Top 20 Logos That Use Visual Puns

November 3, 2010 § 7 Comments

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A pun is a play-on-words; you can derive more than one meaning from a single word or phrase. And boy do I LOVE them. They are hands down my favorite form of humour. ‘Camping is intense/in tents’ is my all time favorite. ‘Nacho/not yo cheese’ is a classic. ‘Did you hear about the new pirate movie? It’s rated arrrrrrr.’

Are most puns kind of silly? Yes. But for me, they are still indisputably clever.

This deep love and appreciation for puns stems neatly into graphic design. Many of my favorite designs make use of visual puns: you can derive more than one meaning from a single symbol or image. I find visual puns particularly effective in logo design.

Here are 20 of my favs:

FedEx: The most famous visual pun can be found in FedEx. Do you see how the space between the uppercase E and the lowercase x is a very distinct arrow?

Spartan Golf Club: Another brilliant example (quite possibly the most impressive one I’ve seen) is the logo for Spartan Golf Club. The same series of shapes, in the exact same positions make up two distinct images: a golfer swinging a club, and a Spartan’s helmet. This one is probably more obvious to the audience than the FedEx logo, but imagine the kind of vision it takes to come up with and execute something like this?

The Goodwill logo gives us another demonstration. Do you see how the face is the same shape as the ‘g’?

Tostitos: Have you ever noticed that the middle ‘t’s in the Tostitos logo are having a little chips & salsa party with the ‘i’?

The Big Ten Conference is an athletic conference in the USA.  In 1990, Penn State joined, bringing the total to 11 schools in ‘The Big Ten’. They resolved the inaccuracy of their name by placing a hidden number 11 on either sides of the letter T.

Minnesota Wild: I often find sports team logos to be rather awful, but the Minnesota Wild is chock full of visual puns.  The cougar head is also a wilderness scene: the ear is a moon, the eye is a star, the mouth is a river.

Baskin Robbins: If you take a second look at the acronym ‘BR’ you can see the number 31. This represents the number of ice cream flavors that Baskin Robbins started out with.

The old Northwest Airlines logo is really quite clever. Not only does the icon on the left of the text spell out N and W, but the arrow and circle symbolize a compass pointing northwest.

Can you see both meanings in the following visual puns?

And finally, my very own visual pun. Yes, as it turns out, film reels are very popular for visual puns. I definitely did not realize this when I designed mine in 2006.

I hope you enjoy these visual puns almost as much as I do (since it’s not possible to enjoy them more)! Can you think of any that I missed?

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