UAZ (Ulyanovsk Automobile Factory) is a Russian brand of cars, which has been around since the 40s. They notoriously build affordable cars at an expense of quality. They are much like Volkswagen, but with an even stronger emphasis on low cost. They still exist and enjoy great popularity in former USSR and abroad.
Meaning and History
The current UAZ logo was created by one Albert Rahmanov. The history of this logo is a bit complicated, but not uninteresting. They’ve gone over a few variants, but eventually decided upon a contemporary one – a swallow styled as a Russian letter ‘U’, enclosed into a circle.
1941 – 1954
Some cars in the earlier period of UAZ existence bore a simple metallic ‘У’ sign, which is just a Russian letter ‘U’. It wasn’t too noticeable or meaningful, and that’s why it was soon scrapped and the talks about a new logo began.
1954 – 1957
Before the actual logo was decided upon, at least one model – an UAZ-450 – bore a different emblem. It was semi-official, but nonetheless an existing image. This one depicted a metallic badge with two wings to the right and left. These wings each had three distinct ‘feathers’, and overall were rectangular trapezoids (the edges were tilted).
Inside, a background was a blue-crimson-blue tricolor with golden borders in-between. In the middle stood the three Cyrillic letters ‘УАЗ’ (the name). They were all in lowercase and a cursive golden font. There was also a small word in the bottom of the outer circle that said ‘Ульяновск’ (Ulyanovsk), the birthplace city.
1957 – 1959
For a few years, the company used a round emblem that had a very calm gray, blue, and white color palette with a few black accents. It featured a metallic silver framing with sky, river, and bridge to create a background for the inscriptions in the center of the emblem. Across the top, it was “UAZ” using Russian letters. The inscription was done in white with a black shadow that gave the bold, geometric letters a 3D appearance. The initials had three white lines going underneath and separating them from the company location printed in fine, sans-serif font of a white color with a black outline.
1959 – 1962
1962 – 1970
In 1962, Mr. Rahmanov created an iconic UAZ logo that was used in different variations ever since. It was a bird – a swallow or a seagull – styled as a Russian letter ‘U’ (У). The whole construction was a combination of two thin and long lines with a wide angle between them. The appendage from below was meant as a beak.
The bird was put onto a ring of the same metallic look. It wasn’t encircled by it – the wings stretched far outside the circle. This is also a badge they put on their cars even today.
During the latter 20th century they also considered several other options that featured their iconic bird, but these were just concepts and never were really used.
1970 – 2000
2000 – 2016
The previous logo was often put in the vicinity of different plaques with the company name of them. In 2000, however, it was decided to have an official emblem featuring the brand name. For it, the lower third of the logo was overlapped by a white rectangle with green border and the bold abbreviation ‘UAZ’ (in English) inside.
Also, the logo was made 2D and given a likewise green-white palette. The ‘shady’ parts (assuming the lighting would come from above) were colored green. The ‘lighted’ parts remained white.
2016 – now
Recently, the design took a realistic turn, as per trend. The text was separated from the ‘bird’ part and relocated a bit further below. It retained its dark green color, but the text was switched to Russian letters (УАЗ).
The emblem proper was returned to the 1962 version, but was given a lot of chroming. It now shines and has a very realistic lighting element.
The logo didn’t change much from the 60s variant. It has a prominently Russian multi-layered meaning that doesn’t necessarily conflict with the aesthetic value, which is neat.
Emblem and Symbol
In Russia, UAZ is famous for its seagull emblem. It is, by all means, an artistic masterpiece. If you look at it casually, you’ll only see the ‘У’ letter. But focus on the beak (the appendage at the bottom), and you’ll promptly see a bird. It’s unique in this capacity, and thus very recognizable even without the text to help you out.
There are several vintage UAZ models that still can be seen here and there in Russia. They are quite the legends, some of them being much older than an average Russian. UAZ-452, for instance, are vans that are still used as ambulance carriages. They have a notorious round shape that won them a nickname ‘buhanka’ (loaf).
Another famous UAZ car is UAZ-469 – an off-road military car still used by half a world. It has been imprinted into people’s imagination so much, most people just call it ‘UAZ’ or ‘Little UAZ’ (Uazik), and everyone still understands what they mean.