Animals are a key element in all the cultures being used as a symbols in some of them, that is why some animals can convey strong emotions and meanings, that is why many brands use them to represent their brand values through this animal symbology. In this post, we will see what are the feelings behind the animals and important brands using them as part of their logo design.
Symbolism in graphic design refers to written marks, images, physical objects, and shapes that have meanings and convey emotions through cultural and historical aspects. This visual expression is used in graphic design and logo design by brands to convey messages that already exist into these symbols making it easy for the viewer to associate their brand with that meaning as they already associate these symbols with some emotions.
In this post, we will focus on Animal Symbolism and how it is used in graphic design. We usually associate animals with some qualities and characteristics built through mythology, stories, and their anatomy, for example, Lion can symbolize royalty or dogs symbolize loyalty, that is why brands choose to use these animals to convey those feelings and qualities into their brand logo making it easier for the viewer to associate them with those feelings.
Historically cats were perceived as high standard animals by ancient Egypt, nowadays cats in logo design can transmit feelings of freedom, flexibility, healing, adventure, curiosity, and patience and many modern brands use cat symbology to portray a sense of comfort and playfulness. Some famous brands using cat logos are Sheba or Hello Kitty.
Dogs are animals that always have been among us, and that is why in graphic design and brand logos they are used to represent loyalty, protection, safeguarding, unconditional love, and devotion, that is why brands like His Master’s Voice and Canine Creek use them in their brand logos.
Usually, the panther symbolism is related to feelings of courage, cunningness, grace, protection, beauty, and viciousness and you can see this animal used as the main logo design in brand-related to auto industry and professional sports and e-sports teams as these brand want to be perceived with strength, honor, and valor. Some famous brands using panther as main design element are Carolina Panthers or Jaguar.
Crocodiles or alligators are one of the most fascinating at the same time that dangerous animals in the world and they have been used in graphic design to symbolize honor, fear, primal power, courage, and strength and some brands that want to be associated with those attributes are Lacoste and Crocs as they use as the main element of their logo a Crocodile.
You can see the snake related with feelings of healing, immortality, rebirth, and transformation across many cultures and snakes also can be perceived as an evil undertone when it’s used appropriately, snakes are used in logo design by auto brands like Alfa Romeo or Shelby.
Owl is usually associated with intelligent and mysterious animals that live in the night, that is why in Logo Design owls are used to represent feelings of wisdom, knowledge, experience, and intelligence that is why brands like Hootsuite, Tripadvisor, or Duolingo use the owl as the main element of their brand logo.
Cheetah is the fastest animal in the world and this honor is perceived in logo design with feelings of process, protection, fast-thinking, passion, and action and it’s not a surprise to see logo designs using this animal in the movement to represent this quality and you can see famous logos using cheetah as the main element in brands like Cheetos or Exotic Machines.
Rabbits used as a symbol can represent feelings of humility, shyness, speed, longevity, and fun, and in graphic design and logos are used by brands that want to be associated with good luck, imagination, intuition, abundance, and timing, attributes that brands like Hopper travel app and TaskRabbit want to portray with their logos.
Monkeys are the most similar animal to humans and we can share some traits with them, that is why monkey symbols symbolize intelligence, seriousness, intensity, lightheadedness, involvement, grace, community, activity, clarity, energy, curiosity, and understanding and in graphic design, monkey symbolism is commonly used to represent charm or seriousness. Some famous brands using monkeys as their logo design are Mailchimp and Kipling.
The mouse is an important animal in the graphic design industry as one of the biggest brands in the world use this animal as their main symbol, and in logo design mouses are usually used to represent feelings of innocence, shyness, curiosity, resourcefulness, modesty, and adaptability. Some famous brands using mouse symbols are Mickey Mouse and Deadmau5.
Horses are really elegant animals that have been used for ages as the main method of transportation, these two attributes make horse symbols perfect for auto industries and fashion brands at the same time that horse logos can transmit feelings of strength, independence, nobility, speed, motion, and finesse. Some famous brands using horses as their main symbol are Ferrari, Hermes, and Ralph Lauren.
Bear is a big and majestic animal that is usually associated with feelings of courage, leadership, physical strength, and authority, at the same time that depending on the use of this animal in graphic design it also can be perceived with feelings of softness and care. Famous brands using a bear as their mascot logo are World Wide Fund for Nature and Memphis Grizzlies.
