Greek mythology is present in our everyday lives whether we know it or not. It is deeply embedded into our everyday culture, and a lot of the movies we see, books we read, the music we hear, and yes – even products we buy – are deeply influenced by the Ancient Greeks.
The ancient Greeks had many different gods and goddesses – hundreds of them – and they are reflected through us through our language on an everyday basis. Let’s take a look at the companies that use ancient Greek cultural anthropology as their business name and logos.
Starbucks – One of the most visible ones from Greek Mythology Logos Today
Coffee chain Starbucks is well-known worldwide for its brand. More than 20,000 Starbucks stores are located worldwide. Founded by two friends named Howard Schultz and Gordon Bowker in 1971, the company is based in Seattle, Washington. Schultz and Bowker wanted to start a business that would focus on fresh, quality coffee instead of the usual commodity sold by big chains like 7-Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts. If you notice carefully, the logo used by Starbucks is a Twin Tailed Siren from Greek social anthropology. It was said that twin tail sirens were beautiful but dangerous sea creatures in Greek mythology. Sailors and seamen are lured into death traps by their beauty and melody. The Sirens were members of the ‘Okeanides,’ three sea nymphs, and the daughters of the sea god Okeanos and the Tethys Titan. The Sirens were originally portrayed as mermaids or manatees in early poetry. The earliest written reference to the Sirens is in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, which is dated to approximately the seventh century BC.
Versace is a well-known Italian luxury fashion brand. Established by Gianni Versace in 1978, Versace has a long history. He started his career as a tailor for high-end clients like Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin. In 1979 he opened his own boutique called “Gianni Versace,” which became very successful. The company’s logo was inspired by the mythological goddess Medusa. This well-known greek goddess has snakes instead of hair on her head. The mere sight of her can make anyone petrified. Those who fall in love with Medusa cannot run away from her. Versace is also conveying this message through this story. There is an obvious authority to their logo and a sense of visual fascination. When Versace chose this logo, they wanted to build an iconic brand with a strong dominance on the global stage, which they have done, evidently. It is also simple enough for non-designers to be able to replicate. An average person who sees this logo will know it is Versace and probably will not explain why.
NBC Peacock Logo
The NBC Peacock logo is one of the popular logos that was derived from Greek mythology. The colorful logo has a peacock in the center—the origin of the story center around the Greek goddess Hera. Hera was the wife of the god of thunder, Zeus. She had 100 eyes, which were then symbolized into peacock’s feathers. This also means that Zeus knew seeing and knowing all. Hera is one of the most popular goddesses in Greek mythology. She has many stories and legends, such as her stealing the golden apples from the god of the sea Poseidon and her husband, Zeus, and then she got caught.
The Tennessee Titans
You might not think that a professional football team would be considered a company – well, that is exactly what it is! The Titans are an ancient race of Gods and the first of the Gods, a powerful race of giants who ruled in ancient times before the Olympians and were an earlier generation of Gods. These gods and goddesses existed before the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Zeus, Medusa, Hades, and Poseidon.
We all know about the giant shoe and sportswear company. Nike is the Greek goddess of victory, did you know? There is no better way to name a sports shoe company than after the goddess of victory. Greek warriors used the sign of the “swoosh” to symbolize their great and enormous power. Nike’s slogan is “just do it” and the reason behind it is that the founder of Nike believed that all the people have the power to make their dreams come true. There are many other examples of symbolism in the ads and magazines which will help you to understand their hidden messages.
Founded in the United Kingdom, Dove is a brand of personal care products owned by Unilever. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love, is the inspiration for the company’s name. As Aphrodite’s symbol, the dove was on the soap’s packaging. Over 150 countries sell the products, which are available for people of all ages. An outline of Dove’s namesake bird appears in the logo. Dove was founded in the United Kingdom by the Lever Brothers in 1955. The dove was first introduced in the United States in 1957 and worldwide in 1969. Owned and distributed by Unilever, Dove is a skincare product. During his tenure at the Lever brothers, Vincent Lamberti was awarded the original patents related to Dove’s manufacturing.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the Lernaean Hydra or Hydra of Lerna (Greek) is a serpentine water monster. Hydra Markets is an STP broker company based in Georgia, founded in 2015. A wide range of currency pairs, precious metals, and CFDs are available for trading. As you can see above, the company logo contains the 3 headed serpentine monster, which is a direct reference to the Greek Lernaean Hydra. The Hydra was a serpent-like monster with many heads, guarding the gate to the underworld. In the lore, Hydra’s blood was so poisonous that it could even be poisoned by merely touching it. Hercules’ arrows could not kill it.
