Do you know the meaning behind these car badges?
Most, if not all, car manufacturers are easily recognised by their corporate branding and the badges found adorning the front, rear and interior of their vehicles. Some of these badges have long-standing and deep-rooted historical associations. Some newer badge designs have a much greater interpretation of thought, form and function.
We have chosen 10 car company badges and investigated their origins:
There has always been many myths and legends associated with the Alfa Romeo logo: a round badge with a red cross on the left side and a serpent on the right side. It is widely known that the logo was created on the base of the influential Visconti family coat of arms. The serpent represents a myth of a man-eating snake that roamed Milan during the 5th century AD. This snake was heroically slain by a man named Ottoni Visconti and greatly celebrated hence its incorporation. The red cross on a white background symbolically represent the acts of crusader Giovanni da Rio, who was said to be the first person the climb the walls of Jerusalem and erect a cross. The red cross is also known to be a symbol of Milan.
The Audi symbol represents the four oldest German automotive manufacturers that merged into what was known as Auto Union: 1st ring Audi, 2nd ring Horch, 3rd ring DKW and 4th ring Wanderer. Prior to 1932 these four companies were all independent car manufacturers.These companies initiated the origins of today’s Audi as a premium car manufacturer.
Surprisingly perhaps there is a common misconception that the blue and white quadrants of the Bavarian Motor Works logo represent white propeller blades against a blue sky as a representation of a manufacturer of military aircraft engines. The genuine and earlier origin of this symbol does in fact relate to the blue and white of the official state colours of Bavaria. It wasn’t until during and after WWII that the association of BMW as an aircraft engine manufacturer becoming much more significant.
Instantly recognisable, the traditional Ford ‘blue oval’ with white lettering on a blue background is well known and ubiquitous. It is one of the most recognisable corporate logos in the world and has been in use for more than 100 years in its current form. Originally based on the signature of company founder Henry Ford.
Originally based on the black-coloured nameplate for Land Rover vehicles, which included the place of manufacturer and model details, the famous green Land Rover badge only became a proper logo as recently as 1989. The badge acquired a regular oval shape and a split Z-shaped line, connecting the Land and Rover words. The green colour symbolises vitality and reflect the spirit of the brand, which is wandering far away from grey roads. The white text embodies purity and dignity.
Another highly recognisable badge, the current diamond shaped logo first appeared in 1925 and remains in use today with only slight modifications having been made. Every detail of the silver diamond has special meaning and refers to the particular qualities of the company and the car it produces. The silver colour symbolises sophistication and creativity.
The present Škoda badge, introduced in 2011, represents a green coloured stylised winged arrow facing in the right direction placed on a white background. Apart from colour and some minor design elements, the logo has not changed since 1926. The arrow is completed with a wide feather-like wing making a daring waft upwards. The symbol’s shape represents an ambitious moving forward and constant development of the manufacturer.
Electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla was named after Nikola Tesla who was a famous 19th century electrical engineer and inventor. The badge depicts a large letter ‘T’ which represents the name of the company. The goal was to reflect the idea of efficient usage of electricity with Tesla’s engineers eager to prove that electric vehicles can be both powerful and durable. Above the ‘T’ is a representation of a protective shield which is used to symbolise a high level of reliability and safety.
The Toyota badge consists of three intersecting ellipses and symbolises the relationship and bond between its customers and the product, and the opportunity and potential for technology advancements in the future.The ovals also provide a visual representation of a ‘T’ for Toyota.
Volvo’s logo, a circle with an arrow pointing out, is one of the oldest graphic symbols in Western culture, and resembles the ancient chemical symbol for iron. It is also intended to depict modern design. The word Volvo closely mirrors the Latin word volvere (meaning ‘I roll’), which symbolises Volvo’s desire to make and provide safe, effective transport.