Among the top German car manufacturers, Volkswagen is the youngest. The brand was created in part by none other than Adolf Hitler in 1937. Their task was to make an affordable and working car for the people. That’s what they did, and it brought them success. They are mostly creating cars for everyday people even today.
Meaning and History
VW logo doesn’t have a lot of history. It’s just two letters from the name stitched together. This design hasn’t changed much over time. Interestingly, the name derives from the directive that was given to Porsche and Mercedes by the German government back in 1934 – to create a people’s car, ‘der Volkswagen’.
1937 – 1939
In 1937, when the company was founded, the logo was designed for it by one Franz Reimspiesse. It depicted the letters ‘V’ and ‘W’ stacked one on top of another. This structure was encircled by a cog. Four of the teeth are stretching out to something that looks like the flags or wings. The only color on the logo was black.
As a whole, the logo resembles a wheel. However, the flag-like elements are obviously supposed to look like a Nazi swastika.
1939 – 1945
In 1939, the swastika was removed, so the logo now consisted of just letters and a gear. It is satisfyingly symmetric – two of the upper teeth are a continuation of the ‘V’ letter, while the middle part of the letter ‘W’ is an almost identical inversion of the first letter on the top.
1945 – 1948
After the war, the logo was repainted beige and red. The letters were beige, while the background behind them was crimson. The cogwheel got replaced by a thick beige outline. Its thickness was aimed inward, so the letters became a bit smaller as a consequence.
Plus, the ‘W’ didn’t go all the way to the top of the outline, and the space between the letters increased a bit. There was also an additional layer of outline, a thinner brown line on the outside.
1948 – 1960
In 1948, the colors were once again changed. The beige parts became white, and all the rest became dark grey, almost black. The position of the letters was returned to the version from 1939, but the outline remained. Indeed, the thin outer line became even thicker.
From then on, the logo definitely resembled a wheel, which was good for associative purposes, as well as the identity of the company.
1960 – 1967
Then, the logo increasingly returned to the 1939 cog design, although the teeth were gone. The outline (the former cog) was given some width, while the letters lost some of theirs. Plus, the entire image was now enclosed in a black square.
1967 – 1978
In 1967, they got rid of the square and changed the color. Now the logo was very pale blue.
1978 – 1989
Another color conversion – the blue now became white, and the white insides of the logo became dark blue. The second circle was added to the logo as an outline, and it was given the same dark blue color.
1989 – 1995
The blue was changed to an even lighter hue than the 1967 version. Furthermore, while the previous logo had the circles of the same width, this variant made the other one thinner, and the inner one a bit thicker.
1995 – 1999
In 1995, they’ve returned to the design from 1978, although now it was now given an even darker tone – close to lapis.
1999 – 2000
As an experiment, they tried adding some lighting to the logo. It was aimed at the center – so, the further from the center you looked, the darker the colors got.
2000 – 2012
The logo was given much more volume, which made it look like 3D. This was done to commemorate the beginning of the new millennium. In practice, there’s a lot more shade and light on the logo, and there’s yet another outline in the shape of a subtle silver line.
2012 – 2020
Then VW went even further and it looked then more 3D than before, albeit it really wasn’t – it’s only a style of depiction. In terms of coloring, the blue became even darker, the letters got the new silvery look and here and there you could see singular black lines. Most notably, there was one across the outline.
2020 – now
Just recently, there’s been another rework. It doesn’t look like anything before, but it’s also not a complete overhaul. All lines are now equally slim, and there are not a lot of them. They returned to the concept of just one circle, and from the upper half of it grow the letters.
Not a lot happened to them, except they are now dark blue, just like the circle. There’s really only one color now. It’s a good decision. The manufacturers across the world now try to make their logos clean and minimalistic. They turn away from 3D elements and silver parts and return to the old-school color palettes without gradients.
Emblem and Symbol
The symbols of the Volkswagen (including the car badge) are probably the most unchanging of the car brand logos, and, for this reason, it’s also one of the oldest. The stack of two letters is very recognizable in itself, so there’s really no rush to change that. And it really does look like a wheel, which probably still helps.
Volkswagen GTI emblem
You can always distinguish a GTI model by the additional logo in the front. Just left of the usual VW emblem, you can see the three iconic letters written in capital. They can be different colors (usually, red, silver or black) and their plaques can also vary in this aspect.
There are many powerful cars produced by VW, but Beetle is famous for being the first mini-car. So much so, all the following mini models by other producers are also called Beetles or Bugs. There are actually a lot of them – VW has been developing the concept since 1938. Even Wehrmacht used these.
They all look the same, and most had the same engines over the years. The sole difference is the level of comfort – the carpets, ash trays, the windows, the seats and the general convenience improved over the years.