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  • Writer's pictureKanhaiya Maheshwary

The hidden stories behind 7 of the world's famous brand logos!

Brand logos are pretty much everywhere - on the dial of the watch we wear, at the backside of our Smartphones, on the bottle of our morning vitamin supplement, our college and office bags etc. But sometimes it is the very things that are in front of our eyes daily that we miss paying attention to. And same is the case with Brand Logos.

Brand logos aren't without a reason. Besides being an embodiment of the company and making a brand instantly recognizable, they often contain hidden meanings. Let's take a look at a few brand logos and understand what they want to convey:


Nike's swoosh is one of the most instantly recognizable brand logos. The brand name comes from the Greek goddess of victory (how apt!), and graphic designer Carolyn Davidson wanted to represent her wings to depict the goddess' swift movements, and thus came the logo for which she was paid merely $35! Imagine.


Toyota's logo has undergone several iterations over the years. The brand itself started out as Toyoda and became Toyota over time. In fact, the current logo which came about in 1989 is said to have been chosen from 46,000 logos developed over the years. All of Toyota's alphabets, i.e. T O Y O T A can be traced inside this logo. But since the customers don't analyze so deeply, this logo was meant to depict Toyota's "T" in the eastern markets, and these oval shapes are meant to convey the heart of the client and the Toyota car.


There are many different stories surrounding this logo, and I haven't been able to find out which one is true. But they are all interesting, so here we go. The first theory (a funny one) is that the bottom part of Levis' logo actually depicts what it is meant to cover - our buttocks! Now that you've seen it, you can never unsee it. The second theory is that it depicts the way the Levis jeans pockets are cut. Whereas the third theory is that it depicts the signature stitch on the back pocket of a Levis. Now that one I can buy!


Rob Yanov, the designer commissioned to come up with Apple's logo spent about a week trying to sketch different ideas. While doing so, he would keep biting into apples to keep him alert and full. It was while taking one of the 'bites' that he realized that word sounds exactly like the computer terminology 'byte', and thus he had his eureka moment. Talk about Kaufman's 4 stages of creativity and illumination!


This is another one of those brand logos which has multiple meanings, depending upon the interpreter. Both of BMW's logo origin theories seem to be possible. The first one says that the white and blue quadrants depict an aircraft propeller spinning in the blue sky. Considering that BMW started out as an aircraft engine manufacturer (like its competitor Mercedes) before facing economic instability. The other theory is that it simply reflects the flag colors of Bavaria, which is believable considering BMW stands for Bavarian Motor Works.

Le Tour De France

Tour De France, the most iconic multiple stage bike race held over the course of 23 days, has an interesting bit of history behind its logo too. If you look closely, the letters 'u' and 'r' depict a cyclist whereas the yellow color behind depicts the sun, since the race happens only during day time. On a side note, the way Tour De France came into being merits its own marketing story. It was actually done as a marketing activity to save a failing French newspaper!


One of my most favorite brands (simply because David Beckham endorses it) has a crazy story behind it. It is said that Pepsi deliberately got its logo designed in a way so as to contain multiple hidden meanings. Pepsi's logo contains the yin and the yang, references to the Earth's magnetic field and gravitation, the golden ratio, Monalisa's smile, and of course colors of the US national flag among many other things. Not sure if Pepsi's logo, or the Da Vinci Code!

There are 100s of famous brand logo which have their own history. But in the interest of time, I chose to cover only these 7 that I found the most interesting. If you wish you discuss or want to know about any more, feel free to contact me!

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