The Horse as a Symbol of Patriotism in the United States

By Amanda Horton.

Published by The International Journal of Visual Design

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In recent years, the United States has been in a constant state of war; resulting in a reassertion of our society’s need for patriotic symbols and questions regarding local and global perceptions of presently used symbols. This study asks the question, is the visual representation of a horse recognizable as having meaning and value as a patriotic symbol of the United States of America. The review of existing literature explores the historical the relationship between humankind and the horse in the United States of America from the first European settlements to today. The review also investigates the values that our culture attributes to the symbolism of the horse and will compare them to values that are attributed to other patriotic symbols to establish an understanding of those values in our society. Teresa Bateman (2001) tells us that the bald eagle was chosen in 1782 as the national emblem after much debate, and recent events have called to action our patriotic values and brings to question what other symbols could be used to profess our patriotic values. This study uses a survey and quantitative assessments of popular perceptions of the horse as a symbol. The results of this study are intended to help designers who are asked to design logos that include a symbol of a horse as a graphic element and companies who are considering using a horse symbol as a graphic element.

Keywords: Values, Culture, Visual Representation

The International Journal of Visual Design, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 630.993KB).

Amanda Horton

Assistant Professor, Department of Design, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma, USA

Amanda (Mandy) Horton holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Oklahoma State University and an MFA in Design from The University of Central Oklahoma. Mandy teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in design technology, design studio, and history of graphic design. Mandy's specialty is in design history and she has developed multiple courses for UCO on this subject, including an award winning history of graphic design online course and a minor in design history. Her present interests include researching the history and value of symbols as well as exploring new classroom technology. She is an active member of AIGA, serves on the local board as Communication Chair and is faculty advisor to the UCO AIGA Student Group.