Hidden logos & misunderstood symbols

So you think you know logos? Test your logo knowledge by taking our Hidden Logos & Misunderstood Symbols quiz.

We all like to think we know logos, but do we really? A 5 part trivia quiz that deals with hidden elements in famous logos, some misunderstood symbols and a little bit of logo history thrown in for good measure. Answers when you click. Score at the bottom after you finish.

Ready? Let’s have at it..

This cold war era logo is a symbol that represents:

Fallout Shelter & Radiation Symbols The Fallout Shelter symbol (known officially as the National Fallout Shelter Sign) is often confused for the Radiation Symbol (aove right) and is often used erroneously instead of it in media, particularly movies and video games. Ironically, it was originally planned to use the Radiation Symbol for the Fallout Shelter signs, but it was thought that the dual use might be confusing, and while the Radiation Symbol is a warning sign, the Fallout Shelter symbol was designed to encourage people to enter the designated building. Signs featuring the Fallout Shelter symbol often featured numbers that reflected the maximum capacity of the shelter. The Fallout Shelter sign was introduced in 1961, and used yellow and black color combination, recognized by psychologists as the most attention getting and clearly visible up to 200 feet away.

The international Radiation Symbol (right - also known as Trefoil) was designed in 1946 in the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory at University of California. The original version was magenta on a blue background, but changed shortly thereafter into the modern day version of black on yellow. The measurements and proportions are very specific, and the angles of the 'blades are exact (60 degrees to each other).

The old Procter & Gamble logo is considered by some to be:

A rumor that the old Procter & Gamble logo was a Satanic symbol, perhaps the logo of the Church of Satan itself, began sometime in 1980 and still continues with new life on the internet today, even though the logo in question was phased out almost thirty years ago. People who believe the myth point to the thirteen stars (supposedly a rip on a Revelations verse), two horns at the bottom and top of the face, as well as what they claim are three inverted sixes found in the character's beard. By playing connect the dots with the stars, several sixes can also be drawn out (though it takes a few visual liberties to get all three). At its height, P & G were receiving up to 15,000 phone calls a month about the issue, most of them demanding to know of the company's connection to The Dark Lord. Proctor Gamble Satanic Logo Here's the real deal: the P & G trademark dates back to 1851, when due to literacy rates, symbols where more prevalent, the 'Man in the Moon' was a common visual, and the thirteen stars represented the original thirteen colonies. It's unclear where the rumor began, but over the years Procter & Gamble has launched several lawsuits against distributors of Amway products, receiving one $19 million judgment, when a jury decided in their favor. P&G is the 4th most profitable corporation in the world, and the 4th largest corporation in the US. Eventually, in May of 1985, the company dropped the 'Man in the Moon' logo for a simple italic font treatment. Probably just as well.

What's hidden in the negative space of the FedEx logo?

Graphic designers often argue about the 'hidden arrow' in the Federal Express logo. Was it an example of breathtakingly simple graphic design brilliance, or just another case of lucky visual happenstance? According to Lindon Leader who designed the mark in 1994 as Senior Design Director at Landor Associates, the arrow was part of the plan from day one.

"I was studying Univers 67 (Bold Condensed) and Futura Bold, both wonderful faces. But each had its potential limitations downstream in application to thousands of FedEx media, from waybills and embroidered courier caps to FedEx.com and massive signage for aircraft, buildings and vehicles. Moreover, neither was particularly suited to forcing an arrow into its assigned parking place without torturing the beautifully crafted letterforms of the respective faces."
That should settle it. And so should this: Hidden Arrow in the FedEx logo

The original Volkswagen logo featured:

What's in the Volkswagen logo
Despite numerous conspiracy theories (including an internet myth that claims when a VW hubcap is spun at a particular RPM, a Nazi Swastika can be seen through the blur), the Volkswagen logo has always featured the letters V & W. In German, Volkswagen means, quite literally "People's Car" so the V & W letters featured in the logo are an abbreviation for that phrase. It's true that the original car company had connections to the Nazi party - Adolf Hitler began his "Volkswagen" program to create a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children and financing was available to approved citizens of the Third Reich - the logo for the company had an extremely non-controversial beginning. It was designed as part of an inter-office logo design competition by an engineer named Franz Reimspiess who won 50 Marks for his trouble. At times, the logo incorporated the cog from the socialist German Labour Front logo (above center) but never contained a Swastika in its absolute form.

Something is hiding in the Toblerone Chocolate logo. It is..

A bear you say? Still don't buy it? Okay, let's look at the logo. Not seeing it yet? Let's zoom in and outline the hidden element: There he is! According to corporate legend Theodor Tobler, the creator and namesake of Toblerone, found his inspiration for both the shape of his chocolate and the company logo from the triangular shape of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. In a less corporate friendly version of the story, and according to Theodor's sons, the triangular shape originates from a pyramid shape that dancers at the Paris Folies Bergeres created as the finale of a show that Theodor attended, and was apparently quite impressed by. Toblerone was originally created by Theodor and his wife in 1908. The product's name is a portmanteau combining Tobler's name with the Italian word torrone (a type of nougat). The logo for the company and bar features a bear, 'hidden' in the snows of the Matterhorn mountain, and is taken from the official symbol of Bern (left), the Swiss town in which the confectionery is manufactured.