noun a ·che-type
A symbol, theme, setting, or character type that recurs in different times and places in myth, literature, film and ritual so frequently as to suggest that it embodies essential elements of ‘universal’ human experience.
A look through the history books
Archetypes aren’t just a concept dreamt up by glossy Madison Avenue ad agencies or on-trend Shoreditch design studios; they were first defined by Carl Jung back in 1919. Due to their frequent occurrence across cultures and languages, the Swiss Psychologist believed archetypes were essential primitive elements of ‘universal’ human experience.
What Jung was really saying is that archetypes are basic character types or roles so universally recognisable and relatable that they should require no explanation at all. And because they are characters we all play at some point, elements of our psyche, we should instinctively understand them.