Archive for July, 2010

50 Fantastically Clever Logos

23 Jul

I know everybody and their brother does logo roundups so you’re probably sick of them, but I don’t believe I’ve ever done one and there is a particularly impressive brand of logo design that I wanted to point out.

Today we’ll look at 50 logos that are the result of going beyond the typical thought process and injecting a little wit and hidden symbolism into the design process.

Like the article? Be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed and follow us on Twitter to stay up on recent content.

What Makes a Logo Clever?

To explain what I mean by “clever” logo design, let’s take a look at a typical logo, (i.e. one that isn’t clever).


The logo above is a nice piece of work. The colors are perfect, the lettering is masculine, the overall feel is athletic and the glossy effect works well. It’s everything that it needs to be.

However, my favorite type of logo design is that which takes the assignment one step further. Rather than just making something attractive, these designers look at the design process with a pinch of added intelligence and a perspective that skewed enough to see things differently than the rest of the world.

These types of logos make you smile at the brilliance of both the idea and the execution and have several layers of meaning that can hit you in waves. Some are amazing in their obviousness to all who see them and some find excellence in hidden secrets.

I’ve broken down this collection into three categories: visual double entendres (two things in one), word and character art, and ambigrams. Ambigrams definitely also fall into the word art category but I wanted to give them special recognition because they’re so difficult to pull off effectively (if you don’t believe me, try to make one!).

Visual Double Entendres

Lion Bird

If you stare straight at the bird’s feet for a second, a stunningly clear lion’s face emerges. Brilliant design!


Chad 2010

I love this one. There’s a sort of ribbon theme that makes both a face and the continent of Africa.



Simply beautiful use of negative space. The golfer and his swing double as a soldier’s face.



A tent and a pencil.



A pepper and a horn.



Green here is symbolized by a tree and labs is represented by the brain. That’s a sharp looking tree brain!



Another pencil idea very similar to the one above. This one is a parachute and a pencil.



A tongue and a leaf. A little creepy but a great idea!



The letter “G” and a guitar. Simple but effective.


Mr. Couch

This is definitely one of my favorites. The couch has cleverly been crafted to also be a face with a mustache. Excellent work!


Eco Pup

The dog’s ears are leaves. Sometimes subtle is better.



The open envelope creates a house shape.



The open book makes a tent. Not my favorite but it makes for a good visual read.


Australian Pork

This one makes me laugh. Australia has been turned into a pig’s snout!



The city skyline doubles as a row of cell phones.



I love that the shape of the hills genuinely matches the shape that cards make when you peak at them while they lie face down on the table.



This one goes on and on. The matches come together to make a heart. There are two of them (they match). Fire represents passion. etc. etc.



Ideas are often represented by lightbulbs. Turning the phrase “think tank” into a lightbulb tank was genius.



This one is an excellent piece of art. The rocket blasting off and leaving smoke trails clearly makes a guitar shape.



This one is simple but so incredibly effective. It looks like both a suitcase and a folded dress shirt with a tie. The latter really emphasizes the “suit” aspect and therefore represents professionalism.



Another really subtle double entendre. The hands on the clock make an airplane.



The buildings in the city skyline are all arrows pointing upward.


Country Living Dentistry

The white picket fence is a perfect picture of country life, here it’s been turned into a toothbrush to symbolize dentistry.


Push the Bottle

Another excellent use of negative space. The hand pushing a button makes the shape of a bottle. Notice how the fingers of the fist create the liquid in the bottle.



It’s amazing how little had to be added to make a pencil appear (just a triangle!). Some logo designers really have a gift for simple touches that change everything.


Spice Mountain

It definitely looks like both a mountain and a pile of spices.


Night Golf

Not only does the round shape of the golf ball reflect that of the moon, the little dips look like craters! A great visual simile.


Maritime Law

The logo says everything it needs to. Scales are a clear representation of law and justice and the bowls have been turned into boats to represent the maritime aspect.



This idea seems a little obvious but I’m sure it took a lot of tweaking to get to this point.


Antisocial Network

The sort of abstract skyline design is a cliche for community and has been transformed into a familiar hand gesture.



Another one of my favorites. The carrot has been beautifully crafted to make a rocket ship.



The car’s headlights make it look like a big nerd with glasses. Yet another example of the use of subtlety in wit.


Bananas Films

The film strips have been hung to mirror the shape of a group of bananas.


Food Writers

The negative space in the tip of the old style fountain pen has been turned into a spoon.


SparkPlug Creations

This is definitely not the best logo in the world, but the whole lightbulb spark plug idea is pretty clever.


Word and Symbol Art


The word fish has been crafted into the form of a fish. What more could you want in a logo?



A few simple typographic characters that perfectly represent the word below.



Coding is all about characters so it was perfect to build the fish out of typography.



The equality symbol has been slightly modified so that the bottom is shorter than the top; a perfect statement of inequality.


Fuel Quoter

The quote has been simply turned on its side and it looks remarkably like a gas pump.


