Famous logos' history: cars

Logo & Brand review

The most traditional car manufacturers' brand identities have been recognizable since the popularization of cars in the past century. With the evolution of technology and the overall changes in the industry, some of these brands have also updated their house logos to go along with the times. Let's take a look at some of the biggest and most famous car companies out there.



Translated as 'People's car', Volkswagen was founded in 1937 and was first related to the nazi regime. Its early history is related to the fabrication of military vehicles and cheap cars manufacture for the germans. After WWII the British re founded the company until it became the important brand that it is today.

Its first logo consisted of various elements and although containing part of the actual logo, they get lost in-between of the ornaments. Just before WWII the company changed their logo to an engine-like outer stroke which was ultimately replaced by the iconic bold isotype we know today after the war. After that, the new versions have been very subtle, just a hint of nip and tucks here and there to keep up with the times.



The bavarian based company was founded in 1916 and at that time was also involved with airplanes manufacture. Its trademark logo hasn't changed much since its first version, but the meaning behind it hasn't been clarified. One of the theories says that it's inspired in the shape of the propellers the company was working on at the time, but it's also thought that the iconic white and blue checkered background is related to the Bavaria flag, where the company is based (which can be also seen in the state's famous football club).

The basic structure of the Roundel has remained the same over 90 years but there have been subtle changes. In the original design the lettering and outline was in gold, and since then the design has moved on to bolder typography and little variations until its final and current version, a modern look with 3D feel.


The italian sports car manufacturer based in Modena has one distinct and unmovable figure: it's black horse. About the history of the famous prancing horse, Enzo Ferrari told the story like this:

“The horse was painted on the fuselage of the fighter plane of Francesco Baracca — a heroic airman of the first world war. In ’23, I met count Enrico Baracca, the hero’s father, and then his mother, countess Paulina, who said to me one day, ‘Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck’. The horse was, and still is, black, and I added the canary yellow background which is the colour of Modena.”

The colours chosen for the logo are 1) yellow representative of Modena, where the Ferrari base is located and 2) the colours of the italian flag. Since the company's founding in 1929, the logo hasn't been through many changes, despite the quick evolution of its vehicles.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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