Did you ever notice THAT in the FedEx logo? See how a hidden feature works wonders for branding and inspires all of us.
FedEx is unquestionably the leading company when it comes to shipping. However, among graphic designers and logo creators, FedEx is mostly known for its logotype. It should then come as no surprise that the Rolling Stone magazine gave merit to this logotype in their special issue from May 15th, 2003. Best logos from the last 35 years were distinguished, and FedEx was classified in the top eight.
The hidden bonus in the logo
So, what makes this logo so good? At first glance, it is a combination of the five stylized letters that shape a beautiful, clear logotype. Nevertheless, it is not everything. If you take a closer look, you'll see that the blank white space between the letter “E” and letter “x” creates an arrow that might be unnoticeable for many of us. However, this arrow is a crucial element of the logo, making it timeless, exemplary, and often discussed among graphic designers worldwide. The phenomenon of the logo is that arrow. The arrow is deliberately hidden, making it the "punch line", "bonus", "addition". Once you notice the bonus, you can't forget it. This makes it phenomenal. The bonus that is invisible at first makes the construction-specific and unique.
The origin of the logo
The man behind the logo is Lindon Leader. In 1994, Leader worked for Landor Associates, and a Federal Express company hired the studio to create a new logo. The primary condition was to make the logo so visible that it would work as a mobile billboard when placed on the trucks. As Lindon Leader says, the graphic designers started their work on a new logo in two or three teams. During that time, Leader was fascinated with Univers 67 and Futura Bold fonts and decided to try them in his projects. As he worked, he noticed that between the capital letter "E" and the letter "x" there appears to be a white arrow, and because he saw great potential in the subtly hidden arrow. Therefore, he decided to do something with it. The only problem was that one font didn't provide the desired effect - legible, non-deformed letters and a visible arrow. That’s when he made the decision to combine Univers 67 and Futura Bold fonts.
The teams working on the project came up with around 200 different logos. However, only a few were eventually chosen and presented to the board of FedEx. During the presentation, nobody from the board was aware of the hidden arrow. As the creator of the logo says, out of 12 people from the FedEx board, only one noticed it. This was crucial for the final decision.
The surprise effect
The discreetly hidden arrow symbolises a sense of direction, speed, and precision. Many people don't see it at first glance, and that's good. If it were visible, there would be no element of surprise. So now that you are aware of it, every time you see the logo, you will notice it right away and memorize the logo. That's why Lindon Leader refers to this effect as one plus one equals three.