Infinity Crime Studio

The symbol for infinity has been altered to look like pair of mischievous eyes.



If you’re at all familiar with music theory you know that an octave has eight notes (hence “oct”). Here the “o” and “c” have been stacked to make an eight.



The impressive part here is how naturally the word seems to make a face. It’s an excellent designer that makes complex ideas look effortless.



The two has been pushed over to look like an “n.” Since the word is “twins,” hiding a two in the logo was a great decision.


Upside Down

This one you have to stare at for a second to really appreciate. All the letters are upside down. The “w” is an “m”, the “d” is a “p”, etc.



The obvious solution was to make a spoon and a fork illustration. However, putting the ampersand in represents an extra step in the thought process that makes the idea really unique.



At first glance this logo says “brella.” Can you spot the other two letters?



In case you’ve never heard of them before, ambigrams are words or phrases that you can spin around 180 degrees and still read them. They often require quite a bit of work and thought in order to make them easily readable.


That sort of Old English look is definitely one of the styles you see the most with ambigrams. Notice how the “e” and “o” have been heavily transformed but still read well in the context of the word as a whole.



It’s not easy to create an “e” that still looks like an “e” when you spin it around. Well done.



This one feels like an ambigram, but as one astute commenter pointed out, it actually isn’t. The beginning “e” and ending “a” are the same, but the letters in between don’t work when flipped. Nice illusion regardless!



I hope the collection above isn’t just another “list post” but instead is a healthy dose of inspiration that encourages you to put a little thought into your logo creation process. When appropriate, consider how you can infuse something unique and witty to make the logo that much better.

Leave a link below and tell us your favorites. Also point us to any logos that match this style that you’ve seen on the web.


Cinnamon Challenge (Jesus)

23 Jul
I liked a YouTube video: Jesus tries the cinnamon challenge at Base22 MTY.

Cinnamon Challenge (Orlando)

23 Jul
I liked a YouTube video: Orlando tries the cinnamon challenge at Base22 MTY.

The Evolution of Commitment

23 Jul

The Evolution of Commitment

This content from: Duct Tape Marketing

Evolution of Commitment

Most of us want to sell something – want to get people to commit to plopping down the hard won cash in an exchange of value. That’s certainly one of the reasons millions of business folks have jumped into online networks and social platforms – to gain access to the hundreds of millions that hang out there and prospect for customers.

But while social technology has made it much easier to gain access to people, I think in some ways it’s actually made it harder to get those same people to commit to buy (or at least it hasn’t really made it easier.) While selling in the old days (2 years ago) was still very much about getting someone’s attention and making them an offer, it has now become much more of an intentional act of gaining trust and helping prospects evolve towards a customer commitment.

The Evolution of Commitment looks a bit like this:

  • It’s pretty darn easy to get a fan or a follower, but what’s that really worth by itself?
  • Using social media platforms to drive fans and followers to read your educational content furthers their engagement
  • Encouraging that reader to subscribe to your email newsletter or how to series is the link to gaining permission to make offers
  • Creating opportunities for subscribers to participate by evaluating, sampling and trialing your products and services is the key to demonstrating value worth paying for.
  • And finally now you’ve got them hooked and it’s time to pay up – but wait, why would I pay for something I can get for free in so many other places?

The response in the last point above is the dilemma of the free online world that people have grown accustomed to. Scads of smart marketers have mastered the pre commitment dance of know, like and trust, only to fall flat when asking for the ultimate commitment – money.

So what does it take to get fans and followers to commit, take the act of paying for your offerings?

I asked some of my followers on Twitter that very question and receive responses like:
“there needs to have been serious “can’t live without” value on the free version that would make me test out the paid version.”

“the idea that what i’m paying for has real life value, isn’t free somewhere else, or won’t lose half it’s value in < 1yr."

"add'l features get me from free to paid, as does a great free experience."

"It has to inspire me, be enjoyable and/or fulfill a true need."

As I look around at some of the successful freemium models, Basecamp, Evernote, and those that have experience challenges going to a paid model, Ning, I’m struck with the impression that commitment comes from an experience that so exceeds expectation, so motivates people to talk, and is so valuable that people actually feel bad not paying for the experience or come to understand their life will be better by making the commitment.

That’s a pretty high standard, but the clear message is this – people will buy anything that’s free, even crap, but they won’t commit unless it’s remarkably free and freeing.

But think about that for a moment – isn’t there a similar bar for any commitment? What gets someone to say yes to a marriage proposal? What gets someone to commit to giving up smoking? What gets someone to go after a job at a company with no current opening?

Commitment, and it’s semi-evil twin non-commitment, is all around us every day. What can we learn from it to bring to our business, culture and marketing? I think there is much to explore on this topic.

So, what tips you to a commit to something?

