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Symbols and their representations

Towards the end of March and the beginning of April, we see a lot of chocolate eggs, chicks, hot-crossed buns and chocolate bunnies in shops, but why are these symbols of Easter? What exactly do they represent?

We’ve done a little research into the reason behind these representations and although some of the stories behind them are well known, there are a couple that aren’t so popular…

The Bible has no mention of a long-eared short-tailed egg deliverer, but the Easter Bunny has become a huge symbol of the Christian holiday. No one really knows the exact origin of this mythical creature, but it is believed that due to their prolific procreation tendencies, rabbits are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life.

It has been told that Easter eggs represent Jesus’ resurrection, as the egg is viewed as the rock tomb, out of which, Jesus emerged, just like chicks emerge from eggs in the spring.

The spring lamb is another symbol associated with Jesus, who is often referred to in the Bible as the Lamb of God. Like the chicks, lambs are also a symbol for new life in the spring.

We found a couple of stories as to why we see hot-crossed buns at Easter. The cross on the buns represents Jesus’ crucifixion, as Jesus was nailed to a cross. It is also said that hot-crossed buns are the symbol of the rock that closed Jesus’ tomb. Either way, they taste great!

The Easter Bonnet: New hats and wearing new clothes for Easter symbolises new life, offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Symbols are a great way of telling a long story quickly and in a way that can be remembered. In the same way that we have symbols for religious holidays, we can also use symbols in web design.

Rather than using text to indicate a link, or interactive part of the website, icons and graphics can be used as they’re a great way of visually improving your website, allowing you to use less text.

As a first example, we all associate the little house icon as ‘home’ and therefore we know that by clicking on it, we will return to the homepage of a website. As well as a ‘home’ icon, we can use a + icon to indicate the user to click here to see/read more and at the opposite end, use a – symbol to close the expanding text box.

A lot of websites have images galleries, in which, you can flick through the pictures by hitting ‘Next’ or ‘Previous’. Small arrows can replace these words, as due to a common association between forward arrows online and the words ‘next’, ‘move on’ etc and backward arrows meaning go back, view the previous.

Due to the high volume of people searching the web on their mobiles, the ‘hamburger menu’ has become a well-recognised symbol of the menu. We know that by clicking on the triple horizontal lined hamburger icon, we will be able to view a list of links, which can be used to navigate around the website.

Rather than using text reading ‘Find us on Twitter’ with a link to social media profiles, a more common practice is to use icons for each of the social media platforms, each with a link to the individual profiles.

All of these symbols allow you to show the user that there is more to see, without having to physically explain using the text ‘Read More’ or ‘View another page’. As well as allowing you to use less text and break up your site a little bit, these icons keep your web page looking really tidy and can add style and a visual element to your website.

We use icons and symbols in our day to day life. We're familiar with the girl and boy toilet signs. Our road way signs and markings are apart of our day to day life. We use symbols on our phones, for our apps and tools. Emoticons have risen in popularity on social media platforms and text messaging.  They are everywhere we look and we use them day to day.