Dear Cool Daddy: Have you seen those websites that collect hidden images in well-known corporate logos? I can’t believe I never saw the arrow in FedEx! But what do you call this flip/flop phenomenon? I want to say foreground and background, but isn’t it called something else, too? …from Echo in Groundswell, NM
Dear Echo: Dear Echo: Dear Echo: Yeah, they’re all for real, too…none of this “face on Mars” or “KKK on the dollar bill” jazz. And you’re not alone, my friend…I never saw the arrow between the E and the X either. Plus, congrats for being on the right track…the words you are looking for are “figure” (in this case the FedEx) and “ground” (the white area around it.)
To be honest with you, of all the ones I’ve found, I was only previously aware of these 2…the Milwaukee Brewers glove logo is actually composed of an m above a small b…and the sneaky but clever way the Big Ten incorporates the odd fact that it has 11 members…altho had this been ancient Rome, they would have called it the Big Twelve, since that’s the way they reckoned numerical groupings…go figure. Which, parenthetically, is why Christ rose on the “third day”…today we would count Friday to Sunday as “2 days later.”
But the relationship between figure and ground can give rise to some interesting optical illusions. For example, at left, said to be of a company called Nicholson, that nobody, including me, can find any info about on the web…perhaps it’s fictitious, who knows? But the fact remains, altho the N isn’t really there as such, it sure looks like it is, doesn’t it? Your mind’s eye turns ground into figure and figure into ground. Here are 3 more examples of stuff that’s easy to miss…
I suppose there are folks who didn’t even realize that yellow swoop below “amazon” is supposed to be a smile…but notice where it starts and ends…”A to Z.” Northwest Airlines is similar to that Nicholson logo…the W is there and it isn’t there. But taking the red circle to be a compass, did you catch which direction that little triangle is pointing? And Toblerone…it’s a combination of the name of the candy’s inventor, Theodor Tobler, and the Italian word for a kind of nougat, torrone. See the bear on the Matterhorn? He’s facing to the right, standing up on 2 legs. Perhaps you never did before, but now I daresay you can never not see it! Tobler was from Berne, Switzerland, and that city’s emblem is a bear, at right.
Baskin Robbins has recently changed from the middle logo to the one on the right. The “31” in pink…altho for some reason I think that’s a little too clever by half, as they say…and I still like the one on the left from the 1950s…”busy,” but the colors suggest Neapolitan. (Ice cream, not knockwurst…geez…)
Now this one makes me wonder…is that “kiss” shape between the K and the I really intentional? I say that because in their newest version (I think it’s their 257th), that little twist at the top of the I takes away from the symmetrical shape of the brown ground area…or is that supposed to mean somebody took a wee nibble off the bottom?
Finally, in a jugular vein, as Mad magazine used to say, here’s a reprint from Stolf’s Blog of 1/28/2011…
Speaking of optical illusions, how about those hazy gray patches that appear like phantoms at the intersections of the white spaces between the black squares, left. And right, move the squares around, and you get a different illusion…see how the tops and bottoms of the squares appear to be kind of “warped,” when you know they really aren’t? And here’s one along the same lines that’s literally eye-popping…you have to examine it closely to convince yourself that those black dots inside the white circles don’t really exist…and good luck!
shameless plugs with no hidden meaning except that stolf is cool…
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