While The Big Duck is a well-known Long Island landmark, it has also lent its name to a specific style of roadside architecture. The architectural term "duck" was coined by architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in 1968. Duck buildings are highly sculptural forms which represent products or services available within, as opposed to the more common "decorated sheds" which are plain buildings whose functions are revealed by added signage. With Suffolk County's Big Duck, as with other architectural ducks, the building itself is the signage, a colossal, three-dimensional, representational advertisement. Designed to mesmerize passing motorists and entice them ultimately to a purchase, ducks are fantastical while retaining their purely practical intentions. The Big Duck has become the most famous example of roadside architecture.
Another well-known architect named James Wines has proposed the Duck Design Theory - D.D.T. - part of which states: "Form follows fantasy not function, for architecture that cannot offer fantasy fails man's needed dream."