• The Symbols and Icons of Destiny

    Today we are here to talk about the symbols in Destiny. This is a bit off the beaten track as it deals with huge amounts of speculation on the part of the author and the only real facts present are the existence of these symbols and the names given to them either by Bungie or discovered by members of the Seventh Column. Bungie has a very clear history of using symbols from the nearly universal Septagon to the more obscure and specific Office of Naval Intelligence logo to name a few. One of the first official image discovered and revealed to the public was the iconic Tricorn, clearly the image Bungie has decided is THE icon of Destiny and yet it is one of the icons we know least about. In contrast, there are icons with clear associations such as the symbols that represent the three classes of Guardians players will be able to choose. First, we will look at some of the more general symbols of Destiny like the Tricorn and the use of Geomancy symbology in the Destiny ARG and elsewhere. And then we will move on to the symbols we know more about. Let's dive in shall we?

    The Tricorn

    The Tricorn is the earliest seen icon of the game as it is a part of the official Destiny logo. The name of the symbol came from some studious dissectors of the Destiny ARG who isolated the image and the url named it the Tricorn. So far, the most prominent speculation to the origin and meaning of this symbol is the immediate (albiet googled) association to the Tricorne style hat popularly worn in the eighteenth century. This easily fits in with the premise of Destiny's sense of exploration coupled with combat, as the most famous wearers of Tricornes in the 1700 were pirates such as Blackbeard as well as its primary adorners in the navy and other military branches of the times. Some of the earliest sightings of the Tricorn in the period before the Destiny announcement include:


    The Geomantic symbols first turned up on Bungie Day 2012 at the bottom of a news post marking the day. The images consisted of seven symbols made of dots arranged in various columns and eventually were the code that unlocked the mysteries of Bungie's Golden Tickets those that had won. Moreover, three of the new t-shirts added to the Bungie Store featured logos for the Faction Emblems and just below the tags were a single Geomantic symbol. Now these Geomantic symbols are related to Geomancy a type of divination (a sort of fortune telling, future seeing practice) which became one of the seven "forbidden arts" during the Renaissance which also included necromancy, pyromancy, aeromancy, hydromancy, chiromancy (palm reading), and scapulimancy (shoulder bone reading). Now immediately the omnipresence of Seven is apparent here in the Seven "forbidden arts" however there are more than seven geomantic figures, in fact there are sixteen. It is unknown if Destiny will make use of the Geomancy or any other "forbidden art" in the magic/power used by the Traveler and the Guardians. And of course the history of Geomancy is terribly detailed and of course not necessarily relevent to the discussion of Destiny, I would wholeheartedly suggest checking out the Wikipedia page to learn more.

    Unfortunately, the geomantic figures would not reappear again until the Destiny ARG in February of 2013. The same types of symbols were the keys to unlock each day's ARG activity. However, only one of the original symbols from the Bungie Day post made a second appearance and that was Sunday's geomantic figure. The chart aside shows each of the symbols used in the ARG and which day and what name corresponds. Each symbol has a name associated with it one in Latin or Greek word and an English word. The Latin or Greek word is the direct name of each symbol in their original use and the English words are the modern equivalency of both the geomantic symbol and the Latin or Greek word. I have previously discussed the Geomantic symbols used here and the celestial bodies they name in our Locations of Destiny article.

    The interpretation and use of these symbols by Bungie hints at a major fact: the locations in Destiny. One way to look at it is they could hint at the limits players will be traveling in the actual game. From one side this seems sad especially when Bungie has hinted at the exploration of the entire solar system. On the other side, creating an entire virtual solar system requires a huge amount of work and while I personally do not doubt Bungie can pull it off it nonetheless remains a monumental task. Bungie could easily run the risk of going to big and this could easily manifest under the scrutinous eyes of critics. It also makes sense that Bungie would limit itself to the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Earth (if we replace the Sun), Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn as these are the only planets that Bungie has shown and this follows the Bungie rule of 7. On top of this is the fact that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are gas giants and thus are not composed of as much solid matter as say Earth is. Moreover, this could be the same reason we have only seen Jupiter and Saturn from their moons and rings respectively. However, the addition of moons and other planets could come in the form of post launch DLC. Also, poor Pluto is technically not a planet... Boo.

    Faction Emblems

    Some of the earliest symbols of Bungie's newest project started to appear in the form of shirts worn by Bungie employee's in the O Brave New World ViDoc that celebrated Bungie's twenty-year anniversary. Since then the Seventh Column has gotten a few of these shirts in their hands and they icons have become options for B.net profile avatars and themes. Bungie has yet to official name them however back in 2010 Bungie filed for copyrights on the below names:

    • Dead Orbit
    • Future War Cult or FWC
    • New Monarchy
    • Osiris
    • Seven Seraphs

    These icons have also shown up in concept art and other ViDocs. In the Pathways Out of Darkness ViDoc the character model of the Warlock has a Seven Seraphs logo on his helmet. In addition, during the GDC panel the Tower Hanger concept art clearly shows banners displaying the New Monarchy logo. Also shown at GDC is another Last City image showing a Red FWC and Dead Orbit banners on the sides of buildings. However, the most frequent appearances of these emblems are on the backs of Bungie employees. The New Monarchy, Dead Orbit, and FWC are currently the only shirts available for purchase and the descriptions of the shirts hint at the names of the icons.

