options.

Design Shack

Interview: Afroditi Krassa: The interior designer on the true meaning of sustainability, gender politics and how she works like a chef

Interview: Afroditi Krassa

Based in London, with firm roots in Greece, Afroditi Krass has established herself as a prominent designer of her generation—particularly in interior design. Her clients range from the highly lauded furniture design house recordOutboundLink(this,…

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Megan Jean Sovern: The Meaning of Maggie

This morning I’m excited to introduce you to The Meaning of Maggie, Megan Jean’s Sovern‘s debut novel about eleven-year-old Maggie Mayfield, a “girl just trying to survive adolescence armed with after school snacks and deep thoughts.”
Megan recently worked with a team—including her equally creative husband, Ted Harbourt—to create a film trailer for the book (which you will see below), and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the process.

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

But first, before we go any further, take a minute to check out the amazing trailer below.

CDE: You mentioned that you and Ted wrote the script together. What was that process like? Do you work together often?

MJS: As two married creatives, it’s hard not to work together. Even when Ted and I aren’t teamed on a project together, we always talk through ideas with one another. Usually while eating too much spaghetti.

And the book trailer was no different. There were a lot of boundaries to work around so I’m happy I didn’t have to go it alone. I funded the production myself so we needed an idea that worked on a tiny budget. We got to thinking and I had this idea to follow Maggie as she collects knickknacks and thingamabobs for the book cover. It was Ted’s idea to have her recreate the final cover image in the end. He’s smart like that.

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

Where did the idea come from for the visuals? Was the concept development also a collaborative process?

The whole thing was inspired by the The Meaning of Maggie book cover. Chronicle Books really gave it their all and I won the book designer jackpot with Amelia Mack. It was her vision to create a still life. And she commissioned Anja Mulder to make it happen. Anja is an amazing Dutch artist and photographer. After a few months of back and forth, we had our cover. Most of the items featured are from my own collection. Including the Student of the Month button that I’ve held on to for twenty years.

Ted and I just knew the cover would translate neatly on film. So we put together a treatment.

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

How did you end up finding your team?

Finding a top-notch director to take on our small project with a teeny budget was daunting. But it was a producer friend named Liz Stovall who made it all happen. Liz and I worked together before and when I shared the treatment with her, she said we had to get Georgia Tribuiani. Georgia isn’t just a director. She’s an artist. And her eyeballs are pure magic. Liz set up a call and it was love at first chat.

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

What was the filming process like? Had you worked on a trailer film like this before?

The filming process was surreal and 100% delightful. It was honestly the best shoot of my entire career. I sourced most of the props and shipped them to LA. Our line producer, Amanda Miller, volunteered her beautiful home and her wonderful cinematographer husband to bring everything to life. Lani Trock—who is an amazing photographer—stepped in as stylist and on set art director. And there was just a handful of crew. We shot more than 30 set-ups over two days. We listened to good music, shot beautiful images and ate some amazing Thai food that I’m still thinking about.

This was my very first book trailer adventure for my very first book. And I was so lucky to be in such good hands. The scariest part was carrying my one million pound pink typewriter through LAX. TSA said it was a first.

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

Here’s where they started, a few loose bits of inspiration before translating the cover design to film.

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

Now, go buy the book! It’s currently available for pre-order at both Chronicle Books and Amazon.

The Meaning of Maggie / on Design Work Life

Creative Credits:
Georgia Tribuiani
Lani Trock
Ted Harbourt
Megan Jean Sovern

Design Work Life

Surf Sauna: Giving new meaning to mobile hotspot, this beachside accessory makes winter surfing a little more comfortable

Surf Sauna

To score the best waves in the Northeast it takes three things: dedication, luck and a thick skin. Though the water warms up to a comfortable trunks-only temperature in the summer, the best waves pound the shores of New England, New York and…

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Upstate Stock: Woolen accessories genuinely upholding the meaning of “Made in America”

Upstate Stock

by Tariq Dixon With the unyielding popularity of the heritage movement, “Made in America” can hardly be considered a novel concept. And as the claim evolves into more of a…

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Intuitiveness Has a New Meaning in Terms of App Design

Application development has always been user engagement, which is why developers have always been trying to push their limits, and evolved in a much synchronized manner with user requirements….

You can visit the website for the full article and other interesting articles.

Blogger’s Path

Logos with Hidden Meaning

For the month of August, a series of guest posters will be filling in on DWL with daily posts. Today’s posts come to you from Yael Miller of Miller Creative. For more from Yael, be sure to  follow her on Twitter. Enjoy!

There’s something so fascinating about a design that has some kind of hidden detail that makes all the difference and leaves you with this really satisfied feeling. We all know about the FedEx hidden-arrow logo, so I’ve collected some lesser-known logos from different designers that I know of on Dribble, that contain some type of hidden element or dual meaning. Which one is your favorite?

(01. Paul Saksin, 02. Dalius Stuoka, 03. Tyler Reckart, 04. Breno Bittencourt)

(o5. Breno Bittencourt, 06. Josiah Jost, 07. Breno Bittencourt, 08. Richard Baird)

(09. Naftoli Mann, 10. J. Fletcher Design,  11. Rock The F Out, 12. Yossi Belkin)

(13. Kendrick Kidd, 14. Igor Garybaldi, 15. Mike Bruner, 16. Paulius Kairevičius)

(17. Kevin Burr, 18. Gert van Duinen, 19. Markus Tallasken Halvorsen)

Design Work Life

Cool Hunting Video: NW Cannabis Market: Farm-to-table takes a different meaning in our look at this Seattle farmers market

Cool Hunting Video: NW Cannabis Market

During our recent visit to Seattle, WA we stopped by an unusual farmers market, where instead of tomatoes and tangerines, customers can purchase medical cannabis. The NW Cannabis Market, open seven days a week at…

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