Since the beginning of time, animals have been associated with all kinds of cultural connotations. This is most evident in logo design, where everyone from the Mom and Pop Diner down the street to Wall Street giants are using animals in their logos and designs. You can do the same with your own projects, bringing a new level of clarity to your work. With that in mind, use these tips and examples to add a bit of beastliness to your next project.


We’ll primarily be talking about logos here, but any of the tips discussed work in a multitude of design elements.

Use Those Cultural Cues!

As mentioned, animals tend to tip off certain meanings within the human mind. This is evident in companies like Evernote, who use an elephant (an animal known for its long-term memory) in their logo to emphasize their storage capacity. Another example of this is Merril Lynch, who used a bull in their logo to emphasize the amount of bull in their executive offices.

That was a joke, but the principle stands: You can say a hell of a lot by just including an animal in your logo. Check out this example, by Xerxes, to see what I mean. The lion is associated with strength and grace, elements that come across in bushels with this company’s logo. Notice also the use of high contrast to create a professional feel. To contrast that, here’s SlugShot Photography. By picking a more prosaic animal (the common slug) the firm has set themselves off as quirky and creative. Within your own designs, be sure to pick an animal that truly exemplifies what you’re all about. Imagine the Metro Goldwyn Meyer logo, only replaced with a roaring penguin instead of a lion. Doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

Don’t Be Afraid To Mix It In

An even better way to add an animal to your logo is to do just that: Build your entire logo around the chosen emblem. Bison has done this rather creatively, producing a logo that preserves the brand name while including new element. Hedgehog is an example of how not to go about doing this. With this example, the brand name is lost entirely by the cool design. Be sure to leverage both the message and the content itself, or you’ll alienate your viewers.