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

We love discovering logo secrets here at Creative Bloq, whether it's hidden shapes in negative space or clever typography that tells a story about the brand. But sometimes the internet comes across a completely unintended logo secret that then becomes impossible to un-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 continue to discover that it resembles something. You might want to reach for a calculator if you're not yet sure what. And if you're looking for ideas of how to develop your own logo ideas, see our guide to how to design a logo.

vans logo

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

On the face of it, the Vans logo is pretty simple, which is perhaps why, until now, nobody's tried to read anything into it. It shows the brand's name written in all caps with a line extending from the V across the top of the other three letters. 

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

All very neat, but is there any reason why the shoe company would use symbol from maths in its logo? Well, actually there is. The square root is technically called a 'radical', a perfect descriptor for a brand that's courted an alternative skater-oriented identity.

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"Once you see it, you can't unsee it," one person has said on Twitter. "Noooooooooooooo," another person simply replied to the above post on TikTok. Others claim they knew the hidden logo secret all along. "Who didn't know this, though," someone replied on TikTok.

Alas, this is perhaps one 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 cofounder James Van Doren to paint on his own skateboard. It was only accidental that Van Doren liked the design and decided to put it on the heel of one of his early shoe designs soon after the company began live in 1966.

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It just goes to show that somestimes a successful logo design can develop a story all of its own – even an entirely unintended one. For more logo inspiration, discover the Apple logo history and the Google logo history. And if you're working on your own designs, make sure you have the best graphic design software

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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.