Cats are everywhere in our culture. Since ancient times, they have been regarded as special, and have been afforded a cherished place in our lives because of their characteristic independence, intelligence, quickness and elegance… it’s no wonder people have been using cats in artwork and design for millennia.
Today you’ll find cats not only all over social media, but also in branding. Cat logos are all the rage because people are eager to associate themselves with the many of (p)awesome kitty qualities.
A catwalk through history
You may already know that the ancient Egyptians revered cats. But their admiration went way beyond appreciation. Cats were truly sacred in their society, and there were severe penalties for injuring a cat. Killing a cat even meant certain death. One of their most widely worshipped goddesses was the cat goddess, Bastet. Depicted as half woman, half cat, Bastet was the goddess of the home, who guarded against evil spirits and illness.
In ancient China, another goddess, Li Shou, was also depicted in cat form. Li Shou was a goddess put in charge of Earth after its creation. But cats soon lost their privilege as rulers because they were disinterested in running Earth. However, because it was believed cats could speak with the gods, and humans could not, they continued to be highly regarded.
When cats were smuggled into Europe from Egypt, they became important figures in Norse mythology. But they soon lost their rank in society during the Middle Ages when the Christian church methodically began to demonize all pagan symbols. Now cats became associated with evil and witchcraft. An unfortunate depiction that would stick with cats for 100s of years.
But today cats are obviously back on friendly terms with the Church, as well as with most everyone on the planet. In the last few 100 years, cats have been employed as pest control as well as beloved companion animals (it’s estimated that there are at least 74 million pet cats in the United States). And even though it may not be their job to do so, your beloved pet might still bring you a dead rodent, or two, as a maternal gesture. Their mischievous nature has also made them stars of the internet: cat videos, gifs and memes are incredibly popular. And this popularity has led to their strong presence in our culture, daily lives and in the business of branding.
It goes without saying that cats are aesthetically beautiful creatures. They’re sleek, graceful and their luxurious coats make them look almost opulent—as if dressed for a night on the town. Because of their looks, cats have long been synonymous with attractiveness—and even sexiness—in popular culture. Think of movie characters like Michelle Pfeiffer’s Cat Woman, and the overtly named Pussy Galore. Felines are a pretty fancy bunch, and above are some logos that show off that charm.
Tough kitty logos
To be known as the animal with nine lives you’ve got to have a reputation for getting out of some tricky situations. A cat’s agility and speed is impressive, and their ability to almost always land on their feet seems like magic. But really, it’s just biology and physics. Cats actually posses a remarkable vestibular system (that sensory system in our ears that keeps us upright and balanced) that helps them begin to immediately right their bodies as soon as they begin falling. They also have a flexible backbone which allows for the mid-air contortions necessary for landing on their feet. Pretty impressive. And it’s why cats can often survive a several stories fall. Because of those formidable street skills, people have been using bad-ass cats to identify tough brands for decades.
Cats have been depicted in artwork since ancient times because of their looks and extraordinary qualities. And it’s no different today. Fancy felines lend themselves as perfect subjects for eye-catching work, as well as intricate and sophisticated logos.
… vs. low meow
Let’s get one thing straight: lowbrow doesn’t mean bad! It just happens to be synonymous with mainstream. And for business, that’s a good thing. Some companies want to play it safe when it comes to logo design so that it doesn’t turn customers away. Maybe that’s why the companies above have been so successful.
Cat logos get techie with it
Streamlined. Agile. High-speed. Intelligent… I could be describing the next big tech phenomenon. Or I could be describing a cat. With superlative qualities like that, what new tech company wouldn’t want to be synonymous with feline cleverness? Which is exactly why some companies choose to brand themselves with images of cats, so that some of those feline features hopefully rub off on them.
I can haz logo?
It seems like the internet was made for cats. The ubiquitousness of smartphones has captured cats in all their everyday moments of silliness, slothfulness and feistiness (I mean, have you seen cats vs. babies?). And sharing those images online has focused the spotlight on these beloved creatures. The rise in online popularity has also led to the creation of a bevy of fun, silly and whimsical logos that definitely deserve spots on our list.
So, why might you use a cat for your logo design or business? Because cats are awesome!
Well, and also because they’re incredibly versatile. Cats can be depicted as cool or silly, elegant or simple, fast or mellow… It really all depends on how you choose to design your work and what qualities you wish to portray. And a multifaceted cat could help you get the look you’re after.