Throughout life, animal symbolism has been used to describe almost anything. How many times have you heard sayings such as ‘strong as an ox’, ‘tall as a giraffe’, ‘big as a bear’ or ‘quick as a cat’, I could go on all day.
Attributing animal like characteristics to people is as old as time. The Native American Indians gave animal names to the people of their tribes to describe an individual’s personality or appearance. Names like Running Horse or Brown Bear would be given to those who seemed to live up to the name. Mine would probably be Sleepy Rhino.
Today, this practice continues, no where more so than in the design world. Our human perceptions of animal characteristics are used to full advantage to give us an idea about a product or company. A company with an elephant in their logo for example, would make us think of something large and strong, instilling an air of reliability about that company. Car companies frequently use animals such as horses and fast cats, symbolizing speed and agility.
On occasion, the symbolism can be a little more cryptic, such as the Ralph Lauren logo, which displays a polo player on horseback. Many people associate this pastime with the higher classes and gentile pursuits, hence giving an aura of quality and class. Or the HMV design which uses a dog. Most people fail to see a dog tilting its head in interest as anything but cute. This imagery is something we as humans can relate to and most people see dogs as trustworthy and loyal.
Animal symbolism throughout the modern world shows no signs of abatement and humans will continue to use this imagery to describe everything from trainers to drinks.
Many of the world’s Top 100 Famous Logos use animals. Below are 30 of the most famous logos that use animal imagery to describe their product or company. I guarantee that you will recognize most, if not all of them. Think about the animal used in the design and what your perceptions of that name are. See if they match.
The Famous Grouse
In summary, using animals in design is a very effective method of describing a product or company’s core attributes. Animal imagery will continue to help branding and tell stories. Just as Neanderthal Man used animals to describe his environment, Future Man will use animals to showcase his.
Need a designer? Hire the author
Need logo designer? Hire the author of this article (Cinami Grafiks – a freelance designer from the UK) on DesignCrowd.
Looking for design work?
Browse logo design contests online and animal logo jobs on DesignCrowd.