The lion is the king of the jungle and the most majestic animal in the world, that is why the lion symbol is associated with feelings of strength and stability, and in graphic design, brands use this animal as their main symbol to represent courage, majesty, excellence, resilience, strength, and justice. There are many famous brands using lions as their mascot logo, but some of the most famous are Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Peugeot, and Premier League.
Foxes are a really agile and intelligent animal and they have been used as a symbol to represent feelings of strength, clarity, resourcefulness, wisdom, protection, and adaptation attributes that also are used in logo design when brands choose to use a fox as their mascot logo. Some famous brands using fox as logo design are Firefox and Fox Racing.
The first logo that came to your mind if we are talking about bats is the iconic Batman logo, and depending on the culture bats can be associated with fear or symbolize feelings of illusion, dreams, journey, intuition, happiness, and joy, that is why we can see bat logos in brands like Bacardi or already mentioned Batman.
The cow is considered to be a sacred animal in some cultures and in many places they are the main part of their lives, usually cows in symbology are associated with feelings of loving, fertile, nurturing, and generosity, and the cow symbol is perfect for milk-producing brands or agricultural brands, that is why you can find Cows in the brand logo for Milka and Laughing Cow.
Bulls are powerful and strong animals that are usually used in logo design to transmit feelings of power, sacrifice, invincible, persistence, and strength, making them a perfect symbol for sports brands and the auto industry, that is why brands like Chicago Bulls, RedBull, and Lamborghini use this animal as their main symbol.
The deer is considered to be a sacred animal in ancient Greece and ancient mythology, and it’s the representation of nature, that is why deer used as a symbol can represent feelings of energy, regeneration, and independence and brands that use this animal as their main symbol want to be associated with independence and adventure, that is why brands like Jagermeister and Milwaukee Bucks use this animal as their mascot logo.
Penguin is always associated with cute and unusual birds, and the penguin symbol is related to feelings of family-friendliness, self-confidence, love for children, equality, and constancy, and as the penguin symbol can convey different meanings it suitable for different industries such as IT brands, Media Products or manufacturers. Some famous logo designs using penguins are Penguin Books and Linux.
Rhinos are powerful and strong animals that usually are associated with strength, danger, and powerful feelings and as rhino symbols can convey those attributes it’s also used in logo design by brands that want to be perceived as free, longevity, and stable. Some famous brands using rhino as the main logo design element are Ecko Unltd and Rhino Turf.
Elephants are the biggest animal in the world and they are really strong and intelligent animal, feelings that are also used in graphic design when brands use elephants as their mascot logo, elephant symbols also can transmit feelings of memory, protection, teamwork, speed, longevity, size and endurance. Some famous brands using elephants as mascot logos are Animal Planet and Evernote.
Birds are a really popular animal for logo design and usually, the bird symbol is associated with positive meanings, in graphic design they are used to represent feelings of freedom, happiness, life, wisdom and knowledge. Some famous logos using birds as their main symbol are Twitter and Nestle.
Wolfs are the ancestors of today’s dogs, the humans best friends, and these animal are very intelligent and always are going in pack, that is why wolves are usually associated with feelings of intelligence, loyalty, freedom, friendship, togetherness, trust and communication in logo design, that is why brands like Eristoff and Minnesota Timberwolves use them as their Mascot Logo.
Moose is a beautiful animal that is the meaning of grace, historically the moose as symbol is the representation of energy, strength, and movement, and in logo, design moose is used to represent independence, self-esteem, and wisdom that is why brands like Abercrombie and Fitch and Mooszeit have chosen this animal as mascot logo.
Rooster as an animal symbol is the Herald of Dawn, call to revival and awakening feelings that brands who use this animal as mascot logo want to be associated with them. Roosters are bright of color with proud posture at the same time that is the animal symbol of France, that is why many french brands use this animal as the main symbol. Some famous brands using Rooster as main symbol are French Football Federation and Le Coq Sportif.
Hope you find this post useful and help you know what is the meaning of some animals in graphic design and what feelings are associated with them as a symbol, you can use this post as a guide to choose an animal for your brand logo depending on the qualities you want to enhance of your brand, and if you want to learn more about logo design and the different types of logos you can read my post about it or these other posts about logo design or graphic design guides.
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