The REAL Meaning Behind 11 Car Company Logos


Photo: racin jason on flickr

A logo is a loaded design. It must be iconic, synonymous with a company’s brand, and inspire trust in a product.A good car company logo should do all of these things, while also communicating power, reliability and prestige. Some logos even include a nod to the company’s history.

We’ve gathered 11 car company logos and explained their origins. One is based on the ancient chemical symbol for iron, another on a constellation in the Japanese sky. All have been resoundingly successful.

Mazda is a brand obsessed with symbolism.

The name comes from Ahura Mazda, the god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony in early Asian civilizations. It also derives from the name of its founder, Jujiro Matsuda.

Its current logo was introduced in 1998. We'll let Mazda describe the symbolic complexity:

Capturing the spirit of Mazda, the stylised 'M' evokes an image of wings in flight and symbolises the Mazda's flight toward the future. The 'V' in the centre of the 'M' spreads out like an opening fan, representing the creativity, vitalty, flexibilty and passion that is Mazda. The symbol as a whole expresses the sharp, solid feeling that Mazda will be seeking in all of its products. The dynamic circle symbolises our readiness to spread our wings as we enter the 21st century.

Source: World's Best Logos

Subaru's logo references a cluster of stars in the constellation of Taurus

The six stars in the Subaru logo are a reference to Pleiades, a cluster of stars in the constellation of Taurus. Subaru is Taurus's Japanese name.

These six stars are especially easy to identify in the Japanese sky, and have guided travellers for generations.

Source: World's Best Logos

The Mitsubishi represents the Iwasaki and Ymanouchi family crests

The Mitsubishi logo comes from the family crest of Yataro Iwasaki, founder of shipping company Tsukumo Shokai, and the family crest of the Yamanouchi family, from the Tosa Clan. The crests were three chestnut leaves and a three oak leaves, respectively, also arranged in a three-point fan.

The logo has been used since the 1870s.

Source: Mitsubishi

The BMW logo stems from the company's origin as an aeroplane manufacturer

BMW used to make aeroplanes and paint them in the regional colours of blue and white. The 'target sign' symbol is symbolic of spinning white propellers against a blue sky.

Source: BMW Education

Ford's logo is simple, and the company plans to keep it that way

Jan Valentic, Ford's VP of Global Marketing, once said, 'The Ford oval is a powerful symbol, recognised the world over as an icon of the company that put the world on wheels. As we head into our next century, we want to make it very clear that it is the same symbol that will lead the industry on three simple tenets: great products, a strong business and a better world.'

Source: Ford

Volvo's logo resembles an ancient chemical symbol for iron

The word Volvo closely resembles the Spanish word that means 'I roll,' symbolizing Volvo's desire to make transportation easier.

The company's logo, a circle with an arrow pointing out, is an ancient chemical symbol for iron. It's one of the oldest ideograms in Western culture, and it's intended to depict modern design.

Source: Volvo Club

The Porsche logo pays tribute to Germany

The Porsche logo features the colours of the German flag, the name of the city where the company is based (Stuttgart) and a picture of a horse to denote power and speed. Horses horses were also bred in Stuttgart -- the city's name translates to 'stud farm.' The background comes from the coat of arms of Württemberg, a former state in southwestern Germany (which had Stuttgart as its capital).

Source: Porsche

The three-pointed Mercedes star represents its three aspirations

Mercedes aimed to make transportation easier on land, on water, and in the air.

Source: Star Mercedes

The Rolls Royce logo is all about the name

The two R's in the Rolls Royce logo clearly stand for the two R's in the company name, but that's roughly all there is to it. The brand name is so strong that it supports the logo, instead of the other way around.

Source: Dinesh

The Toyota logo represents the trust between the company and its customers

The intersecting ovals of this logo are symbolic of the trust between Toyota and its customers, and the ovals also form the letter 'T' for Toyota. Toyota intends for the white space to be an expression of unlimited potential in the future.

The three elipses depict the heart of the customer, the heart of the product, and the ever-expanding technological advancements and boundless opportunities that lie ahead.

Source: Toyota Traditions

The Aston Martin logo was designed to suggest speed

Aston Martin used to be called Martin and Bamford Limited. When the company decided to start producing sports cars, they based the logo around a wing pattern in order to suggest speed.

Source: NeatoRama

Good branding makes all the difference

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