I was just checking out the propaganda page for PostgreSQL and I found this little piece of art:

enter image description here

It is the "Turtle Style" PostgreSQL logo. How old is this, and did PostgreSQL ever officially use a turtle instead of an elephant? What is the story here?

  • 1
    Please see here for the discussion about topicality Commented May 21, 2012 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


The turtle iconography has historic significance dating from the platform that preceded PostgreSQL.

As noted by Hermit Hacker on this pgsql-hackers thread from 1998 discussing potential re-branding for postgres:

PostgreSQL predecessors used the Turtle logo

The postgres predecessor in question is Ingres DB. Ingres wiki,Postgres wiki, postgresql.org history (archive)

Postgres (Post Ingres), a project which started in the mid-1980s, later evolved into PostgreSQL

And as noted on this berkeley.edu resource

The turtle was adopted as a mascot by the INGRES group in the '70s because "it's slow but it gets there.'' It was retained as the POSTGRES mascot for sentimental reasons.


This wording matches nicely from another Hermit Hacker quote on another related thread

...I kinda like an elephant or turtle...a little slower, but highly dependable...


As stated in the official Identity Guidelines

In Japan, a turtle logo is used in place of the elephant due to domestic terrorist symbolism.

The elephant has negative connotations in Japan because members of a cult which uses an elephant as its logo were responsible for some terrorist attacks.

The group in question wore blue elephant masks while campaigning for Japan's parliament a few years before their murder spree, rather than it being exactly a logo. Personally, I would rather not post links to pages about their exploits, but if you want to go looking it doesn't take two minutes on a google search to find articles if you use words like: elephant deadly sarin gas tokyo

You can see the turtle iconography used quite extensively on the Japanese Language PostgreSQL site

While other Japanese companies like Zojirushi may retain use of the Blue Elephant iconography, that company in particular dates back to 1918 and its branding dates from the 60's. PostgresSQL's use of elephant iconography dates from only the late 90's which corresponds very nearly with the horrible events previously mentioned and would have no doubt been a contributing factor in the community decision to not use the imagery in Japan.

  • 1
    Elephant logos are used by Japanese brands, for example Zojirushi
    – Mike T
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 5:09

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