One of the topmost providers of e-commerce, transportation, and business services worldwide, FedEx Corporation is an international brand. Their FedEx Express division offers shipping services for freight and packages across the world. One of the key features of the brand is its unique logo design with a hidden meaning. Here’s how the FedEx logo evolved over time and its significance.
Today, the world has become a global village and the opportunities for international exposure has increased manifold. From sharing important news and research information to sending merchandise to a foreign country, global connectivity is now within reach.
Even a small company in Bangladesh or China can easily send its production to any part of the world. And guess what, it’s quick and affordable. Unlike earlier days, you don’t need to wait for months to send or receive your package to/from any global destination. Much of its credit goes to mega-corporations like FedEx express delivery that provides global logistics, e-commerce, and business services.
FedEx – Birth and Evolution
Started in 1971 by Frederick W. Smith, FedEx was a mere packaging delivery startup, based out of the city of Memphis, Tennessee (USA). Over the years, it developed into an internationally acclaimed postal, courier, and logistics company, with annual revenue of $84 billion.
Known for being one of the world’s best employers, FedEx has a team of over 570,000 employees and repeatedly asks them to focus on their well-being, the highest professional standards and the requirements of their clients and communities. The company is committed to bridging gaps between the different nations, with an objective to attain carbon-neutral services by 2040.
The Famous FedEx Logo and its Hidden Meaning
Most people are aware of the tricky optical illusion behind the FedEx logo. If one looks closely between the letters E and X, they’ll notice a white arrow, depicting speed, motivation, strive for excellence, and perseverance in reaching goals.
What’s more, each shade of the emblem also has its own meaning. For example, the latter part of the wordmark “Ex” changes its color across various platforms and it’s a witty way to differentiate the departments within the organisation. For instance, orange represents FedEx Express, red indicates FedEx Freight, and green is the official color of FedEx Ground. One of the ground-breaking factors behind the brand’s popularity is its multiple award-winning logo. Its uniqueness lies in the exemplary use of negative space, as seen between the characters E and X in the wordmark.
The FedEx Logo (1971-1994)
The company’s debut logo had its inception in 1971, wherein it featured the full brand name “Federal Express” within a rectangle divided diagonally by a line. “Federal” was written in white and placed against a blue background, whereas “Express” took on red and occupied the lower tier of the rectangle. All the letters of the wordmark were in uppercase – “SS” modified and elongated and “A” without the horizontal bar.
Its official color palette had three shades – red, blue, and white – portraying the ideas of authority and professionalism in the logistics industry. This particular color scheme was deliberately used to emphasise the fact that FedEx welcomed both former staff of the US government and common men to their organisation.
The FedEx Logo (1991-1994)
Alongside the first logo version, a second one was launched in a simpler and more relatable design. Introduced at a time of rebranding, this logo was an abridged version of the brand name: Fed + Ex. The rebranding project was headed by Lyndon Leader, a senior design specialist from Landor Associates – a consulting group. As an expert, he scored the capabilities of the “negative space” and decided to make the most of it. He preferred clearly defined lines and adhered to the idea promoted by Smith & Hawken in the 1980s.
Inspired by the Northwest Orient Airlines logo, this additional logo was not initially used in advertising, but in business communications. Due to the dual color scheme and graphic lightness, it looked quite coherent and legible. While the first three letters were in blue or dark purple, the latter two were red.
The FedEx Logo (1994 – Present)
The latest version of the FedEx logo is made up of two bases, and each of them begins with a capital letter. Much like the former edition, it consists of two words – Fed and Ex. The previous colors have been replaced with light lilac and pastel orange shades. Additionally, the letters “d” and “E” are now written jointly without any space in-between.
The legendary logo design is the brainchild of Lindon Leader, the creator of some of the most illustrious designs in the world. Some of his exemplary designs include ALSCO, Novariant, and Hawaiian Airlines logo. He has also worked for some of the leading global brands like Disney, Addison, and Motorola. However, the esteemed FedEx logo is undoubtedly one of his best creations.
It has earned over 40 design awards internationally and been entitled one of the top eight logo designs in the last four decades. When the current logo became popular, the company formally changed the term “Federal Express” to “FedEx,” which gave the brand a professional and more sophisticated look.
Reasons Why the FedEx logo worked
- The first Federal Express logo brought to focus the company’s relations with the US government, which increased the brand’s visibility and recognition.
- The second logo with the hidden arrow made a voice with its smart design that depicted the ideas of trust, progress, and precision.
- The FedEx logo is an apt example of how to make the optimum use of negative space, which is the blank space in and surrounding the logo elements.
- Since the FedEx logo is used worldwide on various packages, envelopes, planes, trucks, etc. it easily evokes nostalgia and good memories.
Key Design Elements of the FedEx Logo
The company’s then CEO, Frederick Smith, gave Lindon all the freedom to create a unique brand identity for FedEx. In the revised version of 1994, he retained the former purple logo color, but replaced red with orange. He kept the background white to enhance the simplicity of the emblem.
Considering the consistent progress and popularity of the brand, the new design focused on its key attributes like speed, precision, and dependability. The inscription is a custom combination of two different fonts – Futura Bold and Univers 67. Lyndon gauged the letter spacing, changed lowercase and uppercase, tried different heights of the characters, and made various other experiments before coming up with the final version.
The arrow pointing to the right (between E and X indicates the company’s huge variety of products. The direction also suggests the growth and progress of the company in the right direction.
Here it is worth stating that the company’s different divisions, for example “FedEx freight” have their own logo version. The latter part of the wordmark, “Ex” is painted differently for different divisions. Surprisingly, the designers have also managed to hide the arrows into an Arab version of the FedEx logo!
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.