The Outlaw Archetype: 10 Branding Examples

Arek Dvornechcuck
Branding Expert

I'm a strategist and designer based in New York who help brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch

If you’re looking to use the Outlaw archetype to your brand strategy, then this examples of Outlaw brands will be helpful for you.

In this article, I’m going to show you 10 examples of using the Outlaw archetype in branding.

We are going to talk about the Outlaw archetype and its traits and characteristics.

Then I will give you three concrete examples of the Outlaw brands in real life, and I will describe what they do in terms of the expression:

What kind of voice, message, colors, fonts and imagery they use to express that persona?

We will also talk about some of the best use-case scenarios for using the Outlaw Archetype.

The Outlaw Archetype

Moreover, I will show you how the Outlaw archetype fits into the overall archetypal framework.

What are the levels of this archetype? Yes, there are levels to this game.

We’ve got 12 main archetypes, but there are actually 60 archetypes in total.

So, the Outlaw archetype family is consists of: the Activist, the Gambler, the Maverick, and the Reformer.

The Outlaw Archetype

  1. Outlaw Archetype Definition
  2. Outlaw Archetype Examples
  3. Outlaw Archetype Expression
  4. Outlaw Archetype Use Case
  5. Outlaw Archetype Family

1. Outlaw Archetype Definition

The Outlaw is one of the main archetypes that has the enticement of forbidden fruit.

The Outlaw archetype’s motto is: “Rules are meant to be broken”.

They are romantic figures who are ready to shake up a society that has become tyrannical, repressed, conformist, or cynical.

Outlaw Archetype Definition

Certainly, we see the Outlaw in its most positive form in figures like Robin Hood or Zorro.

And in the most negative form — typical villains, like Superman or Batman, Lex Luthor, or the Joker.

An Outlaw person has a desire to become revolutionary and is not afraid to step outside the norm and shake things up.

They are willing to tear down the current system in order to create a better one.

They also stand out from the crowd, but they are more naughty and aggressive.

Outlaws like to go against the flow to avoid the mainstream.

They despise rules, regulations, and conformity that rob all forms of freedom of choice.

Even though anger is part of their motivation, they are still good-hearted.

The Outlaw archetype is ideal for brands that allow customers to express their unorthodox personalities and desires.

They use marketing to show that they are willing to take risks and that they aren't like everyone else.

2. Outlaw Archetype Examples (10)

Now, let me give you some examples of using the Outlaw Archetype in branding.

What are some examples of the Outlaw archetype?

These brands that I will enumerate are the best examples that you can use if you want to apply the Outlaw archetype to your brand strategy.

Outlaw Archetype Examples

Harley Davidson (1)

Harley-Davidson is the perfect example of an Outlaw brand.

Harley Davidson

They are probably the most focused archetypal personalities there are.

They represent the Outlaw persona to a T and appeal to the inner Outlaw within their audience.

Their slogan, "Screw it. Let’s ride", represents liberation from the strict constraints of society.

They inspire their target audience to get out of their repetitive daily lives and experience the thrill of the outdoors.

Diesel Jeans (2)

Diesel Jeans is another brand that has made excellent use of the Outlaw archetype.

Diesel Jeans

They are an Italian retail clothing company that sells denim and other clothing, footwear, and accessories.

The brand’s slogan is "For Successful Living", which embodies the Outlaw archetype.

As part of the campaign, Diesel broke the stereotype and created a series of advertisements urging customers to act foolishly because being smart is so "mainstream".

Virgin (3)

On the other hand, Virgin is a totally different example of a brand adopting the Outlaw archetype.

Virgin

They are a global growth investor across multiple sectors, including travel and leisure, health and wellness, media, and aerospace.

The Outlaw archetype is a natural fit for this company because they always push the boundaries of what is possible.

With the slogan "Insatiable Curiosity. Smart Disruption", they are known for challenging the status quo and shaking the market while advocating for people and the planet.

They are known to challenge the status quo and shake the market as they stand up for the people and the planet.

Levi Strauss (4)

Another example is Levi Strauss, a clothing company known worldwide for its denim jeans.

Levi Strauss

They always showcase their authentic and superior quality products.

They are an Outlaw brand because they are free-thinkers who reject all kinds of labels and restrictions.

Their slogan, "Live in Levi's", is an illustration of how much they value listening to their customers.

Apple (5)

Apple is a multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics and computer software.

