Logos are the "face" of a company. The best corporate logos have significant favorable impacts on bottom lines. From color, to image, to typeface selections, your company's logo matters more than you think. A logo conveys a certain personality that can speak a thousand words.
But sometimes logos don't speak loud enough. These iconic tech logos have hidden meanings that most of us have overlooked.
Google's logo consists of four different colors--blue, green, yellow, and red. One of these colors is not like the other.
Whereas blue, yellow, and red are primary colors, green is a secondary color. As cited by Wired, Ruth Kedar who designed the iconic logo, explains, "We ended up with the primary colors, but instead of having the pattern go in order, we put a secondary color on the L, which brought back the idea that Google doesn't follow the rules."
The color blue is ubiquitous among technology company logos. LinkedIn, AT&T, HP, Samsung, IBM, Skype, Nokia, Dell, Twitter, the list goes on. Blue conveys trust and security, values that all technology companies aim to convey. According to 99designs, 59 percent of technology logo design contests request that submissions be blue.
Yet Facebook didn't select blue as its hue because of connotations. Rather, according to The New Yorker, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a red-green color blindness. He explains, "blue is the richest color for me--I can see all of blue."
In 2014, Airbnb, as part of a rebranding project, redesigned its logo. It faced backlash, with many critics suggesting it resembled one or more sexual organs.
If you examine it closely, you'll notice the logo is a combination of four symbols: "a head to represent people, a location icon to represent place, a heart to represent love and a letter A for Airbnb". The company refers to the symbol as Bélo. The combination of the four symbols is intended to represent belonging.
Few realize the connection between the seven letters that comprise the word Cisco and the company's heritage. "Cisco" is derived from San Francisco, the city where the company saw its beginnings.
In line with the heritage theme, the blue vertical stripes on Cisco's logo collectively resemble San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. According to a company blog post, the Cisco founders decided on the logo after driving to Sacramento to register the company. "They saw the Golden Gate Bridge framed in the sunlight and that's how our Cisco logo was born."
With a cursory look at Amazon's logo, you might think the arrow is meant to represent a smile. Look closer and you'll realize there's more to the story. The arrow starts at the letter "A" and ends at the letter "Z" and is meant to imply that Amazon sells everything imaginable.
It's not too hard to discern why Snapchat incorporated an image of a ghost into its logo. In much the same way that a ghost vanishes, so too do Snapchat messages. But the yellow color choice is a bit more difficult to discern. As cited by the Daily Mail, CEO Evan Spiegel explains, "When we started to research, we looked at the top 100 apps and noticed that none of them were yellow."
Sometimes we go too far in trying to unearth hidden meanings in logos. Many have subscribed to the belief that Apple's logo is an ode to the late computer scientist Alan Turing who died after biting into an apple laced with cyanide. Others have proposed that the apple represents knowledge and was inspired by the forbidden fruit eaten by Eve or the apple that led Sir Isaac Newton to the concept of gravity. According to Rob Janoff, the designer of the logo, these are all just urban legends.
Whether or not your logo incorporates a hidden message won't likely make or break your business. But, especially as logos become simpler and more minimalist, hidden messages can be an effective avenue to leverage your logo to tell powerful stories. You'll afford your customers a small sense of satisfaction when they solve the puzzle.