As you know, our articles on the logos of automotive brands are among the most popular on our blog. We have to say that these companies have strong brand images. We see their logos everywhere! Now that we have told the story of the logos of Audi, BMW, Ford, Volvo and Cadillac, let's take a closer look at the history of the Volkswagen logo. It is still the largest car manufacturer in the world!
There are various legends about the creation of Volkswagen. To begin, this German car manufacturer was founded in 1937. At that time, Nazi Germany had just developed a new road infrastructure, but there were only a few people who could afford to have a vehicle. Adolf Hitler then wanted people to have access to a car. This is also the meaning of the name Volkswagen: people's car. Ferdinand Porsche himself helped out with the project, abandoning his luxury cars for a while. Unfortunately, the project was put on hold during the Second World War and Volkswagen's factories were used instead to produce military vehicles. Several factories would also be destroyed during the conflict.
After the war, Volkswagen experienced uncertain times. Fortunately, in 1948 the German manufacturer released their famous beetle which was a great success. After a merger with Audi, Volkswagen would release new models, including the Golf and Passat which are still available today.
Now let's move on to the logos. What did Volkswagen's first logo look like? It was more complex than today's logo. The central element was the emblem that we know: a lettermark logo with the letters V and W in a circle. Around this circle, there were small squares resembling a gear and lines that resembled moving propellers. According to the original design, the first Volkswagen logo was inspired by the Nazi symbol in the use of lines.
It was not only Volkswagen that used propellers for their logo or advertising campaigns. BMW, another German car manufacturer, used a propeller on one of their 1929 advertisements. Since then, the BMW logo and this symbol have been associated. Although, the company explained that the propeller was not one of the primary inspirations for their logo.
As you might expect, Volkswagen didn't keep their first logo for very long. In 1939, at the beginning of the Second World War, the logo was simplified. They removed the propellers and kept only the letters, the circle and the small squares that gave the gear look. It was finally in 1945 that we got the logo that we know today. Only the letters were kept in a circle. The result was simple, but effective. This version was used until 1960.
During the 60s, Volkswagen felt attacked by the North American market. A new overhaul would therefore be launched. That's when the logo was in a square. Fortunately, this version would not be used for long. In 1967, the square was removed to keep only the letters and the circle. The major change then was the appearance of a color. Instead of using black and white, Volkswagen decided to opt for a pale blue. This color would be present on subsequent Volkswagen logos, especially on the redesign of 1978 where the shades would be reversed. A darker blue was used around a white circle, then around the letters. In 1989, the company chose a lighter blue for its logo.
With the arrival of the new millennium, Volkswagen wanted a new logo with a more modern look. So, they tried to give a 3D effect to the logo by adding shadows. Volkswagen was not the only company to follow this trend. Ford launched a new logo with this same appearance. We should mention, that the 3D effects would be accentuated during the 2012 redesign.
In 2019, Volkswagen did a major redesign of their logo. As we have indicated in several articles, the trend right now for logos is minimalism. In short, all unnecessary details are removed. That is exactly what this car manufacturer did. After nearly twenty years with 3D effects, 2D was back in force. The circle and letters were thinned, and a darker blue was used. It's certainly something very uncluttered. Only time will tell how long this Volkswagen logo will be used.
The history of Volkswagen's logos can certainly inspire you to create your own! First, think about the type of logo you want to use. In the case of Volkswagen, the company was able to play with the letters of their name to create a monogram logo. It was simple and representative. Then, think about the shapes you want to have for your logo. Remember that forms also have meanings. For example, circles are often associated with unity and completeness. Finally, use colors that will represent you well. We have seen several Volkswagen logos in different shades of blue. This color often represents reliability and trust. Then, it is up to you to choose the perfect shade.
In conclusion, it is undoubtedly a good thing that Volkswagen decided to remove the square around their logo. It only remains to be seen whether their new logo will make history or whether it is simply another redesign. If you want to learn more about the branding of automotive companies, we suggest you take a look at the history of the Volvo logo! Enjoy!