People think they’ve discovered a radical secret in the Vans logo

At Creative Bloq, we love to uncover the secrets of the logo, whether it’s shapes hidden in negative space or clever typography that tells a story about the brand. But sometimes the Internet stumbles upon a completely unintentional logo secret that then becomes impossible not to see. And that’s what’s happening now with the Vans logo.

The shoe company’s logo is getting a lot of attention on social media as people keep finding out that it looks like something. You might want to get a calculator if you don’t know what yet. And if you’re looking for ideas on how to develop your own logo ideas, check out our guide on how to design a logo.

van logo

The Vans logo. Not a math equation (Image credit: Vans)

At first glance, the Vans logo is quite simple, which is perhaps why, until now, no one has tried to read anything into it. It shows the brand name written in capitals with a line from the V on top of the other three letters.

But on Twitter, hundreds of people over the years have given the logo a whole new, much more complex meaning. They noticed that the extended V looks like the square root symbol. And it gets deeper because the brand logo is the same as the “square root of the answer” equation, which on a calculator appears as “√ANS”.

All great, but is there a reason why the shoe company would use a math symbol in their logo? Well, actually there are. The square root is technically called “radical,” a perfect descriptor for a brand courting an alternative skate-focused identity.

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“Once you’ve seen it, you can’t see it again,” one person tweeted. “Nooooooooooooooo,” another person simply replied to the above post on TikTok. Others claim they knew the secret of the hidden logo all along. “Who didn’t know, though,” someone replied on TikTok.

Alas, this may be a case where the hidden logo secret is just a bit too clever to have been intentional. The logo was apparently created by the son of vans co-founder James Van Doren to paint on his own skateboard. It was only by accident that Van Doren liked the design and decided to put it on the heel of one of his first shoe designs soon after the company launched in 1966.

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It just goes to show that sometimes a successful logo design can develop a story of its own, even a completely unintended one. For more logo inspiration, check out the history of the Apple logo and the history of the Google logo. And if you are working on your own designs, make sure you have the best graphic design software.

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