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Car Logo Design Explained

What do a bull, ram, horse and jaguar have in common? Besides the obvious, they are all part of famous logos for popular car brands. Whether it is strength, speed, or brawn, car logo design conveys a message that brands want associated with their product.

A logo offers instant brand recognition and a succinct symbol of ideology. Designing a logo requires a clear sense of purpose and message, creativity, and a dedication to unique designs. A designer who does not understand a brand’s target audience, goals and competitors, will not be able to design a good logo for said brand. Specific elements along with science and art go hand in hand when designing an automobile logo.

Color and gray pencil drawnings of concepts are sketched before transfering to computer

Kar Doctor

Basics of Logo Design

Logos depend on font, color, and message to create an effective image for brand identification. A designer normally follows a standard design procedure for client satisfaction.

The first step involves a brief meeting with the client either face to face or through an online medium like a questionnaire, followed by research into their company, brand, products, competitors, and audience. The designer then follows a specific concept to create a sketch of a logo, and translates that sketch to a first draft in a computerized format. A designer then creates a presentation to show the client, which may require the next step: revisions. Lastly, the designer delivers the final product.

Research is essential. A designer must immerse themselves into the client’s business and brand and soak up as much information and understanding of the future brand goals, prior to sketching.

Some of the most famous logos convey their company’s message in both positive and negative space (see: FedEx and the arrow). It’s important that a logo conveys a message about the brand. For instance, car brands choose logos that either recall prestige, (think Buick and the older Cadillac’s family crest) or speed and elegance, like the raging bull of Lamborghini.

When it comes to font and typeface, a designer may either choose to create a unique, new font, or adapt a standard one to fit a logo. When customizing logos, it is important to stray from overly fashionable print, as it dates quickly. Also, remember opposites attract. When a brand has an unusual name, a simple typeface that is easy to read works best. With more common words, feel free to add more of a funky flair, but steer clear of gimmicky fonts.

Much like the image, the words need to match the brand. Consider Ford’s loopy script that not only suggests the history of Ford, but also movement.

Color Psychology

Color plays an integral part in logo design. There is a psychology to colors. Each color in the spectrum evokes a different emotion and holds various connotations. In terms of motor trade logos, the colors used might simply represent the country where the brand is based, but generally, there is usually a message behind each color choice.

For example, the four psychological primary colors; red, green, yellow, and blue, each have a psychological connection that relates to the mind, body, emotions, and balance between them. Red represents the physical so positive associations would be strength, energy, masculinity, and excitement. Intellectualism links to blue, evocative of trust and efficiency. Yellow lines up with the emotional, breeding positive associations such as confidence and creativity. Finally, green is the balance. Peace, reassurance, and environmental awareness stem from green.

Beyond the primary colors, violet is a spiritually charged color that brings luxury and quality to the playing field. Orange supplies feelings of comfort, security, and fun. Both black and white give off sophistication, but white emphasizes cleanliness, while black leans more toward security and glamour. In the car industry, gradations between white, gray, and silver play to that air of sophistication, but also the sheet metal of a car.

Yet, at the same time, a logo needs to prove effective both in grayscale and in color. If a logo is printed in black and white, the logo must still retain the same recognizable quality. In other words, color is just a fraction of the equation.

Trends in Car Logos

Car brand logos generally conjure up a company’s history in relation to the company’s own conception process. Older automobile logos tell the tale of formative days. As newer brands emerge, logos lean toward a more figurative interpretation of a car’s selling points; safety, modernity, and a long-lasting brand.

Audi features one of the simpler car logos. Audi started as 1/4 of Auto Union. The logo with four interlocking rings represents the four companies of Auto Union, but was only applied to racing cars. Audi had its own particular symbol until 1985 when Auto Union simply became Audi.

Volvo opts for a logo detached from their heritage. Volvo’s brand uses the symbol for the planet Mars, not only to recall iron, but to represent masculinity and strength.

Foreign car company logos are usually symbolic. Toyota, a Japanese car company, uses three overlapping circles that collide to form a sort of “T” for their name. Hyundai, a relatively recent brand from South Korea, modified the “H” from their namesake to look like a consumer and sales rep shaking hands, placing sales and customer appreciation at the center of their logo.

Many foreign brands also use animals and their country’s flag colors in their logos, although most of these brands have a longer car history. Consider Ferrari and Fiats Abarth use of the Italian flag, while BMW ties in the white-and-blue of the Bavarian flag.

As car brands develop and modify their logos, one trend stands out: simplification. In an overview of crest logos, most have been redesigned to a more streamlined, geometrical look (Buick, Mitsubishi, etc.). In addition, more companies rely on abstract shapes and relying on typeface (like Jeep) to show their products’ niche.

Why Work With The Logo Company

While many companies use clip art or templates to design logos, The Logo Company assigns five designers to each customer, and work from that client’s design brief, then create a unique, custom logo from the initial stages to the end product. Having a true one of kind logo design will help your brand stand apart from your competitors.

In the logo’s initial stages, the designers create a logo sketch. Then, once the client is satisfied, the designers import it to Adobe Illustrator, the design industry’s top vector drawing program, to perfect and finalize the design.

The Logo Company offers various packages to meet clients’ needs, and a minimum of five design logo concepts. Should the designs not satisfy the client for any reason, The Logo Company prioritizes modifications and offers unlimited free revision rounds and unlimited redraws. The Logo Company’s main priority is to provide clients with great logos and deliver a quality product. Of course, the company also sticks to a money back guarantee in case a client wants to go in a different direction. Recommended by the Wall Street Journal and Wired! #1, at the The Logo Company, you’re likely to find a logo that epitomizes your company’s image.