Happy Easter everyone! Got your stash of chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies yet?
Easter is a well celebrated festival, that we all know. But what has a bunny got to do with Easter?
The story of the Easter Bunny
The Easter bunny is an anthropomorphic rabbit that lays egg and sneaks into homes the night before Easter to deliver baskets full of coloured eggs, toys and chocolate. We are not too sure either but according to some sources, the birth of the Easter bunny started with:-
1) The German immigrants who arrived in the 1700s in America told their kids about a hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws” that could lay coloured eggs. Children made nests hoping that the hare will drop by and lay their coloured eggs in them. Eventually the custom spread across US and Easter morning deliveries expanded to other sugar goodies such as candies and chocolates while nests were replaced with decorated baskets.
2) The Teutonic deity Eostra who was the goddess of spring and fertility, was worshipped and feasts were held in her honour during Vernal Equinox (the day that Easter falls on). Her symbol was the rabbit (Rabbits has high production rate, and are known to be an ancient symbol of fertility and new life.)
1. ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human, especially to a deity.
2. resembling or made to resemble a human form: an anthropomorphic carving.
Anthropomorphism is a cognitive bias, which occurs when individuals see human characteristics in a non-human agent, object or animal. As we progress through history, anthropomorphism in art becomes more abundant as fables, tales and expression begin to envelope the human culture. Today, it has extended beyond the medium of art and has seeped into the natural world in which we live in. This is where as humans, we take the context of art and our expression of it and apply it to real things in the world such as animals, toys, technology; basically anything we can put our imagination to!
While the concept of Anthropomorphism is all about putting human traits to non-human entities, we also look at other aspect of this concept which entails using forms that are human like – Structural, Gestural, Character and Aware Anthropomorphic Form
Structural Anthropomorphic Form
- Draws knowledge of human anatomy and physiology
- Imitates the construction and operation of the human body, with a focus on its the state of being physical
- Shapes, volumes, mechanisms and arrangements that mimic the appearance or functioning of the human body.
Gestural Anthropomorphic Form
- Imitates the ways human communicate with and through the human body with focus on human behaviour; The use of motions or poses that suggest human action to express intention
- Draws knowledge of human non-verbal communication and reflects the expressiveness of the human body
Character Anthropomorphic Form
- Imitates the traits, roles or functions of people
- Emphasizes the purpose of individual action, displays qualities or habits that defines and describes individuals
- Draws knowledge of societal conventions and contexts and reflects the practices people engage in
Aware Anthropomorphic Form
- Imitates human capacity for thought, intentionality or inquiry
- Recognises the social qualities of being human
- Emphasises a common nature of being human, possess a knowledge of the self in relation to others, the ability to construct or manipulate abstract ideas, or the ability to actively participate with others
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Throughout civilisation, humans, being a compassionate, emotional and intelligent being, tend to project human traits, our emotions, and motivations onto objects and the study of it. We tend to think of the world in terms of the human experience, and are drawn toward things that are more similar to us. – People talk to their plants, name their cars, and even dress their pets up in clothing. We have a strong tendency to give nonhuman entities human characteristics.
Anthropomorphism helps us to simplify and make more sense of complicated entities. Our minds are predisposed to perceive certain forms and patterns that appear similar to us. In design and marketing, this principle is an effective way of gaining attention and establishing and forming relationships based on emotional appeal.
Anthropomorphism is especially interesting to marketers, because once anthropomorphic bias has been triggered; it can lead to a greater feeling of connectedness to a non-human agent, the emulation of behaviours or greater attribution of brand personality and brand liking. Research has shown that the use of anthropomorphic animal mascots can help improve brand equity and sales. As such, marketers have capitalised on this tendency by creating a variety of anthropomorphic animal mascots for commercial products and services (Tony the Tiger & Kellogg’s Frosties is a good example).
For designers they can use this tendency to find anthropomorphic forms that are more appealing to attract attention to design elements, establish a positive frame or tone for designs, and even build relationships and make emotional connections with audiences.