Much before, when human beings learned to communicate through spoken words and sentences, signs, symbols, and images played a vital role as the medium of communication. Moreover, talking to these mediums, we can observe the excessive usage of animal symbolism in those ancient images. The cave paintings of Altamira, the emblems of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, the motifs found in Mesopotamia, And the Egyptian portraits inside the pyramids, all have one thing in common- the presence of animal emblem signifying something. So it is not shocking that even nowadays, various brands like Crocodile, Puma, Playboy, Nestle, Firefox, Red Bull, Jaguar, Twitter, Windows MSN, Ferrari, etc. are using animal images in their logos and brand campaigns
. The trend of this symbolism featuring various animals is described below.
Animal Symbolism in Logos:
The animal kingdom is a vast territory full of vitality and vividness. An animal can represent strength, vigor, beauty, tenderness, pride, virtue, bravery, intelligence, and many other qualities. Mostly for these qualities, the companies want to represent their characteristics through an animal logo. However, the problem is, there are many clichés in the market, e.g., the clever fox, the meek sheep, or a cow for dairy products. All those symbols are quite déjà vu as already many companies are using them. So, we can look into the animal emblems and motifs used in different cultures and civilizations to add more surprise, uniqueness, and global elements in a logo. The Celtic snakes represent rebirth, creation, healing, and creation. The Celtic horses symbolize vitality, fertility, and life in motion. Along with good fortune and luck, the Chinese Phoenix symbolizes resilience and rejuvenation as it rises from its ash.
However, a designer must be aware of the public perception, as the commoners may misunderstand the hidden meaning or not understand it at all. The Egyptian God, like animals, are attractive, but people may consider their image studded logos as outdated and old fashioned.
Animal Symbolism in Graphic design:
When speaking about the different emblems used in different cultures, it is widespread that a seemingly ordinary animal may be considered as inauspicious in another culture. The Chinese consider the snake as a positive source of energy, while it represents much negativity in other parts of the world. So, through proper graphic design and use of attractive color, the seemingly harmful snake can be turned into a happy, funny, and friendly animal. Similarly, by adding or subtracting a few graphic details, a tiger can be made looking favorable on the wrapper of a cookies brand or a pretty aggressive one, on the logo of an antivirus.
Animal symbolism in branding:
Since major reputed brands have become multinational, it is very much crucial for them to be faithful to the local culture and maintain an international appeal at the same time. The ‘Swastik’ emblem is considered as holy and auspicious in Hindu, but it evokes the horror of the Nazis in Germany. Similarly, the use of a chained tiger in a Circus logo might evoke rage among the animal lovers. So, the question is how to represent a brand through animals? The common solution is to find a similarity between the brand and the animal. Is the brand as strong and independent as a lion? Is the brand as analytical and thoughtful as an Owl? Is it as quick and bright as a fox? Alternatively, is it community focused, like a honey bee? Some brands Like Geico Gecko and Aflac Duck go beyond the expected by experimenting with sounds, rhymes, syllables, etc. The best way to represent the brand in the market is through its spirit animal. To find that, a brand has to ask a series of “why’s” to itself along with comparing opinions and conducting a serious introspection. Some famous brand logos with animal motifs are described below.
Ferrari: The luxurious vehicle brand logo features a raging black stallion on a yellow background. It represents the speed, velocity, and untamable nature of the cars this brand sells.
This brand, too, is known for its sophisticated cars. The Jaguar represents the brand’s grace, ambition, and power.
This Italian manufacturer of lavish cars uses a charging bull in the logo which conveys the brand’s strength, ambition, and muscularity. The Taurus was also the zodiac sign of the manufacturer, who was an admirer of the bullfighting of Spain.
The World Wildlife Fund works to protect nature and animals. The simple black and white image of the endangered panda reminds us of the conservational activities of this organization.
The bird’s nest and caring parents convey us compassion, value, and safety, which are expected a food company.
This brand deals in the manufacturing of Sportswear. The brand name, along with the image of the wild cat represents the swiftness and fitness of an athlete.
So, it can be concluded to that, through the appropriate usage of animal symbolism, a company can easily express its qualities to its customers.