A company called Alphabird recently hired me to design their logo. They told me they wanted it "to look like an owl, but also a city...but not too much like an owl, but then not too much like a city either." They also wanted it to "have the feel of the movie Metropolis" and to look "somewhat industrial, but not too industrial." After that, they went into great detail about the hidden meaning of the owl and sent me all sorts of links concerning historical owl mythology and symbolism. I don't know if it helped me in designing the logo, but I certainly learned a lot about owls.