Surprising Hidden Messages in Logos

Posted on June 21, 2024 | Updated on June 27, 2024

Have you ever glanced at a logo and thought you saw something else? Hidden messages in logos can be intentional or accidental. You’ve likely seen the viral images floating around the internet of Starbucks’ logo on the side of a van. When the vehicle door slides open, the word becomes “sucks” instead of “Starbucks.”

Some designers hide messages in logos to give a nod to the history of the company, create an insider joke for users or for fun. Once you learn how to look for these surprise messages, you’ll never look at or design logos the same way again. 

How to Find Hidden Messages in Logos

Finding hidden messages in logos is a matter of paying attention to the details. Take a step back from the computer and look at the emblem from different angles. View the image:

  • At eye level
  • From right and left
  • Sit on the floor and look up
  • Stand and look down

Picture a 360-degree view of the logo and view it from every position. You should also stare at pinpoints to see if anything new takes shape. Consider the literal and abstract aspects of the design. 

Here are some popular logos and their hidden meanings to practice on. Once you get a feel for finding hidden messages, it will be easier to spot them on your own. 

1. Baskin Robbins

screenshot of baskin robbins to show hidden messages in logos

Baskin Robbins is an ice cream brand known for featuring 31 flavors. As a nod to the number of options in their stores, the logo uses the initials of the company and then hides a 31 by adding well-placed color transitions and serifs. The straight line of the letter R becomes the number one. The use of pink next to dark brown makes a three. 

The result is a magic eye type image that morphs between the letters and numbers. Designers can apply the concept to their own designs by understanding the finer details of a company and adding elements to tell a story.

2. Amazon

amazon logo

Amazon uses a word mark with an arrow under it. At first glance, the arrow blends into the overall design. It may indicate quick shipping or movement. However, there is a hidden meaning. 

Amazon has long mentioned they offer everything you could need from A to Z. If you look at where the logo starts and ends, it points to the letter A and then moves to Z.

Arrows are an excellent way to highlight portions of your logo and plant a message for viewers. 

3. Toblerone

image showing a toblerone candy bar and the hidden message in logo
Source: Photo from Unsplash by photographer Morgan Thompson

Toblerone has a hidden meaning in their logo that isn’t easy to spot at first glance. If you’ve eaten this candy, you’ve probably noticed the little mountain logo on all their wrappers to indicate it is Swiss chocolate. 

Look a bit closer at the mountain logo and you’ll see a bear shape in the white part on the left. This is a nod to Bern, the hometown of the company. Bern’s symbol is a bear. Adding subtle but interesting elements embraces the history of the company and shares a little about them through their logo design. 

When designing a logo for a client, talk to them about where they started and what they’ve overcome. Look for symbols you can hide in the design related to origin or challenges they’ve overcome. 

4. Tostitos

tostitos logo has a hidden message of people coming together to snack

Tostitos’ logo has some cute symbolism in it you may not have noticed. The red dot over the “i” gives the design a pop of color. However, it also represents a bowl of salsa. The yellow triangle is supposed to be a tortilla chip. The T’s are slanted and have dots above to represent two people. Various sources state the idea is that people are coming together over a tasty snack. 

5. Wendy’s

wendy's logo with hidden message of "mom"

Wendy’s is a brand mentioned frequently in marketing circles. They are geniuses about creating buzz around their name. The logo is no exception. Users realized the image of the young red-headed girl is more than just that. Her collar spells the word “Mom.” Once you see it, it’s impossible to unsee it. 

Wendy’s claims it was unintentional but it provides a subliminal message that their cooking is just like mom’s good, old-fashioned homemade food. 

When designing, you may inadvertently add hidden messages. It’s crucial to be aware of the possibility because some messages may put a brand in a negative light. Have multiple people review a design before sending it to a client. 

6. Houston Zoo

houston zoo new logo

The Houston Zoo’s logo grabs the letter zoo to indicate the industry. However, they also make the ends of the letter Z look like hands tilting in opposite directions. The zoo states that the logo is meant to highlight the connection humans share with the natural world and trying to save animals. The two hands symbolize people’s role in important conservation work. 

The logo colors embrace nature, using white and two hues of green. Designers can learn a lot from this logo because of how subtle the messaging is. At first glance, it’s just a lettermark with a green color palette. The messaging is subtle but powerful. 

What Other Hidden Messages Have You Noticed

Pay attention to colors, symbols and the way images morph together in logo designs. You’ll find many hidden messages and be in the know as a designer. You can apply some of the concepts to your own work, creating special notes for people to decipher. The best logos look like one thing on the surface but morph into something different upon closer inspection. 

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About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

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