US Democratic and Republican Logo Designs – A Lesson in History (Update)

Featured Image Source: Freepik/@ibrandify

Within American politics, there are several parties where citizens can become a part of, usually dependent on their viewpoints. It is said that the two most well-known political parties in American are the Democrats and Republicans. Surprising to some, the two parties are represented by the symbols of a donkey and an elephant (respectively).

Initially these animal symbols were used on campaign banners, but over the years they have become two of the most outstanding logos in American politics allowing candidates to introduce their US political professional logo designs.

To understand the true meaning behind these two popular symbols in politics, let’s take a look at the brief history behind these democratic and republican logo ideas. We’ll also review how these two animal symbols came to represent the two of the biggest political parties of US.

The Democratic Donkey

democratic donkeyImage Source: Vecteezy/zhaolifang

The Democrats were first to use the donkey as their representative symbol. The donkey represents the Democrats’ beginning 1828. The running President of 1828 was President Andrew Jackson and he was labeled as a “jackass” due to his populist views and stubborn nature. His main slogan was, “Let the people rule.” Although the cartoon was depicted to mock him, it was later adopted by Jackson himself to represent his Democratic party in 1837.

The Republican Elephant

republican elephant
Image Source: Vecteezy/zhaolifang

Some believe that being a Republican influenced Thomas Nast on choosing a bull elephant to represent his party. However, the Republican elephant was not as intentional as Jackson’s donkey. It was formed through a series of events involving New York’s two popular magazines, The Herald and The Harper’s Weekly. The Herald once ran a story of zoo animals being let loose and roaming in New York’s Central Park looking for prey. Cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a cartoon of a donkey wearing lion’s skin, chasing away all the animals (given below). This cartoon was a metaphor for President Ulysses S. Grant whom was running for third term presidency and there was a significant amount of conflict in the Democratic Party. This was one reason that the cartoon included a panicked elephant bearing the label, “Republican Vote.” Ever since then, the elephant became the Republican Party’s its main symbol.However such attacks on political campaign branding are not isolated incidents of the past. We witness Republican logo design goof ups today as well.

Discussion and Meaning of these Symbols

The Democratic donkey represents hard work, diligence, humbleness and a dedication to the USA. The Republicans however, strongly disagree and consider the donkey a symbol of stubbornness.

On the other hand, the Republican elephant represents intelligence, dignity and is considered as the symbol of strength (as it is seen as the only animal that stood up to a lion). In contrast to this, the Democrats see the elephant as comparable to a circus animal.

Both of these symbols found firm foundation in the growing American pop culture and were copyrighted to represent the two political parties. The political logos have the prominent standardized colors and stars of the American flag. Generally, the Republican elephant logo upholds 3 stars while the Democratic donkey logo design has 4. However, the donkey can also been seen with a variation of 3 stars.

The Man Behind the Logo Designs

thomas nast

Thomas Nast was a political cartoonist, who usually drew satirical cartoons depicting the state of American politics. It was his idea to use the two animals for representing the Democratic and Republican parties. Thomas Nast was born in 1840 and had a great career being a caricaturist, an illustrator and a painter. Apart from the political symbols, he is also well acclaimed for the sketch of fat and jolly Santa Claus carrying gifts for little children (previously, Santa was depicted as skinny). Although the artist died in 1902, his sketches and drawings still live on.

There you go! Wasn’t that an interesting history? Let us know what you think of the Republican and Democratic logos.

democratic logosLogos Source: Google Images

Blog Update: 7 July 2015

For a presidential candidate, the first impression they give about their campaign is their logo design. From their on-air personality to the tie they wear, politics is loaded with personal branding.The candidate’s goal is to use personal branding to face opponents and grab that party nomination.

Without taking sides, let’s take a quick look at the top candidates of each party and see how they measure up over the last 20 years. Which political party does the better job with their logo designs overall?


US Presidential Candidate Logo Designs of the Past 20 Years from LogoDesignGuru
*This post was originally written by Alexis Stone.

Feature Image Source

Kathleen is a New Jersey blogger with an interest in brand design and a passion for graphic design, illustration, and social media. She loves to deliver inspiration to others to give them the means to achieve their branding and design goals.

19 thoughts on “US Democratic and Republican Logo Designs – A Lesson in History (Update)

  1. Why are the stars in the republican elephant symbol arranged with the one point down while the Democrat symbols have one point pointing straight up?

    1. Good observation Terry! There are quite a few interesting theories as to why the stars in both the logos are used in certain way. Initially the stars were used in the logos like they are used in the American flag, with the head pointing upwards. However it is believed that in the beginning the stars were usually had their heads pointing downwards even on the American flag which was later corrected after a regulation order was passed regarding the exact arrangement of the stars and other portions of the flag. Perhaps the Republican logo takes the stars from the initial flag design and maybe it is not intended purposely, although some might differ on this theory.

  2. The downward star is a representation of Satan…when bush Jr and rover took over control of not only our nation…but the republican party….it was a way of using symbolism to let their illuminati brothers know they have full control over the party. Bush being a member of skull and bones…self admitted…secret society…is one of many branches of the new world order illuminati council…as are the free masons bilderburg group… Etc etc… They often use symbolism to communicate to others in the society…when power or control has been successful in areas such as politics…banking…media…power….look at many logos of giant coorperations and you will see these references….the republican party is now under the will of the NWO ILLUMINATI

    1. No it was not Bush, when I worked for the GOP in the late 80s the stars were already upside down and could not find answer then or ever since. Anyone know for a fact when or why they were turned???

  3. I can’t say I am impressed with the Republican icon’s stars pointing downward. This is the party I have chosen to stand behind for over 40 years and will continue to stand with, however, In honor of the US Flag and their arrangement of the stars I feel that the stars on the elephant need to be repositioned to pointing upward. As it also has been recognized, stars pointing downward are associated as a Satan symbol. This is somewhat disturbing to me as a Christian and proud American

    1. The official reason given for the stars pointing downwards is that when a ship is in danger and a SOS is shouted the whole American flag must be raised upside down, with the stars pointing downwards, the stars were put upside down in preparation for the War of Terror, a very Satanic concept indeed, based on false flag dangers. Both directions of the stars can be equally malefic. A star pointing upwards means Lucifer as a symbol of excessive pride and ego, a star pointing downwards rather means Satan as a symbol of excessive accusation and guilt, as happen quite often when puritan fundamentalists come into power, as was the case with Reagan and more recently with Bush, Sarah Palin, and Pence.

  4. why do all of you always assume that a star pointing down is associated with the devil
    its not its more associated with God and man (two hands, two feet, one head)
    idiots like you made up a satanic symbol the pentagram dates back very far and only recently has been associated with the devil

  5. The stars upside down aren’t necessarily satanic, but they could also represent man, as man has 5 digits (naturally) on all appendages, and the tetragrammaton represents man standing, legs spread arms out. The inversion means the perversion of mankind.

  6. The inverted stars are just that nothing satanic or distrespectfull about it. It’s a logo NOT our County’s flag. If you read the Respect for the flag, U.S. code title 4 section 8(a) refers to a flag not logo and the stars can in fact be inverted as a sign of dire distress in intances of extreme danger to life or propery. Seems rather fitting to me.

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