How to Design an Animal Logo that Pounces on the Competition
By Kaejon Misuraca | August 14, 2022
Animals have the power to make us happy, humbled, fearful, or amazed. They connect us to nature and show us the power of instinct and survival in the wild.
When it comes to logo design, animals are a popular symbol choice to represent brand values like speed, stealth, beauty, and intelligence. That's why you'll find them featured in branding for industries like banking, technology, clothing, and more.
To see how animal logos can be used as effective brand-builders, let's take a look at a few iconic examples.
AGF’s logo features a tiger, which has been the company’s symbol since the early 1980s. An aggressive yet strategic apex predator, the tiger represents a tactical and patient approach, aligning with AGF’s brand characteristics as an investment management company.
Although the inspiration for Firefox’s logo was drawn from a Japanese brush painting of a fox, the cute bushy-tailed animal happens to be a red panda, nicknamed the “firefox.” The animal’s tail resembles a flame encircling earth, and symbolizes the web browser’s global reach at “blazing” speed.
Hootsuite’s logo features the company mascot, Owly, a heavy, black-filled owl drawing; the bold sans-serif typeface has trimmed letter “ts” that relate to the forms of the owl’s body. The logo reflects the company’s brand values of reliability and uniqueness, especially with the unconventional shape of the owl.
Jaguar chose to have its animal symbol pouncing over the company’s name in its logo, depicting the power and speed of the cars it produces. The multi-dimensional animal perfectly complements the powerful, fast, and graceful image of the brand — and it’s designed in the same chrome that appears on Jaguar vehicles.
Lacoste has one of the most recognized logos in the fashion industry. The concept of the logo came from French tennis player René Lacoste’s nickname “Crocodile,” chosen because of his persistent style on the court. René’s friend, Robert George, sketched a crocodile to be embroidered on the shirts he wore during games.
Animal Logos: Design Considerations and Tips
As you can see from the above examples, animal logos can range from sleek and serious to cartoon-ish and playful. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re considering an animal logo for your brand:
- How does the animal represent your brand? Does it match your company’s identity and reflect the idea behind the products or services you’re offering?
- Do you want a 3D, realistic-looking animal symbol or a flat and graphic style?
- Do you want your animal symbol to include details like shading, fur, or wings — or will it be a solid color?
- Is the animal symbol you’re considering strong enough to stand alone from the wordmark? (For example, if you want to use the symbol-only version of your logo on social media, your favicon, etc.)
When you have an idea of what you want for your animal logo, follow these design tips:
Tip #1: Choose a color palette that represents the animal in your logo
Colors can make or break your logo because they help visually represent emotion, what your business is about, and more. Using the right colors can help your audience visualize your logo almost instantly.
When designing an animal logo, choose a color that resonates with your target audience and opt for a palette that matches the animal symbol you’re using.
In the above example, we used the orange, white, and black of a tiger to help reinforce the symbol and brand colors.
Tip #2: Be thoughtful about symbol placement
Think about where you want to place your symbol: be strategic about it and don’t simply place it somewhere you think looks good.
Instead, ask why and explore all options to ensure the positioning contributes to a layout that works well for where you’ll be using your logo most.
For example, if you’re planning on using your logo primarily on websites and social media, then make sure your logo placement and layout looks good at that size and in a square space. Ask yourself:
- Does it use the space up wisely?
- Make sure there’s not too much negative space and optimize for the target area you’ll be using it most.
- Does it get the message across?Is it strong and bold enough?
- Does the symbol look good on its own for use as a profile photo or favicon?
Tip: Aligning your symbol on top of your company name works better within a square as it uses up space more wisely. If you have your symbol to the left of your wordmark, the logo is wider and leaves lots of negative space above and below when placed in a square.
Tip #3: Think about the golden ratio
Animal logos are often created using the golden ratio, a mathematical ratio used by many designers.
Why? Redrawing the animal with every detail doesn’t work because, as you scale it, you’ll lose those details. The golden ratio circles help simplify the details, shapes, and forms of the animal.
Using the exact measurements of the golden ratio circles also helps balance out the logo and make it look unified.