Dan Fleming’s Word Animals

All of this discussion regarding shape and color initiated by Molly Bang’s Picture This: How Pictures Work has brought up an old memory. Growing up, my little ol’ town of Kuna, Idaho – small, yes, but not quite as small as Boiling Springs – had a celebration every August called Kuna Days. It was always blazing hot, the line for the snow cone shack inching its away around the many vendors and their booths. One of these featured intricate wood carvings, and there’s no better way to explain them than to say this: they were a word formed into the shape of that word’s symbol. For example, the letters “B-E-A-R” were shaped like a bear. I always found them fascinating!

After a little research, I discovered Dan Fleming, a graphic designer who specializes in logos and brand identity. By using letters and typography as his shapes, he created something I find quite brilliant. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Dan Fleming’s “Word Animals.”


Dan Fleming: Crocodile


Dan Fleming: Skunk


Dan Fleming: Snail


Dan Fleming: Bunny


Dan Fleming: Chicken

One thing I really appreciated is Dan Fleming’s use of color in his designs. If each example was made in black type on a white background, it would lose some of the magic. Instead, he uses the shape of the type and the color of that particular animal to his advantage, creating something that is quite appealing to the eye!

I strongly encourage you to check out more “Word Animals” and Dan Fleming’s portfolio here.

Bang, Molly. Picture This: How Pictures Work. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000.



  1. These are too cool, Liv! It’s such an interesting way to get the message across. I could see this being so cool in a children’s book, where not only color and shape are important, but also words and ways to learn new things. Fleming’s designs make me want to play around with typography and shapes, too—but I should probably leave that to the experts. (:

  2. These pictures are awesome! I went to his portfolio and looked at more of his designs and they were all so creative. It is cool to see the use of words in conjunction with the artistic representation of the term.

    Similarly to Dennis, I looked at the picture and then noted the letters making up the visual. It’d be interesting to find how many people who looked at these varied with how they saw them (for example, comparing how many people saw the letters and then realized that it was making a picture versus how many saw the art and then the letters)

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