    • New Monarchy: “For Bungie Day, we are giving you the shirts off our backs. Adorn yourself with a mysterious icon fit for a king.”

    • Dead Orbit: “You can be a dead ringer for a Bungie employee. Decorate your chest with this mysterious crest and watch the questions fly.”

    • FWC: “Have you seen us wearing shirts like these? Drape yourself in an enigma from our future release.”

    Class Symbols

    The different classes of Guardians are one of the few details we know about the basic gameplay functionality that Bungie has confirmed. The Titan, Hunter, and Warlock each have distinct looks as well as emblems. Not only have these emblems shown up in the themes of B.net profiles but they are also featured in the limited UI screen shown of Destiny. The Titan shown in the Character Development mini-ViDoc has the Titan emblem in the center of the Coat of Arms on his chest plate. In addition, the Warlock's shoulder pad also portrays the Warlock icon. There is not much to discuss since Bungie has been explicit in the Class iconography.


    Titan Crest



    Enemy Symbols

    Bungie has also shown various symbols and icons related to the different enemy races. The sources for these symbols include B.net profile avatars, themes, and store items. Not only do the enemy races have specific icons they also have their own color palette and types of style and general appearance as discussed in our GDC article.

    Cabal: It is important to note that the image shown here has three different icons. The middle image can be found on the chest piece of a Cabal in another concept art showing the "postcard" Cabal. Also shown in the Mars Exclusion Zone concept art are flags presumably displaying more iconography associated with the Cabal

    Fallen: The symbol shown here is specifically called a Fallen Glyph. This could mean that this is merely one word or phrase in the written language of the Fallen

    The Vex, Hive, and Glimmer/Unnamed 5th have yet to have any symbology or iconography associated with them however it is more than likely that these will appear later down the road.

    Other Symbols

    Red Germanic Eagle: This eagle iconography is very similar to the Medieval standards of Germany. This symbol has shown up in two places. The first the "postcard" image of Destiny on the cloak of a Guardian where the Eagle is black and the cloak is red. The second time it appears is during the GDC panel on a mysterious figure with a black cloak and the same red eagle. The Eagle also shows up on the Titan crest in gold in the Character Development mini-ViDoc.

    Triangle on Fallen: Various images of the Fallen have shown there is a distinct triangular symbol on the shoulder of the armor and sometimes in the helmet or other armor. It is unknown whether or not this has any significance or if it is merely a cosmetic coincidence. It could be a symbol of the Fallen (royal?) house called: House of Devils.

    Shark on Tail of Spaceship: More than likely this is merely an image portraying the ability players will utilize in Destiny to decorate and personalize their own spacecraft. More symbols are evident in the UI shown in the Pathways out of Darkness ViDoc. This definitely follows the Bungie legacy of multiplayer emblems and hopefully the return of some old fan favorites!

    UI Symbols in Menu: Beside the images associated with the different classes there are also symbols associated with what can be assumed are different gametypes in Destiny. These gamemodes are Bounty, Strike, Raid, and Faction Wars. Strike and Raid's icon are variations of the same icon suggesting that they play very similarly. The other two icons shown are the City that looks somewhat similar to the Dead Orbit icon and the Tricorn which presumable denotes the campaign.

    FOTC Weapons: So far, the weapons we have been shown in the ViDocs which show in game assets used by Guardians all display the acronym FOTC and is sometimes accompanied by DeeJ's avatar on B.net. It seems logical to assume that these are the manufacturers of these weapons and thus denoted as distinct. This could play in to the loot system that exists in Destiny possibly similar to Borderland's milieu of brands.

    No doubt these are not the last time any of these symbols are shown and I am sure that we can expect to see many more. Many of these symbols will be named and their truths will be revealed. However, I am equally as confident that many symbols will remain shrouded in mystery much like the symbols found throughout ODST near Engineers. Bungie knows what they are doing and they are certain to allow us just enough information to motivate the intrepid members of the community delve deep in to the many mysteries of Bungie and Destiny.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Symbols and Icons of Destiny started by Ser Jergen View original post
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. thesirchelios's Avatar
      thesirchelios -
      Great article Jergen, very interesting read! I always thought of the Albanian flag when I saw Guardian with the cloak in the postcard, with the black eagle on a red background. You can definitely feel the mediaeval vibes!
    1. Ser Jergen's Avatar
      Ser Jergen -
      Quote Originally Posted by thesirchelios View Post
      I always thought of the Albanian flag when I saw Guardian with the cloak in the postcard, with the black eagle on a red background.
      Oh man had I known that flag existed that's a way better fit than the German one.
    1. thesirchelios's Avatar
      thesirchelios -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ser Jergen View Post
      Oh man had I known that flag existed that's a way better fit than the German one.
      I actually think the eagle symbol in the game looks a lot more like the German one you found! I think it's really cool that we are already seeing the mythic and ancient aspect being incorporated into the futuristic setting.
    1. Landscaper's Avatar
      Landscaper -

