Best Graphic Design Ideas: Puns and Hidden Meanings in Logos

Puns symbolize cleverness and the excellent art of wordplay. But what really are visual puns? And what are they doing in the world of logo designs? It really is quite a story, a discussion worthy enough to be done over a cup of coffee…and may be a lounger too (no puns intended here)!

A visual pun is all about the dual meaning of an image and a word or two even – sometimes intended for sheer humor and sometimes to hide within a greater, deeper meaning. Words can never aptly describe a visual pun. Let’s look at some examples of best graphic design and hidden meanings in logos instead.

The Big Ten little story:
Big Ten Conference, the renowned and oldest Division 1 college athletic conference of USA was undergoing a logo change in 1990. And then, it decided to incorporate the number of member schools within this logo. The result – a cleverly crafted design yelling ‘Big Ten’ with an ’11’ showing in the negative space. This very number was the number of its member schools back in 1990. What a way to pun!

The Smiling ‘g’ of Goodwill:
Goodwill Industries International Inc., the training and placement provider for disabled, has a smiling face in its logo. When noticed carefully, this smiling face turns out to be a lower case ‘g’ – quite a dual meaning picture!

It’s the sun everywhere for Sun Microsystems:
Google up and look at the logo of Sun Microsystems. It’s an ambigram with four interleaved copies of the word ‘sun’. Quite an interesting graphic design idea and a puffed-up logo, it is!

The alphabet magic of Amazon:
Amazon did it best. The arrow heading from the ‘A’ to the ‘z’ of it, is enough to speak on behalf of this e-commerce king. It says, “We sell everything, from A to Z!” – the best graphic design idea out of the lot.

What does Baskin-Robbins do?
Well, it sells ice-creams. How many flavors? It’s 31. And how on earth did I know? Simple, the logo depicts it all. Look, there’s a 31 between Baskin and Robbins in it.

The FedEx logo – the eye trick:
An import-export business is a lot about speed and progress. FedEx understood it and decided to represent it in their logo. Notice the negative space between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’ – there’s an arrow hidden in between!

Sony Vaio – a nerd’s smart talk:
The Sony Vaio logo is unique and speaks of technology out-and-out. The ‘V’ and ‘A’ together form the shape of a wave. This represents the analog technology (Yes, it gets a little geek-ish here) and the ‘I’ and ‘O’ stands for the digital technology (Remember binary computing and the digits 1 and 0?). Thought-provoking indeed!

LG and the Pac-Man:
You won’t believe it until you see it for yourself. The LG logo hides the Pac-Man inside. Take the ‘L’ and fit it into the open ‘G’. You have your game hero there! Life’s really, really Good with the LG Pac-Man (wink).

Warrior head – the Spartan Golf Club:
Okay, a golf club should definitely depict something about golfing. The Spartan Golf Club did exactly that. The first look of the logo seems like a golfer in action. But upon close observation, you’ll learn that it is actually a Spartan warrior’s head. Nice dualism! Can we have the nominees for the best graphic design award, please? Sigh, if only we could.

A post by Chayanika Deka. 9th of May, 2014.


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