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Explorer Brand Archetype

Get your jacket. And your boots. And your tent and your canoe. We are off to discover horizons new. This is what the 'Explorer' archetype is all about. The character who can never stand still and is always looking for the next adventure.

Archetypes are recognisable patterns of human behaviour which are often amplified in stories. In turn, stories are the way we make sense of the world around us. For those involved in the disipline of 'managing meaning' (e.g. storytelling and branding) archetypes become a powerful tool. They help teams build extraordinary meaning and create remarkable creative work because archetypes enable communication on a deep psychological level. More on the power of archetypes here.

In this post we will review the Explorer brand archetype building on the work of Margret Mark and Carol S Pearson in their book "The Hero and the Outlaw".

An introduction to the Explorer Archetype

Wanting to break free from the norm, the explorer can never stand still. They value freedom and do not like being confined in any way. They love wide open spaces, mountains, the sea and the exotic. Always on the hunt for new experiences, the explorer sets off towards the horizon looking for adventure. For them it’s more about the journey rather than simply the destination.

  • Desire: to be free

  • Goal: to discover new experiences

  • Greatest Fear: getting trapped

  • Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiences new things

  • Vulnerability: aimless wondering

  • Talent: autonomy, ambition

  • Motto: "Don't fence me in"

Their biggest fear is being trapped in. Of being constrained in any way. They want to feel free and be free to go their own way.


The North Face and it's slogan 'never stop exploring' is a classic example of a explorer brand

Examples of images and brands which embody the Explorer Archetype can be found on my specially curated Pinterest board here. Note: I will be frequently updating this board as I come across new Explorer images so bookmark it!

Brands which embody the Explorer: Starbucks, The North Face, NASA, Land Rover.


The Explorer sits in the quadrant of archetypes which serve the customer motivation of 'Independence & Self-actualisation'. It appeals to those who want freedom.

Brand Archetype Map

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