Figure/Ground Creations

Believe it or not this was the catalyst for the creation of this blog. So thank you Knight Transportation for being the inspiration, and incidentally, the only source of excitement commuting to and fro last week. Anyways, take a look at this gem of a branding job Knight has accomplished (sans “Knight Transportation”). I’ll be honest with you, the first time I saw the K logo (which is what I’m going to refer to it as), I wasn’t blown away. It’s pretty slick. A big, bold “K” with a knight’s helmet strategically positioned at the top.

It wasn’t until some time later that I felt like I had struck gold by noticing the horse’s head underneath it, seemingly camouflaged within itself. I wanted to tell the other stopped motorists around me that more than just a huge K and knight’s helmet existed here, but I refrained. This is the DC area after all, and well,  I just didn’t feel like getting the finger or shot that day. This is a prime example of figure/ground imagery. Very, very clever. Bravo Knight Transportation. Maybe your guys can get with Pepsi or the Instituto de Estudos Orientais (to your right) and figure something out. Sweet Moses that is one suggestive work of art if I’ve ever seen one.

I couldn’t help recalling, at this point, a similar awakening I had millions of years ago as a 15 year old in my bedroom. I’m talking about the first figure/ground illusions used for commercial consumption that really stuck with me. Behold the Hartford Whalers.

Hartford Whalers

Now this is a thing of beauty. The Hartford Whalers, an old WHL team turned NHL, moved to Carolina to become the Hurricanes and the logo was history. The team was called the Whalers, so the huge blue whale tail is (hopefully) fairly obvious upon first inspection. For me, the next painfully clear trait this logo had was the big green “W” underneath it. What I didn’t pick up on for years was that an inverted “H” separates said tail from the “W”. Now that my friends is brilliant. The word “clever” doesn’t do this creation any justice.


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