Research | Archetypes

What are Archetypes?

An archetype is defined as ‘a very typical example of a certain person or thing’, or ‘an original which has been imitated; a prototype’. However, in Jungian theory, prototypes are defined as ‘a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious’.

Therefore, in literature, art, or mythology, archetypes are ‘a recurrent symbol or motif’.

Jungian Archetypes

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that archetypes were ‘models of people, behaviours, or personalities’, and that they were ‘inborn tendencies that play a role in influencing human behaviour’. To break it down further, according to Jung, the human psyche comprises of the ego, personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious, and it is within the collective unconscious that has psychological inheritance; ‘it [contains] all of the knowledge and experiences we share as a species’. ‘Jung believed that we inherit these archetypes much the way we inherit intransitive patterns of behaviour’.

The 12 fundamental archetypes we can consider for this project are: the caregiver, citizen/everyman, hero, innocent (ego), the creator, explorer, lover, rebel (soul), jester, magician, sage, and sovereign (self).

I. The caregiver

Those who identify with this archetype are full of empathy and compassion.

Goal: To help others
Fear: Being considered selfish
Weakness: Being exploited and feeling put upon
Talent: Compassion and generosity

II. The citizen/everyman

Represents those who are dependable, down-to-earth realists. Always searching for belonging in the world, and may join many groups and communities to find a place where they fit in.

Goal: To belong
Fear: To be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Weakness: Can be a little too cynical
Talent: Honest and open, pragmatic and realistic

III. The innocent

Sometimes criticised for being naive dreamers. However, their positive outlook and happy-go-lucky personalities can uplift others. Always tries to see the good in the world and looks for the silver lining in every situation.

Goal: To be happy
Fear: Being punished for doing something wrong
Weakness: Being too trusting of others
Talent: Faith and open-mindedness

IV. The creator

Born to bring something into being that does not exist yet. They hate to be passive consumers of anything, much preferring to make their own entertainment. Creators are often artists or musicians though they can be found in almost any area of work.

Goal: To create things of enduring value
Fear: Failing to create anything great
Weakness: Perfectionism and creative blocks caused by fear of not being exceptional
Talent: Creativity and imagination

V. The Lover

Seeks harmony in everything they do. They find it hard to deal with conflict and may find it difficult to stand up for their own ideas and beliefs in the face of more assertive types.

Goal: Being in a relationship with people, work, and environment they love
Fear: Feeling unwanted or unloved
Weakness: Desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
Talent: Passion, appreciation, and diplomacy

VI. The Rebel

When the rebel sees something in the world that isn’t working, they look to change it. Sometimes, rebels can abandon perfectly good traditions just because they have a desire for reform. They can be charismatic and easily encourage others to follow them in their pursuit of rebellion.

Goal: To overturn what isn’t working
Fear: To be powerless
Weakness: Taking their rebellion too far and becoming obsessed by it
Talent: Having big, outrageous ideas and inspiring others to join them

VII. The Jester

The jester loves to liven up a party with humour and tricks, however, they have deep souls. They want to make others happy and can often use humour to change people’s perceptions.

Goal: To lighten up the world and make others laugh
Fear: Being perceived as boring by others
Weakness: Frivolity, wasting time and hiding emotions beneath a humorous disguise
Talent: Seeing the funny side of everything and using humour for positive change

VIII. The Sovereign / ruler

Loves to be in control. They often have a clear vision of what will work in a given situation. They believe they know what is best for a group or community and can get frustrated if others don’t share their vision.

Goal: Create a prosperous, successful family or community
Fear: Chaos, being undermined or overthrown
Weakness: Being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: Responsibility, leadership

Archetypes in Design & Branding

I. The caregiver

Such brands are aimed at taking care of their customers and help them to care about others. Consumers branding associates caregivers with comfort, coziness, emotional warmth, and flexibility. This is the most obvious brand archetype for medicine, charity organisations, insurance companies, and other brands that are targeted at both responsibility and safety.

e.g. Logo for Hope for Healing

II. The citizen/everyman

Offering them specific solutions to acute problems, promising to bring comfort to the hustle of their daily routine. Often regarded as ‘fair, simple’ brands’ for everybody.

e.g. EcoWash Systems

III. The creator

Visioneers, artists, such brands are soaked with aesthetic values and encourage customers creativity and artistic freedom. They stand for the diversity in design, coming up with unexpected solutions that strike, amaze, and surprise. They inspire their customers with bold decisions.

e.g. FireWood presenting their products in the shapes of logs, bringing the name and notion closer together

IV. The innocent

Brands that are sweet, cozy, and feel like home. This archetype plays with nostalgia, referring to your ‘inner kid’, friendship, and family relations.

e.g. Sunday (a real estate business), and Coca-Cola

V. The Lover

Makes customers feel very special. They lure with romance and promise adventures, surround their clients with beauty and luxury, and make everything possible for the client to feel exclusive.

e.g. L’Oreal and Mercedes

VI. The rebel

These brands break stereotypes and don’t want to follow the rules. They make the rules and establish the newest trends. By accelerating changes or stepping aside from existing visual patterns, they become leaders in their marketing niche to inspire others.

e.g. Apple

Vii. The Jester

These brands don’t want to be boring and follow the daily routine. Advertising campaigns become viral if they use irony or even sarcasm

e.g. Snacks, fizzy drinks and other junk food marketing schemes

VIII. The sovereign / ruler

Only true market leaders and brands with rich histories can appeal to this archetype. They conquer and reign. Noble, stable, of the highest quality, they can use posh taglines and reflect luxury.

e.g. Givenchy


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