A defining moment in a designer’s education is when they first learn of the hidden area within the FedEx logo. Once you see it, it’s hard not to focus upon the subtle area of genius. If you’re a creative you’ve probably seen this example of ‘a great logo’ a thousand times in lectures & blogs but it’s always fun to see again. So, if you’re not aware of the forward-facing hidden arrow between the E and x, prepare to have your mind blown.
For many, FedEx is seen as the pinnacle of logo design achievement. Solid form, with a clever hidden twist that creates a smile in the mind. I’ve said on many occasions that a logo doesn’t have to be clever to be successful, but it can help to get recognition. Let’s face it, those ‘AHA! I see it!’ moments can feel good, for both designers and viewers. Unexpectedly, I had one of these myself recently whilst looking at the packaging of a product that I use every single day.
To the untrained eye the Gillete logo may just look like any other commercial font that you might expect to be used by large corporate companies. It’s set in a modern sans-serif typeface which you could argue is a ‘very safe’ bland option. The italics give a sense of speed & the extra bold weight makes it look less threatening. I had always noticed the diagonal slice on the i but if we look closer, especially in the negative space created between the G & i, you might see something more familiar.
The negative space forms two blade-like shapes on top of each other which is obviously a reference to the product that Gillette produces. That’s what I love about great logo designs. For me, trying to force something to work in a clever way that can look awkward just for the sake of a clever trick is far inferior than the subtle hidden elements that don’t smack you in the face and try to grab your attention. That’s what can make a logo truly memorable.