The Explorer archetype's motto is: You only get one life, make it count. Other names for it include the rebel, individualist, or wanderer.
What are some well-known examples of the Explorer archetype? These Explorer brands can be a source of your inspiration.
Explorer brands use an exciting, fearless, and daring tone of voice. They are frequently connected to individualism, freedom, and discovery.
I'm a branding expert and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York. Need help with branding?—Just Get in touch
In this article, I'll show you 10 examples of how to use the Explorer archetype in branding.
NEW: Take the Brand Archetype Quiz to discover what archetype is best for your brand.
First, we'll define the Explorer archetype and discuss its traits and characteristics.
Then I'll show you 10 real-life examples of Explorer brands and describe what they do in terms of the expression.
What kind of voice, message, colors, fonts, and imagery do they use to express that persona?
We will also talk about what the best use cases are for using the Explorer Archetype.
Moreover, I will show you how this archetype fits into the overall archetypal framework.
We’ve got 12 main archetypes, but there are actually 60 archetypes in total.
The Explorer archetype is consists of: the Adventurer, the Pioneer, the Generalist, and the Seeker.
Check out the promo video of my new course about Brand Archetypes.
The Explorer is one of the best archetypes for those who have a thirst for knowledge and a connection to nature.
The Explorer archetype's motto is: You only get one life, make it count.
It is also known as the seeker, adventurer, or wanderer, individualist, or rebel.
And Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones is a true explorer in film, a great example of this archetype.
The core desire of the Explorer is to discover who they are by exploring the world and be themselves.
They are self-starters who prefer to go their own way rather than follow traditional life ideas.
This archetype is willing to go to any length to avoid boredom and feeling trapped, even if it means taking more risks.
Explorers require a sense of direction in their lives.
This need is met by a desire for adventure, curiosity, and fearlessness.
People who are passionate about nature and want to push the boundaries are the target audience for explorer brands.
They exist to assist customers in going on adventures, expressing and realizing themselves, and they are afraid of being trapped, conforming, inner emptiness, and non-being.
Let me now give you some examples of how to use the Explorer archetype in branding.
What are some well-known examples of the Explorer archetype?
If you want to use the Explorer archetype in your brand strategy, these brands can serve as inspiration.
First and foremost, Jeep is a prime example of an Explorer brand.
It employs classic images associated with the "great outdoors," emphasizing the vehicle's ability to travel anywhere, including off the grid, more than any other vehicle.
Consumers are loyal to the brand because Jeep "understands" them.
Their advertisements frequently depict customers having exciting outdoor adventures, which represents the Explorer archetype.
Patagonia is an American clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing.
Their target market consists of outdoor enthusiasts and activists.
Patagonia has become synonymous with outdoor activities, and has consistently set the standard for environmentally friendly clothing.
Because of its passion for the environment and living a truly authentic life, this brand screams the Explorer archetype.
The North Face is another brand that has adopted the Explorer archetype.
It is a brand of outdoor clothing and equipment for hiking, camping, skiing, and snow sports.
So, with the slogan "Never Stop Exploring," they are basically all the after-school activities that a typical Explorer consumer does.
They encourage their customers to go out and experience the great outdoors.
The next example is Timberland, which is both a manufacturer and a retailer of outdoor clothing.
Their advertisements are their products showcased in a multitude of different locations.
Timberland’s description says, "Outfit for the journey, wherever the adventure may be".
That type of sentiment is a classic Explorer archetype.
National Geographic is a global non-profit organization specializing in the study and protection of the Earth.
They are yet another company that allows people who want to learn and have fun in their daily lives to do so.
This brand created the television show Explorer, as well as numerous other exploration and educational programs.
It's not subtle to follow their archetype, but they also went the extra mile and partnered with an adventure cruise company that offers exploration cruises.
Red Bull is the world's best-selling energy drink, with 7.9 billion cans sold each year.
Red Bull’s slogan defines the brand as an Explorer—"Red Bull gives you wings".
By appealing to their free-spirited audience, their advertisements always bring to life the thrill of discovering new places and experiences.
NASA stands for "National Aeronautics and Space Administration".
It is in charge of manned space flight, aviation, and space science research and development.
We often forget that NASA is a brand.
