The hidden message
in a good logo.

What makes a logo a really good logo?


There are many reasons why one logo is more ‘successful’ than the other. One reason is the hidden message. On the internet numerous blogs are written about logos with a hidden message. Mostly it’s about logos that creatively made use of the so-called ‘negative space’. This is the white space that appears in the logo between the letters or image shapes. You have to look twice to discover a second image or text. A well known example is the white arrow in the FedEx logo. As a designer, it is fun to design this kind of logos. Besides using negative space, a logo can be strengthened in other ways; because the characters form something that where the brand is about, or an element has a double meaning, or by rotating a logo can be seen otherwise.

But these things are not the ones I would like to discuss here. Many famous logos have something that is much more interesting. Some brands (both existing and start-ups) pay huge amounts for the development of their logo. I’m talking about multiples of € 10.000, – or even € 100.000,-, and the design process takes months. Do you consider that a waste of money? Only when you completely understand that certain information is hidden in such way the logo is much more powerful, such amount can be explained.

The last fifty years the world is flooded with logos. Logos are prominent everywhere; in the mainstream media, on the street, in commercials and on product packaging. In games, music, movies, on clothing and in magazines. Studies have shown that an average human being is exposed to hundreds of logos every day. Psychology scientists have proven that subliminal messages can be transferred subconsciously, in a fraction of a second, so that they may influence our behaviors later. But what are these hidden messages or signals which are processed in logos? The answer: symbolism.

Hidden in plain sight

Symbolism is used in almost all the famous brands. On top you noticed logos of Google Chrome, Apple, Pepsi, Chanel, Shell, Heineken, Nike, and the pharmacy. All logos with hidden symbolism. An just because I’m interested, I searched the internet for the meaning of automotive brand logos. What is claimed on designer websites and even on own car brand websites… I was surprised of the fairy tales I read. Or actually I was not, because I understand that the real story behind a logo should be kept secret. Otherwise the logo loses power and influence.

To see what is really displayed in logos and what it is that gives power and exposure, we must go far back in time. Symbolism is deeply rooted. I have been interested in ancient civilizations all my life. Besides my work as a designer, I deal with archeology, astronomy and theology on a daily basis. And guess what; let that combine wonderful together. I work with images and words; imagery. The Latin word “logos” means “word”, so with my logo designs I can tell a lot.

Sunflower seeds and Plato

And there is so much to tell… too much to discuss here. What is it with that inimitable buildings that we find in e.g. Egypt, Cambodia, Easter Island, Mexico and Peru? And what is the connection between the Notre Dame and the Louvre in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York? What does Leonardo Da Vinci tell us with The Last Supper and the Vitruvian Man? What about country flags, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter. A4 copy paper, sunflower seeds and Plato…

If your are into this, you are at the right place. You can invite me to personally explain, preferably in the company of your entire board or management. If you still are very enthusiastic, please contact me for a new logo with a more powerful meaning.