Every now and then, a major brand’s logo design generates a lot of buzz for all the wrong reasons. It’s usually just a trick of the eye that transforms the logo into something completely different. Sometimes you don’t even needing to modify the original at all; but many times there are unfortunate associations. And some of them can be hard to unsee.
So let’s take a look at some of the most popular that you’ll never be able to unsee.
**Be warned, the last few may be on the offensive side…
1. Pepsi = Fat Man
Pepsi fat man [Image Source]
This is one of the most popular big-brand logo memes of all time. By simply adding a head, arms, and legs to the logo, it transforms into a fat guy with his gut hanging out of his shirt. This image became so popular that the artist started selling t-shirts of his version of the Pepsi logo.
Embrace it, Pepsi: You’re full of sugar, and we love you for it.
2. Alfa Romeo Logo : Dragon breathing fire, serpent eating a man, or snake with tongue?
Serpent [Image Source]
The answer, in fact, is serpent eating a man – or a child, to be more specific. It was inspired by a family coat of arms that the brand’s designer saw in Milan.
“The official story of the logo is that Romano Cattaneo was given the task to come up with a badge for the then new company, in 1910. While waiting for a train at Piazza Castello in Milan, he gained inspiration from the Visconti family’s coat of arms displayed on a door. It features a “biscione” which is a serpent eating a human child.” [Source]
Earlier versions of the logo were less ambiguous, depicting a much clearer human victim. The current version, however, has been around since 1972 and the source of trivial water-cooler debates ever since.
3. Walmart = Star Wars Galactic Empire
Walmart-galactic image [Image Source]
In 2008, Wal-Mart went through a re-brand and released their shiny new logo to the world. And while the aesthetics of the “burst” were met with the criticism you’d expect for such a controversial brand, the techie crowd recognized the design right away. And it spread from there.
4. KFC’s Stick Figure Sanders
KFC stick figure [Image Source]
Much like the Pepsi-fat guy meme, this logo needed just a minor tweak to transform Colonel Sanders into a caricature of himself. Though unlike Pepsi, the outcome is perhaps a bit more ironic than apropos. Still, this one’s hard not to see every time I eat there.
5. Google Chrome = Simon (the electronic memory game)
Chrome Simon [Image Source]
If you were a child in the 80’s, like myself, you probably remember this game. And if Google was trying to make the logo & icon for their web browser futuristic and nostalgic at the same time, they succeeded. Or perhaps it’s just a subconscious warning that their product stops when you get too many tabs in. Challenge accepted.
6. LG = Pac-Man
LG Pac-Man[Image Source]
In its original form, LG’s logo looks more like a face than anything else. But as soon as someone points out that it is Pac-Man, just slightly altered, that’s all you can see.
What’s more, when you see the transition in animated Gif form, it’s hard to believe this isn’t exactly what the designer intended:
LG Pac-Man gif [Image Source]
7. Boston Market = Stewie
Stewie Boston Market [Image Source]
Boston Market has been around since 1985 and their logo hasn’t changed much. But in 1999, along comes a cartoon called Family Guy. Thanks to their remarkable similarity in shape, whenever I look at the Boston Market logo all I see is everybody’s favorite cartoon baby with a football-shaped head. (And don’t say “Hey Arnold” because he was a 4th grader.)
8. Adidas = Sinking Ship
MS paint drawing [Image Source]
It’s not exactly the most positive brand message one could have. Certainly not as harmless as turning the brand name into an acronym. Adidas has been using the three stripes logo for just about ever, but it only took a simple edit in MS Paint to point out that this particular version resembles the smoke stacks of a sinking ship.
Cleaner ship art [Image Source]
Unfortunately, this little visual anomaly makes Adidas an easier target for critics during times of bad publicity. Case in point:
[London riots screenshot]
9. Vans = square root of the answer
If you hadn’t heard this before, you may never look at this logo the same again. No editing necessary.
It’s not hard to see, especially if you’re a math person. And, I suppose if you do the math, it doesn’t exactly send the message the brand might want: why settle for less than the FULL answer?
But luckily for Vans, that’s not exactly going to be part of the shoe-shopping thought process.
10. Dodge Ram = Female Reproductive System
logo [Image Source]
If the fact that a ram slightly resembles the shape of the female reproductive system in the first place wasn’t enough, the red color and detail of the Ram in the Dodge brand’s logo did it in. The similarity to the diagram of the female reproductive organs is simply too much to overlook. And once it was pointed out by a student at Columbia University, drivers of other truck brands couldn’t help themselves but share with Ram owners.
11. Dodge Viper = Daffy Duck
Viper with inverted [Image Source]
This one doesn’t quite jump out at you like some of the other ones, but when you see it…it’s definitely there. Those who have trouble seeing this one, look for a black and white picture negative of Daffy Duck (in the upside down logo). See it now?
[Picture of Daffy]
12. Twitter = Handicapped
Twitter handicapped gif [Gif Source]
The twitter bird is the main “logo” for the social media brand, but since the “t” icon is used so often as buttons across the web, it’s as recognizable as the bird and then some.
And it’s when you overlay the universal icon for handicapped on top of this icon of icons that you notice that it fits perfectly. A little too perfectly…
I don’t know what else to add. That’s unfortunate?
**If you think that’s bad…don’t continue. Seriously, I’m not kidding, don’t scroll down any further.**
14. London Olympics = Lisa and Bart Simpson doing what?
2012 Olympics Logo
This ruins both the Olympics and my favorite TV show of all time. No matter how much I wanted to, I simply couldn’t leave it off this list. If you don’t see it right away, then scroll down. When you add color you get a clearer picture of what’s “going on” in the logo:
With color added [Image Source]
I’m really sorry….
Did you learn anything new? Which of these logo perspectives surprised you the most?