Office Logos Along the 101 Freeway

Why are there so many office logos along Highway 101?

Office Logos Along the 101 Freeway
San Mateo Credit Union office building logo. Not shown: WePay logo on the parking structure facing the Highway 101.


Imagine this scenario. You're in a car driving down U.S. Highway 101 between San Francisco and San Jose. You look out the window. What do you see?

Do you see the Bay? Possibly.

Do you see some hospitals? Sometimes.

Do you see office buildings? Yes.

Do you see office buildings with very prevalent company logos on them, oriented towards the freeway so that you couldn't possibly miss them? Definitely.

There seem to be a high proportion of Silicon Valley companies choosing offices near the freeway and placing large bright company logos on them to build brand awareness. Here are some examples of what I'm talking about.

Highway 101 in Silicon Valley

Let's start from East Palo Alto. Notice the large IKEA sign and blue building that you can't possibly miss.

IKEA logo in East Palo Alto on the other side of the freeway. Four Seasons Hotel logo is on the hotel on this side of the freeway.

Drive up 5 miles and we're in Redwood City, where we see the San Mateo Credit Union building, WePay logo which is on the adjacent parking structure,, and Credit Sesame logos on the west side of the freeway.

San Mateo Credit Union logo in Redwood City foreground, logo behind it

Head up another couple miles to San Carlos and notice the large Honda dealership. The new biomedical buildings in the background will probably also have some large logo once completed.

Looking south in San Carlos, notice the Honda dealership and the new biomedical offices in the background.

I don't have drone photos north of San Carlos, but this trend continues further up north. You'll notice buildings like Rakuten, It's-it, and more.

Buildings in San Francisco

In contrast to Silicon Valley buildings, San Francisco buildings tend to not have logos along the freeway. As an example, consider this drone photos looking southward towards Mission Bay. Even though these buildings are equally proximate to the freeway, they tend to not have large logos on them. This makes me wonder if there is some San Francisco building code ordinance that prohibits large logos next to the freeway.

From what I remember the Dropbox headquarters - the cluster of grey buildings near the top center of the screen - does not have a logo. Why is it that with such prime real estate these companies wouldn't self-promote more like their Silicon Valley counterparts do?

Mission Bay. Foreground is the Kaiser Permanente Mission Bay campus. Behind that is the Dropbox-leased headquarter building.

To answer this question, I did some research and was unable to find an answer to this. Do you have any thoughts or insights? I'd love to hear in the comments below.