Apple

This company changed the rules of the game and the game itself.

They produced different kinds of computer software and completely different mobile phones.

They connected with their audience by sharing their desire to push boundaries in the world of technology.

Uber (6)

Uber is an app-based transportation platform best known for pioneering the ride-hailing business.

Uber

Their slogan, "Move the way you want", speaks to the Outlaw archetype.

The company has experienced ups and downs, but there is no doubt that it has succeeded in trying something different.

MTV (7)

MTV, which stands for Music Television, is a cable television network with a 24-hour music and entertainment schedule.

MTV

It has fueled the music industry with its idea of devoting a whole channel to the said industry.

They held the monopoly on almost any music ever released, but it was its rebellious nature that surprised the entire generation.

PayPal (8)

PayPal is an online payment system that allows people to send money to each other electronically instead of using paper money.

PayPal

Its mission, according to the website, aligns flawlessly with the Outlaw archetype values:

"To democratize financial services to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, convenient, and secure services to take control of their financial lives".

Dollar Shave Club (9)

Dollar Shave Club has come up with a solution called a subscription service that sends razors right to your door every month.

Dollar Shave Club

They wanted to help consumers avoid cuts caused by cheap razors.

Their message skillfully turned them into rebels who rejected the traditional shaving experience—a classic Outlaw characteristic.

Bitcoin (10)

And last but not least, is Bitcoin, which is a completely virtual type of money.

Bitcoin

It is a completely unorthodox form of money—a perfect example of the Outlaw archetype.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that works without central control or supervision by banks or governments.

The brand is a beacon of boldness and liberation, which is a great example of an outlaw brand archetype.

3. Outlaw Archetype Expression

Now that you have several examples of Outlaw brands, let me summarize how the Outlaw archetype might be expressed in branding.

Outlaw brands use disruptive, rebellious, and combative tones of voice.

Outlaw brands will usually market themselves with confidence, boldness, adventure, and excitement.

Outlaw Archetype Expression

Competence, desire, and unconventional characteristics are other ways of communication.

The message is often about encouraging their audience to move past their norms.

Their tone of voice is always authoritative, revolutionary, and bold.

And by doing so, they’re leaving their consumers feeling free and enthusiastic.

These brands want to give people an alternative to the mainstream and let them go their own way (like Apple).

Images symbolizing freedom and change are commonly used as well (like Diesel Jeans, for example).

Common image subjects include things like automobiles and nature.

Therefore, the culture within an Outlaw brand will be solely focused on revolution and changing the status quo.

Innovate with ingenious thinking and still provide practical solutions that are in demand.

4. Outlaw Archetype Use Case

The Outlaw archetype, in general, provides a good identity for brands which promote evoking change and becoming genuinely revolutionary.

Outlaw archetype is best for body art, construction, motorcycles, and more.

These brands might be associated with qualities like courage, boldness, passion, strength, and enthusiasm.

Outlaw Archetype Use Case

They often come up with truly off-the-wall products—an Outlaw is trying to solve a problem in a new way.

Outlaw brands are typically low to average in price; these are typically low- to moderately priced products.

The Outlaw archetype might be a good option for those businesses who do not just want innovation, but also want to make the world a more logical place.

In summary, the Outlaw brand archetype is unconventional and willing to take risks.

Culture is oriented towards fresh perspectives and new outlooks.

Outlaw brands don’t want to be powerless or ineffectual, and they have high levels of consciousness and intelligence — some would say even to the point of naivety.

The Outlaw brand would do well in industries that involve automotive, motorcycles, construction, body art, technology, statement clothing, and rebellious groups.

5. Outlaw Archetype Levels / Family

Now, I wanted to let you know that there are 12 main archetypes, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

The Outlaw archetype’s family includes: Activist, Gambler, Maverick, and Reformer.

But there are also 4 sub-archetypes for each, so the Outlaw Archetype is like the representative of this family.

Outlaw Archetype Levels / Family

You can also go deeper and explore other archetypes within the Outlaw family.

The difference between the Outlaw and other archetypes 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 Outlaw Archetypes:

  1. Activist — brand examples: Greenpeace and Occupy Wall Street
  2. Gambler — brand examples: Bitcoin and E-Trade
  3. Maverick — brand examples: Harley Davidson and Levi Strauss
  4. Reformer — brand examples: American Civil Liberties Union

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.

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.

Outlaw Archetype
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