      This is a great read while in the sitting area here at the dentist!
    1. Ryclon's Avatar
      Ryclon -
      That DEAD ORBIT emblem is Sick! And all of the emblems look super simple yet appealing to the eye!
      I need to play this game!!!!
    1. Con's Avatar
      Con -
      FWC, New Monarchy, and 7 Seraphs are my favourite faction logos. FWC looks so retro, no thanks to that colour pallete they talked about during GDC.
    1. xXCamo FlashXx's Avatar
      xXCamo FlashXx -
      I really am excited to learn more about the symbols ... maybe add a new lost ancient laguage aswell?Anyways i somewhat hope the symbol on the weapons IS the manufacturers symbol.I am also wondering that if there are legendary weapons , armor and/or vehicles are they really unique or just hard to get like in Borderlands.
      I can´t wait anymore
    1. Rocker's Avatar
      Rocker -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ryclon View Post
      That DEAD ORBIT emblem is Sick! And all of the emblems look super simple yet appealing to the eye!
      I need to play this game!!!!
      Agreed! Dead Orbit is my favorite one.
    1. NinjaMatic's Avatar
      NinjaMatic -
      Nice read, in a world of speculation its great fun read into everything you can get your hands on. I'll admit that I was a bit disheartened at the idea that we could be limited to the solar system when I had imagined us branching out into the galaxy. That being said it is early, and let's face it, the solar system is vast. We've never had a game that actually offers entire planets to explore. Depending on the size of the playable areas on each world it could still be the largest game we've ever seen.

      it seems to me; however, that with so many races and mysteries from affar that it is inevitable that we slip the bonds of our humble solar system for answers, and bloody vengeance. Taking back the neighborhood, so to speak, is a good place to start though.

      I'm hesitant to read to deeply into the symbolism of the two headed eagle, as it could just be a device that lends a sence of history to the game, or something like a clan marker that allows you to further distinguish yourself among the faction you are a part of.

      The Dead Orbit Faction and Osiris factions suggest religious connotations. Dead Orbit appearing to be a reference to the traveler, and Osiris' obvious religious overtones. Osiris was the Egyptian god of the dead and the underworld who had green skin (Awoken?). They suggest that the members of these factions identify religiously with the Traveler and the Awoken respectively.

      Similarly the Future War Cult, and New Monarchy may be more human centric. If that were the case I would suspect the two headed eagle to be associated with a group like the New Monarchy that may lean toward that type of symbol.

      What does that suggest to me? Not a whole lot other than how much attention is already being given to players' involvement with their factions and how important it will be to the game.
    1. Wobbey's Avatar
      Wobbey -
      Excellent write-up. Hope you don't mind I snagged an image for the sig.
    1. Con's Avatar
      Con -
      We stole it from the Bungie site so go for it.
    1. Xombie's Avatar
      Xombie -
      Speaking of religious connotations, if you combine the class symbols you get what seems to be a hexagram (six-sided star) contained inside a box with six points. Now, I'm not a religious buff by any means, but probably the most famous six-sided star is the Star of David, "commonly associated with Judaism" (from Wikipedia).

      This is just my speculation. There's probably no direct connection but it's interesting to read into nonetheless.
    1. Granola's Avatar
      Granola -
      Hi all I'm new to this community. But extremely excited to defend earth in Destiny!! PSN I'd Granola if ya want to compare trophies to see how serious I am.
    1. Carlo's Avatar
      Carlo -
      The best read, a nod to you Sir. The time and research to compile this information for us to read, for me it is appreciated.
    1. ESPIUSxlife's Avatar
      ESPIUSxlife -
      i second that motion, very much informative and appreciated...
      also cant wait for the release of DESTINY!!
    1. Ser Jergen's Avatar
      Ser Jergen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
      The best read, a nod to you Sir.
      Technically its Ser. Lol jk thanks so much for everyone's appreciation I loved writing it!
    1. thesirchelios's Avatar
      thesirchelios -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ser Jergen View Post
      Technically its Ser. Lol jk thanks so much for everyone's appreciation I loved writing it!
      Yea I'm the Sir around here! :P
    1. Edgar's Avatar
      Edgar -
      Have they confirmed a date yet for when Destiny comes out?
    1. cluckinho's Avatar
      cluckinho -
      No they haven't.
    1. Cypher's Avatar
      Cypher -
      @Edgar: There is a discussion of that topic here; http://destinyhub.net/threads/332-Ab...date?highlight