Moving anthem

Continuing on the football theme, this ad from Umbro really struck a chord, and touched me... Is this a sign that I am starting to blend into my host culture? Com'on you England.

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Logo, No logo

Moment of revelation.

After the photo exhibition I took part in a few months back, I received some proofs in a bag from FujiFilm. The plastic bag has been sitting in the middle of my living room for weeks, and something was bothering me without I could put my finger on it. And one day I took a step back, literally.

Hot POOThat is when I saw the truth... This bag was in reality a value judgement about my photographic work. Three green letters and I realised what people may think about my pictures! No wonder I prefer usually other photo brands like Ilford or Kodak.

Logo are like words.

I obviously hope that Fuji's tactlessness is not intentional, but the mere reflect of a lack of international acumen. There are numerous examples of such design bugs like the Saab 900 SE for example. This was a classical Scandinavian car but also a questionable choice for a model name: once spelled out on the back of the cab you could clearly read that the car was a 900se (goose). I wonder if that was some kind of a private joke when the Germans re-baptised the VW Golf into VW Rabbit for the US market...

But some logos are just brilliant. They convey smartly some messages that are subliminally influencing the eye of their viewers. Let's share today some of these hidden secrets:

Let's start with a reference to my dear Alps. Hidden in the rocky alpine landscape of this famous chocolate packaging can be found the silhouette of a bear standing on its back paws... A tribute to Basel, the original city of Toblerone.

Galeries Lafayette is a department store in Paris. The desire of this megastore was to establish itself as an iconic landmark, a synonym of the Parisian touch. That is probably what inspired the graphic designer to turn the two "t" into a graphical representation of the Eiffel Tower, the international symbol of Paris.

"Carrefour" means the crossroad in French. It is also a major retail chain in the world, the place where the offer meets the demand with a tremendous choice of goods... This encounter was represented in the logo where a white C for Carrefour is enshrined in two arrows, a red one pointing to the left and a blue one pointing to the right. It may take you a while to see the C (it took me 30 years) until you see it, and then you cannot see anything else but that letter.

Whilst talking about arrows, here are two other famous examples. The first one is FedEx, which is a company that goes forward whatever it takes to deliver your parcels. Remember that super long commercial with Tom Hanks called Cast Away (well, Robert Zemeckis may argue it is a movie... for me, it is a 143' long tribute to the courier company). Anyway to embody this determination, an arrow is hidden in the logo. Right here between the E and the X.

Amazon too has got an arrow in his logo. This one is not hidden, but it conveys a strong message. More than an arrow it's a smile, and a smile that brings you from A to Z, implying that the extensive catalogue of goods and services offered by the Seattle-based company is a source of consumer joy.

And finally what is probably my preferred logo story. The TGV, or Train Grande Vitesse (High Speed Train), is the jewel of the French railways. Super fast, it is the exact opposite of a snail, the symbol of slow motion by excellence... Again, this idea can be literally visualised, and if you reverse the fluid and forward projected logo, then a snail logotype appears in front of you.

As you can imagine, I love signs and symbols. And logos are nothing but signs applied a commercial message. If you want to unlock more mysteries behind brand logos I recommend these two articles (1, 2). Until then, check out around you, there may be some subliminal messages influencing your behaviours.

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