Like this post? Share it with others Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Sphinn Google Bookmarks StumbleUpon Digg


Twitter Mood Map of the United States

22 Jul

(YouTube Link)

This time-lapse video shows the changing moods of people in America over the course of a day, as ascertained by emotional keywords that they use on Twitter. It was created by computer scientist Alan Mislove at Northeastern University in Boston:

Mislove speculates that a signal shines though because the sheer abundance of data means that occasional misinterpretations are lost in the crowd. Bryan Routledge at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, agrees. With colleagues, he recently used a similarly simple analysis of words in tweets to determine whether Twitter mirrors conventional opinion polls. “The volume is massive, so the subtle stuff kind of washes out,” he says.

Because Twitter data is publicly available, Routledge says mood can be sampled more quickly, simply and cheaply than using traditional polling tools – albeit more crudely.

Steven Gray at University College London, who also crowdsources data through Twitter, agrees. For all of the problems with decoding the data, “Twitter offers researchers a unique, live data set that changes by the minute”, he says.

Link via Geekosystem | Project Website | Previously: Tweet Sleeve: Wear Your Emotions on Your Sleeve


The 28 Best Fictional Characters on Twitter

22 Jul

You can spice up your Twitter feed by following characters from movies, TV, and literature! Twitter is full of people who don’t exist, but have plenty to say anyway. Buzzfeed searched for the most entertaining of those feeds and listed them for your convenience. Link


Humans’ treatment of other animals shaped our evolution [Evolution]

22 Jul
Humans are one of the few animals that adopts and cares for other animals. Our cross-species connections might be older and more important than we ever imagined, driving human evolution for millions of years and even helping us invent language. More »

The Miniature Guns of Michel Lefaivre

22 Jul

Michel Lefaivre is a gunsmith who makes miniature, functional firearms. Pictured above is one example of his work, a 1/4 scale Gras rifle model 1874. Lefaivre writes about how he does it:

Each part starts from a raw piece of material, reduced in size with a milling machine or a precision lathe. The biggest part of the work is made with a file in the fitting vice. At a quality of manufacture and finish equal to the full size, it is more difficult to make a functioning piece reduced to 1/3 scale. The more minute the detail, the more time it takes, and the more risk of making a mistake. Few pieces were successful the first time round. All those not strictly in conformity were scrapped without pity.

To perfect the work and to give it its final touch, the best specialist of our country have been called upon for the engraving, inlaying, gilding, checkering and the wood carving.

Mandatory tooling includes a toolmaker’s lathe, a clockmaker’s lathe, a precision milling machine and hundreds of needle files of all shapes and grades. Burrs and polishing tools of all shapes, pertaining to clockmakers, jewellers, dentists, chisellers and sculptors are used. Very good eyesight and an infinite reserve of patience, tenacity and elbow grease are also required.

Link via Hell in a Handbasket | Photo: The Craftsmanship Museum | Previously: The World’s Smallest Gun


Real-Life Money Tree

22 Jul

Photo: RaboDirect Australia [Flickr]

Money doesn't grow on trees. Or does it? As a publicity stunt, RaboDirect of Australia sponsored a stunt where a tree in a park in Sydney is festooned with real $5 bills:

An Overview of Responses:

Lost Opportunity
In the early stages, almost 100 people passed the tree without noticing that anything was different. Even when a group of joggers noticed, they were too busy to stop. The first groups who eventually stopped to interact couldn’t believe it. They inspected the notes and took pictures, but left empty handed.

Follow the Crowd
Only once one brave participant started taking the money, did momentum gather. Legitimised by the crowd, a wide spectrum of behaviour ensued.

Some took just one or two notes, satisfied by their modest and unexpected gains.

Consumed by the fantasy, a group of braver participants made the most of the opportunity by filling their pockets.

Employing Tools and Working Together
When the low hanging $5 notes were depleted, participants employed tools such as swinging coats and umbrellas, to help them reach higher branches. Teamwork also came into play as spectators formed human pyramids to reach the notes seemingly out of reach.

Perhaps the most comforting observation from the participants was that of altruism. Taller participants shared their earnings with shorter spectators, while one gentleman on identifying the undercover observation team, requested his money be donated to charity.

Link [with video clip] - via Marketing Alternatif


Found: Stonehenge’s Second Henge

22 Jul

Archaeologists have found something at Stonehenge that is so exceptional that they’re calling it the most exciting find there in fifty years: a second, Neolithic henge.

The new "henge" – which means a circular monument dating to Neolithic and Bronze Ages – is situated about 900m (2,950ft) from the giant stones on Salisbury Plain.

Images show it has two entrances on the north-east and south-west sides and inside the circle is a burial mound on top which appeared much later, Professor Gaffney said.

"You seem to have a large-ditched feature, but it seems to be made of individual scoops rather than just a straight trench," he said.

"When we looked a bit more closely, we then realised there was a ring of pits about a metre wide going all the way around the edge.

"When you see that as an archaeologist, you just looked at it and thought, ‘that’s a henge monument’ – it’s a timber equivalent to Stonehenge.