I'm curious about the symbology and meaning behind the various emblems of the Lantern Corps.

emotional spectrum

As I understand it, the Green is by far the oldest (both in- and out-of-universe), while the others are relative newcomers. Unless I'm mistaken, most were created during the War of Light arc, with the exception of the Star Sapphires, whose organization takes the symbol of the older sole-character Star Sapphire.

Some of these emblems seem to be basic representations (e.g. the Orange Lantern Corps symbol has a sense of gathering things together in a central place, which fits with greed, and the Black Lantern Corps points down, a direction generally associated with death), but others seem more abstract. Almost all feature central circles, and four (yellow, green, blue, and indigo) reference the basic Green Lantern design, with horizontal bars above and/or below.

The Green Lantern symbol itself is obviously a representation of a lantern, and I've also heard arguments that it represents an exertion of willpower (a circle forcing two lines apart, or two lines containing a circle).

Have there been any official comments by the artist(s) who designed these symbols about what the various designs are meant to indicate? Are they meant to be depictions of the emotion they represent (and if so how), or are they simply abstract symbols meant to look like equivalents of the older Green Lantern symbol?

2 Answers 2


Artist Ethan Van Sciver gave an interview about this very thing a few years back.

  • red: based on Manhunters' chest design
  • indigo: circle is like a lantern and the outward-pointing arrows represent giving
  • orange: reverse of indigo, with inward-pointing lines and a vaguely humanoid shape to indicate "me" and selfishness
  • yellow: inspired by Parallax's costume
  • blue: kind of the opposite of yellow
  • black: inspired by Black Hand's costume insignia
  • Indigo: Looks similar to a vertical eye, a symbol usually associated with spiritual enlightenment, something the monk like Indigo Tribe seems to have (well, pseudo enlightenment.)
  • Red: Has a shape similar to the head of a bull, a creature often associated with rage (and is also the form of their entity.)
  • Yellow: A perversion of the original Green Lantern symbol, meant to instill some form of fear.
  • Green: It's a lantern... that's it.
  • Blue: Resembles a bird or, perhaps more accurately, the entity of the Blue Lantern Corps.
  • Violet: A crystal, which makes sense since the Star Sapphires (the wielders of this light) have more crystalline constructs than the other corps.
  • Orange: Two theories here; it is either a perversion of the Indigo Tribe's symbol (look long enough and it starts to look like a wide open round eye); or it is representing a mouth or other similar consuming orifice (after all, one of the symptoms of wielding the orange light is an insatiable hunger.)
  • Black: Your theory seems to hold the most water, though it is also another perversion (getting quite a few here) of a lantern corp. This time the White Lantern Corp, who represent life. BONUS!
  • White: Seven beams of light shooting out of a prism, representing the fact that the seven lantern colors, sans black, all originally stemmed from the white light.

I hope this was helpful to you and I didn't spoil anything.

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