Their vision is to "reach new heights and uncover the unknown".
This is basically what the Explorer archetype is about, but on a slightly larger scale.
Land Rover is a British manufacturer of primarily all-wheel-drive off-road vehicles.
Its tagline perfectly aligns with the Explorer archetype values.
"The power to take you anywhere. Above and beyond".
This archetype assists you in discovering who you are by embracing change, travel, and life's unexpected and amazing journeys.
Starbucks Corporation is a multinational coffeehouse chain that serves the world's highest quality arabica.
You might be wondering how Starbucks became an Explorer brand archetype.
They emphasized the exotic quality of their products in their brand positioning.
Using a diverse range of beans and blends from around the world is unquestionably risky.
Last but not least, there is Subaru, a global transportation manufacturer of automobiles and aircraft.
The Subaru brand presents its design as "all about being fun to drive".
Rather than selling cars for luxury and comfort, they emphasize the freedom Subaru provides.
The brand is a beacon of innovation in the automotive industry, exemplifying the Explorer brand archetype.
Now that you've seen a few examples of Explorer brands, let me summarize how the Explorer archetype can be expressed through branding.
Explorer brands use an exciting, fearless, and daring tone of voice.
Explorer brands are typically associated with freedom, exploration, discovery, and individuality.
Another means of communication is the power, excitement, and enthusiasm of these characters.
The message is frequently about celebrating the outdoors and instilling a sense of adventure in the target audience.
Their tone of voice is always fearless, exciting, and daring.
And by doing so, they leave their customers feeling confident and passionate.
These brands, like Patagonia, aim to live for adventure and help their customers go on adventures and express themselves.
Images containing mountains, oceans, and snow are commonly used as well like The North Face or Timberland.
And so, common image subjects include things like trees and bodies of water.
Therefore, the culture within an Explorer brand will be solely focused on outdoor activities.
This archetype is ready to do almost anything to avoid immobility and confinement, even if it means taking great risks.
Known for pushing the boundaries and enjoying unexpected discoveries, the Explorer has a "limitless" philosophy.
The Explorer archetype, in general, provides a good identity for brands that promote freedom and adventure.
The Explorer archetype is best for automotive, outdoor equipment, and travel.
These brands might be associated with qualities like passion, youthfulness, boldness, energy, joy, and peace.
They often pick up the wandering habits of their audience to discover new places, people, and the world.
The Explorer brands are typically priced above average, with products ranging from moderate to high in price.
The Explorer archetype might be a good option for those businesses that have the inner urge to push themselves out of the comfort and adaptability of everyday life.
In summary, the Explorer brand archetype is for high-risk takers who want to experience everything.
Culture is oriented towards finding themselves through their own adventures.
Explorer brands want to help people express their individuality.
They can speak to their target markets with words such as liberty, choice, and action that make them feel they can conquer the world.
The Explorer brand does well in industries that involve automotive, outdoor equipment, and adventure travel.
Promote the unknown as the land of the free, and challenge them to explore it with your brand, of course.
Finally, I wanted to remind you that, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are 12 major archetypes.
The Explorer archetype’s family includes: Pioneer, Adventurer, Generalist, and Seeker.
But there are also 4 sub-archetypes for each, so the Explorer Archetype is like the representative of this family.
You can also go deeper and explore other archetypes within the Explorer family.
The difference between an Explorer and others is that the top-level archetypes share more in common with other family members.
That’s why they function as a unifying thread among each family member.
It’s like you have your own personality, and you may have a lot in common with your parents.
So here are the other four Explorer Archetypes:
Even though I will not go deeper into explaining those sub-categories, at least you have some examples so that you can figure it out for yourself.
And if you want to learn more, I recommend these two books:
(1) The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson
(2) Archetypes in Branding by Margaret Hartwell and Joshua C. Chen
Lastly, please check out my Brand Strategy Guide, where I explain how to use archetypes to develop a comprehensive brand strategy.
Check out my new course about brand archetypes (including the Innocent)—it's a deep dive that elaborates on the free content available on my blog.
The preview of this course is also available on my Youtube channel (2nd module only).
I'm a branding expert and graphic designer based in NY. I specialize in the development of brands: brand strategy, identity & web design. Need help with your project?—Get in touch