How Automaker Logos Have Evolved Over the Past Century


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


car logos

How Automaker Logos Have Evolved Over the Past Century

Can you picture Ford’s blue oval, or Mercedes’ three-pointed star? These are some of the most recognizable logos in the world, thanks to a number of reasons.

For starters, automakers are some of the world’s biggest advertisers. In 2020, the automotive industry spent $33 billion on advertising in the U.S. alone.

Automakers also maintain a strong physical presence by placing their logo on every car they produce. This form of self-promotion is an automotive tradition, and because of it, car logos are designed to be eye-catching and memorable.

To learn more, we’ve illustrated the histories of six brands of interest.

Editor’s note: There are obviously many automotive brands with strong histories, but for this visualization we selected brands that we thought had the most interesting stories and graphical decisions behind their emblems. In the future, we may add more or create a follow-up post if readers express interest.

A Closer Look at Car Logos

Automakers often pack hidden meanings and details into their logos.

For example, Mazda’s current logo, introduced in 1997 and updated in 2015, depicts a pair of wings that represent the brand’s desire to “drive powerful, continuous growth.” The concept of flight is believed to embody the company’s pursuit of ongoing improvement. Of course, the wings also resemble a capital “M” for Mazda, similar to Honda’s “H” logo.

An interesting design choice of the Mazda lettering is that all of the letters except “D” are in lowercase. This (Read more...)