If you are Irish or have lived or traveled to Ireland, the first name that comes to your mind when you think of a heritage brand is Guinness. It is not a surprise but just a fact. There aren’t many brands like Guinness that have been successful in serving people from 250+ years back until now and still remain the best in what they do. What they do is brewing the best Irish beer and they do it in class and style. You are not a true Irish if you haven’t tasted the Guinness stout beer at least once.
So you might have tasted the Guinness stout beer, but do you know what the Guinness logo stands for? What does the harp in the Guinness logo symbolize? How important is harp to Ireland? Read more to get answers to these questions along with insights into the evolution of the Guinness logo over the years.
The symbolism of Harp in Ireland
When you think of something that symbolizes Ireland, Shamrocks are obviously what comes into your mind. But in reality, the Harp is considered the official emblem of Ireland. A Harp is a Gaelic musical instrument that comes in a triangular frame with a set of parallel strings attached. It is known as cláirseach in the Irish Gaelic language and is a traditional instrument in the Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is also known as the Celtic harp as well as the Gaelic harp. Today, the harp can be found on the presidential seal on passports, official documents, Irish euro coins, and in the flag of Leinster.
The Guinness Logo and the Government of Ireland symbol Connection
So what do the Guinness logo and the government of Ireland symbol have in common? Yes, you guessed it right. It’s the Harp! So is there any connection with Guinness and the government of Ireland to both use the same object to represent them self? Not really! In fact, it was Guinness that came up first with the logo before the government of Ireland.
Guinness used the harp logo for the first time back in April 1862 and registered it as their trademark for the brewery a few years from then in 1876. The Irish state government first used the harp as their symbol in 1922, 60 years after Guinness’s introduction. Even both Guinness and the Government of Ireland both use the harp as their emblem of identification, both of them have few distinguishing features.
Since Guinness already introduced the harp before the Irish government, they had to turn the harp the other way around to not make it look similar. Below you can see the images for both the Guinness logo and the Government of Ireland symbol.
Guinness Logo design
Government of Ireland symbol
One of the main reasons why the Guinness branded products look truly astonishing has to do with its logo. The famous Guinness logo is represented by a harp with the year origin embarked into it. The Harp has been an integral symbol for Guinness ever since it was used as a symbol for the first time on the bottle label back in 1862. 14 years afterward in 1876, Guinness registered Harp as a company trademark. Harp is also one of the three elements that complete the Guinness logo along with the Guinness world and the famous signature of Arthur Guinness.
The Harp in the Guinness logo is based around the 14th- century Irish harp known as the “O’Neill” or “Brian Boru” and the same can be seen at Trinity College Dublin Library. After it was donated to Trinity College by Right Hon. William Conyngham is also known as the Trinity College Harp.
One of the names of harp Brian Boru comes from Brian Boru who was of the 10th-century Irish King who was celebrated for his patronage of arts. The other name “O’Neill Harp” refers to Arthur O’Neill, who was a blind harpist who lived in the 18th century and has played the harp for Parade through Limerick City.
Today the Golden Guinness harp is not only a logo to represent the Guinness brand but is a famous logo in the globe for beer and dry stout in general.
Evolution of Guinness Logo
The Guinness logo has changed from time to time from its original launch back in 1862 to the present day. Even after all those redesigns since its inception, the current Guinness logo does resemble the original version.
The first logo was the most iconic and the longest run logo of all that followed afterward. It served almost 100 years as the official Guinness logo. It was introduced in 1862 and remained as the company trademark until 1955 when they decided to change the round logo design to a more simplified version of the harp. In 1968, the Guinness logo was changed from a black and white representation of a harp to a more ravishing golden harp with a glazing touch. This logo saw the details on the instrument disappear to make it look sleeker in design.
After almost 30 years after the golden harp design, Guinness decided to add the brand name ‘Guinness’ to their logo along with the harp. The design was made in black and white but didn’t stay for too long when it was replaced by a clean logo with the design label of Guinness written in black along with the golden harp and the year of origin. This logo was revamped in 2016 by adding a more sleek design to the harp with a glowing golden touch and embarking the year of origin to the harp itself.