There is an online retail site named “Amazon” after a race of warrior women currently ranked as the third most visited site in the US (as of this being written). The company’s explosive expansion and dominance in e-commerce began when Amazon was founded as a website selling only books on July 5, 1994. Having no plans only to sell books, Bezos knew that Amazon would be an “everything store.” By hiring an old-fashioned company man, he built Amazon into a beast.
One of the most significant greek mythology logos today is the “Pandora.” Numerous companies use the Pandora business name. Pandora Jewelry – and more recently Pandora radio – are just two of many available. In Greek mythology, Pandora represents the first woman, who is also called “all gifted.” Pandora’s box contains all the world’s evils, but they were released into the world when she opened it, leaving only hope.
Apart from being one of the planets in our system, Saturn – which is the name of a car company in today’s world (Subsidiary of General Motors) – was the Roman name for Cronus, the father of Zeus. Titans were the sons of Uranus, the sky god. Poseidon, the god of the sea, was his brother. Zeus threw Saturn out of the sky because he ate his own children. In Greek mythology, Saturn is associated with Cronus, the god of time; in Roman mythology, Saturn is associated with Saturnus, and the planet was named after him.
Known worldwide for its luxury sports cars, Maserati is an Italian automobile brand. Their brand message concludes ultra-luxury consumer vehicles handcrafted in iconic Italian designs – which is also one of the most notable greek mythology logos today. To convey their branding, they use the trident logo because Neptune symbolizes strength and vigor. There is also the fact that Neptune’s statue is located in the company’s home city of Piazza Maggiore. This is one classic premium example of the way they have done it.
The trident was the three-pronged spear of the god of the sea Poseidon. Trident gum is a popular gum and Trident actually literally translates into “three toothed.” Trident gum is affordable and comes in a variety of flavors (most of which I prefer to the more popular, sugar-filled gum). Every time I’m chewing Trident gum, I hear Poseidon’s rage swell up inside of my head, and it makes me feel powerful.
Venus by Gillette
Venus is another name that got changed (from Aphrodite) once the Romans took over Greek mythology. Today, Venus is a top-rated and famous personal beauty product for women. The great Roman poet and philosopher Ovid (43 BC-17 AD) wrote a long poem about Venus. Venus is not only the Roman name for Aphrodite but is also the name of a planet.
Colgate-Palmolive Company makes Ajax, a household cleaning product. Powder and liquid versions of this product are available for use on household and kitchen surfaces. It’s also popular with home cleaning services. Furthermore, dish detergent is also available. Because Ajax was a Greek mythological figure known for “cleaning up” in battle, Colgate-Palmolive Company decided to call it Ajax. As he did not need assistance from the gods, Ajax cleaner products can handle cleaning in the household on their own.
This Dutch club is also known as Ajax or AFC Ajax and was founded in 1867. The team plays in the Eredivisie, the top division in Dutch football. With 34 Eredivisie titles and 19 KNVB Cups, Ajax (named after the legendary Greek hero) has historically been the most successful club in the Netherlands. The club has been playing in the Eredivisie since 1956. Those “big three” clubs dominate the Dutch league, alongside Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven. Wikipedia
In our spoken language and our day-to-day use of products, we often forget that there are many different origins to the languages we are speaking. It’s nice to know your history. Diving into Greek mythology logos today in well-established businesses and learn about it (so that it is hand-in-hand knowledge) can be very good for you. And who knows, perhaps you will end up naming your company (a Sports Company or a shoe company) after a Greek God! So, which Greek God would you name your business after?
If you’re anything like most people, your first instinct will be to name it after the one that represents good fortune and prosperity. Perhaps you are a bit more sophisticated, and you’d prefer to name your company after a different God.