The Lion Head is a distinctive and easily recognisable National Symbol of Singapore. Less formal than the other symbols such as the National Flag and the State Crest, the Lion Head symbol can be freely used by individuals, organisations and corporations to promote a sense of national identity.
This National Symbol was introduced in 1986 as the Government wanted an alternative symbol that people and organisations could use to express their loyalty and commitment to the nation. As the National Flag and the State Crest are governed by legal restrictions which restrict their use for commercial or non-governmental purposes, the then Ministry of Communications and Information embarked on a search for a symbol that people could readily identify with.
The Ministry invited local art schools and advertising agencies to produce a new symbol that best exemplifies the characteristics of the nation. Many designs were submitted using motifs such as HDB flats, palm trees and various lions. The winning entry was a lion head by a young designer named Mr Michael Lee, who offered his design as a gift to the nation.
The lion was chosen as it is a powerful and historic symbol of Singapore's status as the Lion City and symbolises three national values: courage, excellence and strength. Singapore's name is itself derived from 'Singa Pura' (which means "Lion City"). According to the Malay Annals, Sang Nila Utama, a prince from Palembang, gave this name to the island after he came ashore and saw a creature he believed to be a lion.
The Lion Head symbolises courage, strength and excellence. It is in solid red against a white background - the colours of the National Flag. The mane has five partings that represent the same five ideals embodied in the five stars of the National Flag, namely democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. The lion's tenacious mien symbolises the nation's single-minded resolve to face and overcome any challenges.
Guidelines on the Use of the Lion Head Symbol
- Any individual, organisation or company can use the Lion Head symbol for purposes of identifying with the nation.
- While Singapore companies may use the Lion Head symbol as a means of identifying themselves with Singapore, it should not be assumed or taken to indicate any kind of official endorsement of the companies' products or services.
- The Lion Head symbol should be used in good taste and treated with dignity and respect. Its design should not be modified in any way or have any words or graphics superimposed over it. However, it may be depicted in outline form, be embossed or portrayed as a watermark.
- The official colours of the Lion Head symbol are Pantone 032 (red), white or black.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Using the Lion Head symbol
- Who may use the Lion Head symbol?
Any Singaporean individual, organisation or company may use the Lion Head Symbol to identify with the country.
I would like to use the Lion Head symbol. What are its guidelines of use? Do I need approval?
As shared in Q1, the Lion Head symbol may be used by Singapore-based individuals, organisations or companies to express loyalty and pride towards Singapore. The Lion Head symbol must be treated with dignity and respect, and in accordance with law.
No approval is needed. However, it is the responsibility of the user to ensure that the use of the Lion Head symbol adheres to the following guidelines, failing which permission to use the symbol shall be withdrawn:
The Lion Head symbol shall not be used in any way that is likely to create an impression that the State or the Government of Singapore is endorsing any good or service;
The Lion Head symbol shall not be modified in any way or have any words or graphics superimposed over it, and not used in any colour other than Pantone 032 (red), white or black; and
The Lion Head symbol is not for exclusive use and may not be registered as or as part of any trademark.
What is the official colour of the Lion Head symbol?
The official colours of the Lion Head symbol are red (Pantone 032), white and black. It has also been featured in outline form, embossed or portrayed as a watermark.
Can I modify the Lion Head symbol (e.g. artistically render it) before using it?
No. The Lion Head symbol should be used as it is and in its entirety, and should not be modified in any way or have any words or graphics superimposed over it.
Is the Lion Head symbol the same as the Merlion Symbol?
No, it is not. The Lion Head symbol is often mistakenly referred to as the Merlion symbol. Please refer to STB’s website for more information on the Merlion Symbol.
If I would like to use the Merlion Symbol, whom should I write to for permission?
The Merlion Symbol is managed by the Singapore Tourism Board. To obtain approval for the use of the Merlion Symbol, please contact the Singapore Tourism Board via STB_MERLION@stb.gov.sg.