You have probably seen the FedEx logo tens of thousands of times, but did you see the arrow subtly embedded in it? How about the inscription of “mom” in the Wendy’s logo, which can be seen in Wendy’s collar, symbolizing home cooked food? Or the “31” in Baskin Robbins, and the New York skyline making up the legs of the giraffes in The Bronx Zoo logo.
Clever design and branding provide unique opportunities to create subliminal messages or discoveries. This week, one of best hidden gem logos I remember as a kid was re-introduced. The Milwaukee Brewers ball-in-glove logo will emblazon the team’s uniforms in 2020, commemorating their 50th season.
I was 12 when I first saw the Brewers logo and immediately saw the ball-in-glove that makes up the “M” and “B”. It is subtle yet genius, especially when you actually make the discovery inside the glove. According to an ESPN article, Ryan Braun, who was drafted by the team in 2005 did not see the symbolism in the logo until five years being with the organization. In fairness, the team wore uniforms with a different logo, but occasionally played with the ball-in-glove throwbacks.
The old but new again logo was part of a contest conducted by the team. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire art student Tom Meindel designed it with a few modifications, such as connecting the webbing of the glove to the thumb and adding more realistic stitching to the ball. He also changed the color from the original royal blue to navy blue.
As evidenced by the Brewers, branding and logos must evolve. We have recently seen Volkswagen, Slack, Dropbox, and Staples also make changes to bring excitement to their respective brands. Changing or modifying colors, fonts, and the mark are all part of the process.
The ones most memorable integrate nuance and subtlety. And it is in the eye of the beholder to find it. However, not everyone will have the same perception. Sometimes a brand can be demonized, like Monster Energy drinks. But that is an entirely different story.